Taking our culture to Brisbane

20 Jun 2024

NRL Cowboys House students took centre stage at the 2024 Queensland Gives Philanthropy Awards in Brisbane, proudly showcasing their traditional culture and education journey with one of Queensland’s most generous communities.

With the kind support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, the ten Year 8-12 students caught an early morning flight from Townsville to take their place in the opening ceremony at Brisbane City Hall, performing two dances with NRL Cowboys House Cultural Education Manager Glen Thomas.

The first dance was created for the Miriki Arts production Gulgi-barra (meaning Sand People), telling the story of the Yidinji clan group who frequented the Trinty Bay inlet, while the second dance was a song called “Yidinji Descendants” created by popular Aboriginal singer and song writer Normey Jay for the Yarrabah community to encourage younger descendants to engage with their culture and family history.

The students were also given the honour of presenting 2024 NRL Cowboys House polos on stage to special awards guests Ash Barty, Rob Barty and Orange Sky’s Nicholas Marchesi OAM and Lucas Patchett OAM.

As part of the action-packed day trip, the students, representing their home communities of Mossman, Badu Island, Yarrabah, Yorke Island, Yam Island, Yam Island, Saibai Island and Thursday Island joined 250 students from south-east Queensland in activities to learn about philanthropy and giving, plus enjoyed some ‘big city’ sightseeing!

The Queensland Gives Philanthropy Awards raise awareness of philanthropy in Queensland, honour community members and organisations who make outstanding philanthropic contributions and encourage support for charities and community organisations operating throughout Queensland.

Tara Castle, Queensland Gives Chief Executive Officer was thrilled to have NRL Cowboys House students at this year’s event.

“This is the first time we’ve had student representatives from outside south-east Queensland,” she said. “To have NRL Cowboys House students travel all this way and perform cultural dances centre-stage at Brisbane City Hall is incredible.”

For Cowboys Community Foundation Chief Executive Officer Fiona Pelling, who attended the awards with Head of Corporate & Philanthropic Partnerships Catherine Spencer, the trip was a wonderful experience all round.

“We thank Queensland Gives, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Philanthropy Australia community for making this such a rewarding event for our NRL Cowboys House students to be part of,” Fiona said.

“It was humbling and inspiring to spend time with such incredibly generous Queenslanders, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness for our charity and programs in such a special way.”

For the third year running, the Cowboys Community Foundation was a finalist in the Queensland Gives Photo Challenge, with photojournalist Matt Taylor’s entry from NRL Cowboys House, ‘Generational Kindness’ displayed at the event.

Thanks to the generosity of partners and supporters, the students at NRL Cowboys House are cared for, supported and exposed to diverse opportunities to achieve their full potential through their secondary schooling and into employment and further education and training.

Queensland Gives manages a sub-fund that makes an annual distribution to the Cowboys Community Foundation, supporting this life-changing initiative, and supporters can make a tax-deductible donation by nominating ‘Cowboys Community Foundation’ as their preferred fund to support.

All photos courtesy of Queensland Gives.