AFL’s Hawthorn Hawks have renamed their home nest of Waverley Park to ‘Bunjil Bagora’, becoming the first club to take this step in acknowledging Indigenous history.

The blessing of using the name was given to the Hawks from Senior Elder Aunty Joy Murphy.

‘Bunjil Bagora’ honours the ancestral Creator Spirit who travels as an eagle-hawk in the Woiwurrung language of the Kulin Nation of central Victoria.

Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves said the renaming is a “pivotal stride in the club’s dedication to honouring and embracing Indigenous cultures”.

“The club recognises its unique ability to use the power of football to provide opportunities for the broader community to engage with and further their understanding of the cultures of First Nations people.”

“The name of our home base is just one of the ways the club is actively sparking conversation and engagement with Indigenous culture.

Justin Reeves. Photo by AFL’s Hawthorn Hawks.

“We are weaving Indigenous culture throughout all aspects of our club, the renaming of our home base here at Waverley Park to Bunjil Bagora is a moment in Hawthorn’s history we are proud of and want to celebrate with the community.”

Kaurna Ngarrindjeri man and Hawks star, Chad Wingard, said he is proud of his club for their efforts in respecting Indigenous culture.

“It’s a reiteration showing that we respect Indigenous culture 100 per cent, we’re going to make this place equal for everyone and walk together as one,” he said.

“It’s a respect thing, but it’s also acknowledging everyone who has come before us and [that] the land we stand on is Indigenous land.

“It’s a massive statement not just for Indigenous kids, for all kids alike.”

“It might even make kids Google or have a look into Aboriginal culture and Australia’s history… They’ll ask their parents, ‘What does Bunjil Bagora mean?'”

Bunjil Bagora will be officially honoured with a formal event in early 2022.

By Teisha Cloos