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