Most of my Aboriginal family live in Ceduna S.A. or the surrounding communities. I lived there as a little girl and even though I now live in Melbourne Victoria my heart has always had a home on the West Coast of South Australia. Ceduna is a beautiful coastal town where I know that anytime I return, I am loved and have a place there with my family. But now my community needs help and I am asking for your support so we can make a difference to the young local children - our future. The Koonibba Football Club which is filled with my family history, tradition and pride needs our help.

Let's set the scene, Ceduna is a town in S.A. with a population of about 2,200 people and lies on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Ceduna is also home to the oldest surviving Aboriginal Football Club in Australia, established in 1906. My Dad Bob Ware played and coached the Koonibba football club and when my son is 14 he will go back and play games for them as well. Many past and present AFL footballers have ties to the club such as Betts, Johncock, Davey, Milera, Wanganeen, Ware, Burgoyne and Miller. Taj, my nine year old son loves telling anyone who is willing to listen who his cousins are! Let's face it so does his Mum, we are very proud of them all. 

The Far West Aboriginal Sporting Complex is where teams meet and the community gathers to watch and enjoy not only the Koonibba Football club but also the Koonibba Netball Club, Koonibba Tennis Club, the Far West Basketball Association and it is also home to the Ceduna Community Gym. With limited resources available the local committee are constantly trying to improve the facilities, which is not easy.

The Far West Aboriginal Sporting Complex - Ceduna SA


Their biggest hurdle is supplying water to the oval as the cost is the huge issue. They would love to install a sub soil irrigation watering system to reduce these costs. By fitting this system they will be able to access recycled water at a cost of $0.25c per Kilolitre which is a fraction of the $3.29 per KL the currently pay for mains water. Their average consumption is around 9,000 to 10,000 KL equating to a cost of $30,000. The costs are so high they can only keep the oval green for 6 months of the year. Other clubs pay $2,500 a year and have a green oval all year round for other sports to use. I know that my cousin Wayne Miller, a young man in his late 20's who is the Chairperson of the Far West Aboriginal Sporting Complex and other men get up at midnight to move the sprinklers so the grass will survive the football season.

The benefits of grass all year round and the lower costs to the complex are huge. Reducing operational costs by over a third would allow them to invest further into better facilities for all affiliated clubs. This would allow them to play soccer and cricket on the oval during the summer months which would go a long way to further developing the juniors.


The complex currently has no oval lighting and during football season it is dark by 6pm. This limits the time of football training. Many players finish work at 5pm travel to training and only get 30mins on the track. The community wants to support these role models and provide better facilities so they stay and play at Koonibba FC rather than joining a surrounding club who offer these amenities.

During the off season they would love to provide after hours diversionary activities to help stop community violence and prevent people from entering the justice system. Ceduna ranks 3rd in S.A. for the number of Adult Aboriginal prisoners. 99% of Adults incarcerated from Ceduna are Aboriginal. 

"We believe that sports creates harmony in our community and if we can provide more sporting opportunities we can reduce the number of these incidents" Wayne Miller (Chairperson of the Far West Aboriginal Sporting Complex) 

Wayne Miller and Taj at the Grant Hobson Exhibition of the Koonibba Football Club

Ceduna has a low socioeconomic status and are in need of our help. My connection to this community is strong as my father Bob Ware fought tirelessly to provide positive community experiences in Ceduna. I saw the same passion and love for the Koonibba Football Club in my Cousins and Uncle's eyes when they were in Melbourne last month for the 'Basil Sellers Art Prize', where Grant Hobson's amazing photographic art about the history of the Koonibba Football Club was displayed.  You have to go and see the photographs at the Ian Potter Gallery in Melbourne which is on display until Sunday 6th November. Don't forget to vote for the People's Choice award which is a $5000 prize that will go a long way.  Grant Hobson has provided a wonderful story showcasing the pride and passion of our Koonibba Football Club.

