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Smoking ceremony bestows safe passage for students

Two NRL Cowboys House buses emblazoned with Indigenous artwork have been spiritually cleansed to promote safe passage and wellbeing, as part of celebrations for the House’s partnership with global integrated facilities management provider BGIS.

The two Toyota HiAce buses, which ferry students daily to school and activities, feature the Indigenous artwork entitled ‘Ngeyarankinba’ meaning ‘Us All’, commissioned and offered for use by BGIS.

The vehicles were the centrepiece of an event that included a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony delivered by the Wulgurukaba Walkabouts, formally acknowledging the buses as part of the House fleet and as a symbol of strengthening ties between NRL Cowboys House and BGIS.

House students also played a key role in the event, presenting BGIS representatives with their official House polo shirts featuring Margaret Mara’s ‘My Journey My Way’ design, before getting on the buses to head off to school.

BGIS National Indigenous Engagement Manager Rikki Cooper said ‘Ngeyarankinba’ shares the story of the BGIS community across the nation working together within an inclusive workplace and shared vision for excellence outcomes.

“We hope by the students having the opportunity to have buses created just for them would remind them they have support not just from school and NRL Cowboys House, but from an organisation who believe they can become anything they set their minds to,” she said.

“The artwork and vehicles reminds them daily that ‘it’s all about the journey’ and that we know they can overcome their barriers and become anything they set their minds to.

“In partnering with NRL Cowboys House we are supporting the Cowboys Community Foundation to provide a safe and secure location for the students to attend during the school year to allow them the opportunity to focus on their studies and future career opportunities.”

At the centre of the sand-engraved artwork, a large gathering circle represents the BGIS community with a traditional interpretation of the BGIS logo at its core, radiating outward into five rings symbolising the five service areas of BGIS.

The rings also highlight timeless values that underline BGIS services including unwavering integrity, memorable customer experience, passion for innovation, people engagement and living sustainably.

It is hoped the artwork will inspire students to stay focused and work hard to open opportunities and become the next leaders in their remote Indigenous communities.

Cowboys Community Foundation Director Fiona Pelling said hosting the Indigenous design on the buses is a daily reminder for House students and staff that they are supported on their journey by the wider community.

“The design on the NRL Cowboys House buses is absolutely stunning and proves just how important our community partnerships are,” she said.

“Even when our students leave NRL Cowboys House to go to school, this artwork reminds them that they are in a culturally supported environment where they are immersed in their traditions, and they can be proud of who they are.

“We’re really grateful for the gift of art and are proud to feature this Indigenous design on such an important part of our daily lives.”

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