Waddamooli Everyone, in my language this means Hello, Welcome and Goodbye.
My name is Drue Ross I am a proud Bindal Warrior.
I would like to Acknowledge and Pay My Respects to Elders Past, Present and Future.
On belhalf of the Bindal People I would like to Welcome you here on the land which you meet here today, the Tony Ireland Stadium, I would like to thank you for inviting me here to do this Welcome to Country.
As a young boy growing up in Townsville, I used to live for every weekend, for playing sport was the highlight for me.
Especially when I played for the Garbutt Magpies Australian Rules Football Club, it was a time of my life I really enjoyed, cause I got to see and spend time with a lot of my family and friends on weekends.
Garbutt Magpies Australian Rules Football Club wasn’t just a footy club, we were a family club first and foremost, simply because a lot of the Indigenous and Non Indigenous families that grew up in Garbutt/Townsville area.
Garbutt Magpies, the colours Black and White said it all. We were about bringing people together and sharing our culture and traditions and our family way of life.
Part of our tradition was about bringing our young boys up to play Aussie Rules, and one of the fondest memories I have as a young person playing for this great club was opportunity to play alongside my father, uncles, brothers, cousins and friends in a full contact sport.
I was about 15/16yrs when I first played Senior Football.
There are not too many young people who can say that they have played in a full contact sport alongside of their father and/or uncles.
This was my initiation to becoming a Man, this was Respect and Discipline for me and many other younger boys who played for this great club. If any of us young boys fell out of line, I can assure you that there were a lot our families there to pull us back into line real quick.
Australian Rules kept us young people going, Garbutt Magpies kept us together as a family.
Garbutt Magpies to the best of my knowledge was the only sporting club that bought families closer and if you were an outsider, we would take you in and look after you and your family.
Garbutt Magpies did not judge people by the colour of a person’s skin or ethnic background or people with language speaking barriers, it didn’t matter to Garbutt Magpies people, it was the fact that we were the only club, that bought people from different Backgrounds and Cultures together and made families stronger.
Sport brings people together and makes friends for life, Garbutt Magpies bought families, friends and communities together for life.
I’m sure there are a lot of old players and supporters that can recall a few stories of their own, that’s just one of my stories that I wanted to share with you today.
So to our future leaders of tomorrow, I say this to you. “Always be proud of who you are and where you come from“, for your journey is only just beginning.
You are not just representing yourself, you are representing your families and communities, always carry yourself with Respect and always Respect others.
Finally I say to you (players) – “ Enjoy the Game and Have Fun “.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to do this Welcome to Country and to share a story of mine that will always be close to me.
As you leave my country, “Bindal Country“, may you have a safe journey back to your families and homes and communities, and again I say to you on behalf of the Bindal People, Waddamooli.