Grant Hobson's Entry in this years Basil Sellers Art Prize at the Ian Potter Gallery Melbourne

My cousin Wayne and other family members that came to Melbourne for the opening, reminded me through their passion that I needed to be apart of the solution too.

So i'm asking only if you can to donate please as I promise you every cent will go to the Koonibba Football club to get this sub soil irrigation system in and the lights up. I've looked at the Quote and its $147,000 for the System, levelling is $6,000 and soil balance fertilising is $9,500. The lights still need to go up too. I know the SA Government has grants that will match dollar for dollar any funds raised so if you can please donate to a GO Fund me page that I have set up to make donations easier that would greatly appreciated.


Your donation will be making a difference for generations to come in a community that I love and needs our help.

Please share with your friends so we can spread the word. How wonderful it would be if we could get the oval ready for next footy season.

Thanks a million!

Shelley x

NAIDOC week 2016

NAIDOC week is a beautiful week of the year when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community showcase and celebrate our beautiful culture, history and achievements together. Ever since I can remember my family has enjoyed this week.

Those of you who are reading this and are thinking...What is NAIDOC Week?, I understand. NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It started in the early 1920's and is always celebrated the first week of July. All Australian's are invited to celebrate our culture together.  

This years NAIDOC week theme is Songlines : The living narrative of our nation. 

"For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Dreamtime describes a time when the earth, people and animals were created by our ancestral spiritual beings. They created the rivers, lakes, plants, land formations and living creatures.

Dreaming tracks crisscross Australia and trace the journeys of our ancestral spirits as they created the land, animals and lores. These dreaming tracks are sometimes called ‘Songlines’ as they record the travels of these ancestral spirits who 'sung' the land into life.

Songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and art. They carry significant spiritual and cultural connection to knowledge, customs, ceremony and Lore of many Aboriginal nations and Torres Strait Islander language groups.

Songlines are intricate maps of land, sea and country. They describe travel and trade routes, the location of waterholes and the presence of food. In many cases, Songlines on the earth are mirrored by sky Songlines, which allowed people to navigate vast distances of this nation and its waters." (sourced from the NAIDOC website)

The 2016 NAIDOC week theme Songlines poster design was won by Lani Balzan a proud Wiradjuri Aboriginal woman from NSW.

The 2016 NAIDOC week theme Songlines poster design was won by Lani Balzan a proud Wiradjuri Aboriginal woman from NSW.

When I was a little girl my Dad, Bob Ware was on the 1982 NAIDOC poster where the theme was a 'Race for Life For a Race'. He was a professional runner at the time and one of the fastest men in Australia. He was also a very proud Wirangu Elder who has sadly passed . In his short 50 years on Earth and 30 as my Dad, he taught me the importance of showcasing my culture and the beauty within it. I remember with pride and happiness the day this poster was everywhere for everyone to see, a very proud moment for our family. 

The following year my brother Aaron and I were on the NAIDOC Week poster. The theme was 'Let's talk - we have something to say'. We are sitting with two Aunties who are sharing stories through string which is a way of passing down traditional stories and Songlines to each other. This was an exciting and proud moment for my brother and I, to be able to follow in our father's footsteps was magical to us. I really feel that both of the themes from the NAIDOC posters my family were on are still highly relevant to this day. We still need to talk to each other and listen. You can see all of the past NAIDOC Week posters and learn of other NAIDOC themes on the NAIDOC website.

This week I started my celebrations off by mentoring the young talented Kiera Lamb as she MC'd the Victorian NAIDOC Awards for 2016 on Friday night at the Korin Gamadji Institute. I was asked by the Victorian NAIDOC Committee to pass on my tips that I had learnt through being an MC over the years. We spoke over the phone during the week and then met on the Friday night and ran through what she needed to do to best prepare her for her first MC gig. From all reports she was fantastic and congratulations to all of the winners too. I saw the judges before the night still crying over the amazing commitment and love the winners and other candidates have for their people and community.

