In the harsh desert heat of the Kimberley, feet pound the sand as 80 women from across the Katjungka region compete in the inaugural Balgo Women’s Football Carnival.
The tournament was the brainchild of Brian Darkie Jr, Balgo Community Liaison Officer for the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, in consultation with community women.
They aimed to lift the spirit of women in the area, redevelop social sporting facilities, and encourage women to look after their physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
The Carnival has been months in the making, with community members and local organisations hard at work since May 2019 renovating gym facilities, designing guernseys for four different teams, cleaning up the sporting field and youth shed, and re-chalking the grounds. While this work was underway, local women were supported to form the four teams and train for the competition.
According to Brian, the local competition and programs like it, are imperative for promoting positivity in the area.
“We want to make women happier here” he said.
“We want to show how to achieve this, to show other communities that what the women are doing around here is playing football… Some of the girls came up to me and said we just need football, more and more happening out here in Balgo.”
The Carnival had a wide range of support with West Coast Eagles defender and Balgo local Francis Watson returning home to assist with coaching and umpiring, violin virtuoso Eric Avery performing music to help promote the event to local people, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services supplying boots, socks, water bottles and guernseys, and more.
“We are all happy to support the girls. We want to make their spirit inside feel happy,” Brian said.
To learn more about the Carnival and Brian Darkie Jr’s experience watch the event film.
The Balgo Women’s Football Carnival was made possible thanks to the support of the Balgo community, The Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Her Rules Her Game, Garnduwa Make Her Mark, Wirrimanu Aboriginal Corporation and the West Australian Football Commission.
To learn more about the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, visit our website.