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The important meaning behind Geelong's 2024 Indigenous jumper

Jackson Clark -

Celebrating the distinctive features of Australia's landscape that First Nations people have walked on and sustained for over 60,000 years was the motivation behind Geelong's 2024 Indigenous jumper.

The design, titled Layers of the Land, recognises the importance of looking after the environment and calls upon people to be aware of the impact that we are having on nature and animals.

The jumper will be worn for Sir Doug Nicholls Round during the Cats' clash against the Gold Coast Suns in Darwin in Round 10, and also their match against Greater Western Sydney at GMHBA Stadium the following week.

The guernsey – which was designed by Keerray Woorroong and Yorta Yorta woman Sherry Johnstone – will also be worn by Geelong's VFL and VFLW teams.

Johnstone said that she wanted the jumper to be thought-provoking.

"I wanted this guernsey design to create thoughts and conversations about looking after Country and how important it is to appreciate, protect and fight for what we have whilst restoring what is struggling to survive," Johnstone said.

"All things have a place, purpose, spirit and connection.

Keerray Woorroong and Yorta Yorta woman Sherry Johnstone with her design. (Image: Geelong FC)

"If we can all take the time to respect, listen, observe, connect, learn and grow from what surrounds us, we can learn to live in harmony with it and care enough to contribute to creating a more sustainable future for our children and generations to come.

"So the key messages are for us all to be aware of the impact we are having on our environment and animals, and working together on creating timely solutions."

Midfielder Brandan Parfitt – a Larrakia, Warramungu and Yawuru man – said that it is an 'honour' to wear Johnstone's design.

"(The design) holds such deep significance," Parfitt said.

"Celebrating First Nations cultures in Sir Doug Nicholls Round is something we look forward to as a team and a Club each year, and, having grown up in the Northern Territory, for the Cats to be heading to Darwin to play in the round opener against Gold Coast is something that is very special to me."

The Cats released a statement on Monday detailed the elements of the design.

The jumper showcases various aspects of the Australian landscape, including Sea Country, Flat Country, Stoney Country and Hilly Country.

The waterways symbolises the journeys and passage of time, while the footprints represent the First Nations people who have walked on and lived sustainably on the land for over 60,000 years.

Both sides of the jumper features a shield, which represents the challenges we are up against, while the windows in the hills represent opportunities for different cultures to unite to become stronger as a collective to protect what they are passionate about.

Finally, the circle positioned above the footprints on the chest depicts a gathering place, symbolising unity as a team, and he message stick encourages us to spread the importance of caring for all aspects of our land.

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