On Monday it was a lot of fun to head along to one of my favourite celebrations the VAEAI NAIDOC Movie Day at Northland cinemas. The whole community is invited to participate. You get a movie, popcorn and a drink and everyone has a wonderful time together. If you missed it this year make sure you get along to next years its a lot of fun. The kids and big kids love it!

On Wednesday I will be heading to another family favourite the Collingwood animal farm at 11.30am to film with Marngrook and enjoy the NAIDOC celebrations. My son Taj and I have always gone along to this day as it is so much fun! Every year is different. The children get to see the animals up close for pats and cuddles. Their are hay tractor rides, art activities and lots of yummy food. It's just wonderful place to be together as a community and celebrate NAIDOC Week. Head along...we would love to see you there! Neville Jetta and Jeff Garlett from the Melbourne Football Club will also be there for you to meet, might even get your beautiful face on Marngrook.

Then on Wednesday night I'm off to the Premier's Reception at Parliament House in Melbourne with Aunty Pam Pedersen, this will be my first time so I am looking forward to it. Don't forget NAIDOC celebrations on Marngrook on Thursday night where we will be awarding the NAIDOC, Victorian Sport Award winner on the show. Tune in for that on NITV live at 7.30pm. My busy week continues Friday when I'm flying up to Darwin for the NAIDOC National Ball to celebrate the achievements of some of the pretty amazing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I cant wait!

One moment in time this NAIDOC Week that I can't wait to see happen is when the Coburg Football club run out in the NAIDOC Week jumper I designed for them. I stayed true to the NAIDOC National theme of Songlines and am thrilled they loved it. I have a very clever graphic artist as a husband Steven who took my quick sketch with Taj's pencil colouring and transformed it into a  graphic ready to print on the jumpers. Thank you Steven.

The symbols I used in the blue area of the jumper are Songlines which are connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's stories whilst showing the sharing of culture and history. The red sash I drew more Songlines around boomerangs to symbolise the strong men of our community. The fact that Coburg Football Club wanted to share in our Songlines and culture this NAIDOC Week is wonderful and I hope other clubs follow in their footsteps.

I'll be showing you guys this jumper on Marngrook on this Thursday night's show...I cant wait to see it! I'll miss the boys running out in it on Saturday as I had already committed with NITV to head to Darwin when this opportunity came about. My husband, Mum and son Taj will be representing the family. Taj is poised to talk to the whole club about the jumper design and toss the coin at the start of the game. He is a wonderfully confident proud young man who is only nine and the thought of talking in front of everyone about Mum's jumper doesn't even phase him, he makes me very proud.  Thank you to the Coburg football club a wonderful opportunity for which I am very grateful.



There are so many activities you can take your family along to. Check out your local council websites and the National NAIDOC website to see what is happening in your area. Their is lots of fun and celebrations to be had together and everyone is welcome. Hope to see you at one! Happy NAIDOC and enjoy celebrating NAIDOC Week together.

Our children are our future so take the time to enjoy and share the beauty of our culture with them and most importantly have fun together this week. Happy NAIDOC Week!

Shelley x




Sir Doug Nicholl's Indigenous Round 2016

So I've decided I'm going to start writing the odd blog here and there. It was an easy choice for my first blog. My favourite week on the AFL calendar the 2016 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholl's Indigenous Round. 

I was so excited when the actual week started, I must have done something right along the way to have deserved such a blessed week. Hope you enjoy my amazing week as much as I did.

Shelley Ware with the amazing Koomurri Dancers at the Media Launch for the Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholl's Indigenous Round.

Shelley Ware with the amazing Koomurri Dancers at the Media Launch for the Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholl's Indigenous Round.

Tuesday the AFL flew me to Sydney to MC their Media launch of the Sir Doug Nicholl's Indigenous Round at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern. The room was filled with cameras from every form of media and all the important people were there. It was an exciting opportunity to announce to the football community that the AFL had officially named Indigenous round after Sir Doug Nicholl's. You know you are in for a good week when you get to spend it with Aunty Pam the daughter of Sir Doug Nicholls. What an honour it was for their family and Aunty Pam spoke so beautifully about her father. Sir Doug's story is now available for generations to come so they can learn from his wisdom, passion for his people and his belief in working together as one nation. It was a true honour to be there too. 

Andrew Harding, Aunty Pam and Gillon McLachlan with the children who are wearing this years Indigenous design jumpers.

Andrew Harding, Aunty Pam and Gillon McLachlan with the children who are wearing this years Indigenous design jumpers.

Wednesday night I was lucky enough to MC the opening of Gavin Wanganeen's art exhibition "Shooting Star" at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square. I've known Gavin since we were teenagers in Adelaide so it was such a pleasure to MC his opening. The room was full of wonderful people who love Gavin and are truly proud of his achievements. His artwork was spectacular and the night was a huge success. 

Shelley Ware and Gavin Wanganeen by his favourite piece at the opening of his "Shooting Star" exhibition at the Koorie Heritage Trust 

Shelley Ware and Gavin Wanganeen by his favourite piece at the opening of his "Shooting Star" exhibition at the Koorie Heritage Trust 

Thursday night was Marngrook time. We had an amazing show filled with stories, laughter, tears and pride. If you missed this show you missed a good one. Uncle Syd Jackson generously sharing his stories of his life on the Roelands Mission in Western Australia as a child of the stolen generation. Aunty Pam told us stories about her Dad, Sir Doug and made us all laugh with her infectious personality. The AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan spoke about future plans for the AFL and the future roles of Indigenous people in the AFL. We always love having Gillon on as he is very supportive of Marngrook. Then there was Richmond FC's Shane Edwards, he is not only a lovely man but a leader for future generations.

I feel so blessed every week to be a panel member of the Marngrook footy show and the amazing team I get to work with. We film live on a Thursday night at 7.30pm you can watch us on NITV for those of you who have never watched Marngrook. I always thank Grant Hansen for the wonderful opportunity but this is another blog for another time. I have to pinch myself every week!

Then the big day came "Dreamtime at the G" the day I was so excited about. I had been asked by the AFL to be the MC for the on ground entertainment on the MCG. I had to control myself as internally I was still squealing like a school girl about being asked.

I was also the MC for the Essendon FC at their Chairman's dinner the same night. There were 500 very important people in attendance including the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull. They were my warmup crowd for the 56,948 people at the MCG and lets not mention the million odd people watching at home!

Shelley Ware MC for the Essendon FC Culinary Chairman's Function for 2016

Shelley Ware MC for the Essendon FC Culinary Chairman's Function for 2016

I love working with the Essendon FC as they have always been so supportive and a pleasure to work with. I got to interview Aunty Pam again and by this stage we were finishing each other's sentences. Gavin Wanganeen spoke about the amazing Dreamtime Jumper he designed for Essendon to wear during the Dreamtime Game. A wonderful achievement for him and his beautiful family. My husband Steven and I also had the pleasure of sitting next to Philip Wallbridge and his beautiful wife Marg. I learnt something new that night Phillip was the mind behind the "Dreamtime at the G" concept who took his idea to Kevin Sheedy who then took it to the AFL. Such beautiful and humble people with a passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They made a magnificent night even more special.

Then the moment of the week I was waiting for had arrived. Walking onto the MCG to MC the on ground entertainment. What a thrill! I had my nerves in check as I had prepared myself all week with positive thoughts. I have to say my voice echoing around the MCG made my brain want to stop talking so my voice could catch up. But some how I managed to keep talking (all those years of "talks too much" on my report cards paid off) Seriously though, what an honour to be asked by the AFL and to be broadcast on Channel 7 as well as every radio station calling the game. To be standing in the centre of the MCG watching my culture showcased so beautifully to Australia was a magical moment that I will hold dear in my heart forever. I was beyond excited and beyond proud. A moment in time that I wished my father was still here with us to see, as I know he would have been so proud. I was grateful my friend's Kylie and Grace who took my son Taj to the game so he could see his Mum on the G and to know to always dream big.

Shelley Ware MC on the MCG for the Dreamtime at the G game for 2016

Shelley Ware MC on the MCG for the Dreamtime at the G game for 2016

On Sunday we woke up to Taj my nine year old son's Junior football match. Last year I took the idea of an Indigenous round campaign to get as many junior clubs in custom designed Indigenous round socks and jumpers to a friend Michelle Clyne at the AFL. She told me to go to my junior club and try it there first and see how it goes. As it was so close to last years Indigenous round I thought I'll leave it till 2016, but I got a call from a beautiful woman, Anne-Marie Hallewood who wanted Indigenous round represented at our Junior club. Well I went along and she loved the idea and pushed it with the committee. Eight weeks later the Tackers and Seniors of St Marys JFC ran out in Indigenous Round socks designed by my Son, Taj. This year they did it again and offered the socks to the whole club. Two hundred socks sold out in one sent email. You know how amazing that is if you have ever tried to organise something by email. Unfortunately many missed out but fear not bigger and better next year...yes I have a plan!

It was wonderful to see so many children running around acknowledging the contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have brought to this game we all love. To see Taj's beautiful face lit up on our clubs new scoreboard and everyone patting him on the back for his sock design. It was wonderful to see his pride. Paul Kelly's song "From little things big things grow" always sings through my mind in moments like this. 

My son Taj on the new scoreboard at the St Mary's Junior Football Club celebrating Indigenous Round at a local level. 

My son Taj on the new scoreboard at the St Mary's Junior Football Club celebrating Indigenous Round at a local level. 

Anne-Marie Hallewood was an Irish woman who couldn't understand how Indigenous people were treated and not celebrated as she thought they should...but thats another blog. I want to celebrate her another day. The whole time Anne-Marie pushed for these socks (as a few times it looked like it wasn't going to happen) she was very ill from skin cancer. Sadly she passed away only a few days after the reality of her Indigenous round dream came true. She left a legacy and St Mary's Indigenous Round will grow in her honour. This year the club named a medal in her honour (Anne-Marie Hallewood medal) for best on ground. Both her boys played hard and won the medal in their Mum's honour. 

A man I can proudly call my friend, Melbourne FC's Neville Jetta came to St Mary's JFC on the Sunday night to talk to the boys and girls about Indigenous round and what it means to him. He is an outstanding Aboriginal man who is leading the way for many to follow. He brought his lovely family along and stayed for hours playing with the little ones. He spoke so well and made me so proud that he would take time out of his busy life for these children and really commit to spending time with them as a real person. He certainly does his family, the Melbourne FC and his people proud.

Neville Jetta with my son and his daughter at the St Mary's JFC Indigenous Round Club night.

Neville Jetta with my son and his daughter at the St Mary's JFC Indigenous Round Club night.

 This week is a collection of moments I was so proud to be a part of and will forever be grateful for the gift that was the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round. Thank you for the amazing love and support of all of my family and friends. I was so humbled by everyone's calls, texts and messages of love on social media. Thank you also to Tony Peek who had faith in me who knew I could do it and put my name up to everyone. Thank you to the amazing AFL team members who welcomed me and helped me every step of the way. I had a wonderful week and as you can see a huge week helping to showcase the beauty in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. I will always remember it with a smile and hope you do too.

The Richmond Korin Gamadji Institute dancers performing the War Cry for the Richmond players at the Dreamtime at the G game.

The Richmond Korin Gamadji Institute dancers performing the War Cry for the Richmond players at the Dreamtime at the G game.

So thank you all for everything.  

Shelley x