Full Recap: 2021 Mudyala South Sydney Rabbitoh’s NRL Indigenous Round Boot Auction

2021 proved another successful year of Mudyala’s South Sydney Rabbitoh’s NRL Indigenous Round Boot Auction. This is the 2nd year that Mudyala Aboriginal Corporation has joined forces with Cody Walker and the Rabbitohs to design boots worn by the players during the NRL Indigenous Round, held in May.

Mudyala’s 2021 NRL Indigenous Round Boot Auction was once again held on our Facebook page. Fifteen (15) pairs of players’ boots were successfully auctioned and are on their way to their lucky new owners. The money raised from the auction goes toward the ongoing support of our Rising Warriors program, which uses rugby league as a foundation to connect with boys and youths to build mental strength and establish strong cultural connections.

Our Deadly Boot Artists

Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

I am a proud Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri Aboriginal artist and artefact maker. I specialise in artefact creation using traditional methods, as well as contemporary art. In my life and work I teach through conviction, and I am widely known for my respect to Country. The Country incorporates the environment – both the tangible objects as well as the physical attributes – but it also means so much more than this to our people. To us, Country encompasses values, kinship systems, ways of learning and teaching, communication, decision making, caretaking, culture, lore and language. Country is all the animals and plants, the sky, wind, water and people. It is upheld and sustained by Yindyamarra (to respect, give honour, go slow and take responsibility). Our People have Yindyammarra for mayiny (people), balugan (animals), danba-ng (plants), ngadyang (water) and ngurambang (Country). Our culture cannot be seen with an untrained eye. It is learned through our Ancestors, teaching our Elders, teaching us, and us teaching our children. You need to “see” it: it is told in the narrative, seen in the painting, felt in the artefacts and cared for in the physical. We are Country.

Floyd Laurie, Bundjalung/Yaegl

I am a proud Bundjalung and Yaegl Aboriginal man who has always had an interest in Aboriginal art. I started painting when I was about 14 years old. As I got older it became one of my favourite hobbies. Now it is a big part of my life, and it also runs in my family. My Uncle Noel Caldwell (Uncle Charlie) is an inspiration to me and an artist who I have looked up to for advice. I paint whenever I get the chance and I make the most of each opportunity. It is a great way for me to connect to my culture and show my nieces and nephews that culture is something to be proud of.

Andrew Collard, Noongar/Baladong/Wilman/Wudjuk/Bundjalung/Yuin

I am a proud Aboriginal man who has always had an interest in creating Aboriginal art. I am connected to many Aboriginal bloodlines, including Noongar tribes (Baladong, Wilman and Wudjuk) and Goori/Koori tribes (Bundjalung and Yuin). I’ve always had an interest in art: whether it was reading comics as a kid with my twin brother, to copying our favourite characters or drawing our own. Riding around on public transport and seeing all the graffiti I often wondered, “How did they get so high up to make what they’d created and in so little time?”. There are a few people on both sides of my family that are artists; but, the ones that gave me my love and inspiration for my art were my grandmothers Janet Collard and Josephine Walker. Their connection and memories of old will be forever within our minds: my brother Robert Collard , cousin Jai Walker his older brothers Brooke and Todd, and my uncle Graeme Walker.

Tyreece Daley, Bundjalung

I am a proud Young Bundjalung man. I am 17 years old and enjoyed painting the boots for this program.

Maclean High School Students

A group of Maclean High School students collectively designed NRL player boots. Youth were engaged by Allan McKenzie to contribute to the building of the Rising Warriors Program.

Boots lined up, ready to get painted
Cody Walker looking pretty happy with his deadly boots, designed by Alan McKenzie

The Full Recap: All the Boots and Results

Worn by: Keaon Koloamatangi

Sold for: $720

Artist: Floyd Laurie, Bundjalung/Yaegl

Boot narrative: These boots [for Keaon Koloamatangi] were designed to show our connections to each other: connection to family, community, country and places. This is seen around both boots. It’s a simple but important design to represent how we all connect to each other.

Worn by: Tom Burgess

Sold for: $650

Artist: Floyd Laurie, Bundjalung/Yaegl

Boot narrative: Tom Burgess’ boots are painted in red, yellow and black; the colours of the Aboriginal flag. The red represents the land, yellow represents the sun and the black represents our people. I didn’t want too much design on these as the colours themselves say all I want it to say. I also chose to add some dots and allow them to spread up the boot.

Worn by: Jai Arrow

Sold for: $450

Artist: Andrew Collard, Noongar/Baladong/Wilman/Wudjuk/Bundjalung/Yuin

Boot narrative: For Arrow’s boots I wanted them to be simple and represent Aboriginal men as cultural men and warriors. For this I had the boots shimmer pearlescent blue to mimic midnight sky with stars, then I added a man with a didgeridoo on one boot and a man with a spear on the other. This is to show that a humble, cultural man is also a warrior.

Worn by: Hame Sele

Sold for: $390

Artist: Floyd Laurie, Bundjalung/Yaegl

Boot narrative: The primary colours used on the boots are the colours of the Aboriginal Flag: red, black and yellow. I surrounded the Puma logo on both the front and the back of the boot with the colours of our flag. I then painted trails leading towards the logo to show a gathering and coming together. Since the boot itself is bright fluoro, I wanted to keep the design simple with a strong meaning of connectedness and strength.

Worn by: Mark Nicholls

Sold for: $485

Artist: Andrew Collard, Noongar/Baladong/Wilman/Wudjuk/Bundjalung/Yuin

Boot narrative: For Nicholls’ boots I decided he should represent his Junior Rugby League Clubs of Leeton Greenies and the Gungahlin Bulls. I created small hill designs over the boots to represent his uphill journey to making it in the NRL.

Worn by: Taane Milne

Sold for: $450

Artist: Maclean High School Students

Boot narrative: The group decided to use bright and vibrant colours to represent the vibrant culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They used sorts around the boots to connect culture to the boots and the player. The group of young boys picked colours that allowed the boots to stand out.

Worn by: Latrell Mitchell

Sold for: $1800

Artist: Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

Boot narrative: Latrell Mitchell’s boots are unique to his story. The front of the boot shows his cultural stance of the kangaroo pose that he performs on occasion after scoring a try in the game. This is a representation of his pride as an Aboriginal man. The bright colours around the boot are specifically used in a rainbow sequence representing creation of our people by the Rainbow Serpent. The flow of water around the boots enhances this meaning. The circle is the pulse and vibration of the living land in which we inhabit. Overall, Latrell’s boots were designed to represent a strong cultural man.

Worn by: Cody Walker

Sold for: $1350

Artist: Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

Boot narrative: The boots I painted for Cody Walker represents his culture and his family. I have painted Cody and his sons on the front of the boots in their cultural stance where they are standing strong. The design around the boot symbolises Cody’s strength and resilience as an Aboriginal leader and father to his son, as well as the strength of his culture. I used bright colours to mirror the vibrant culture that is represented in himself and his boys. It acknowledges the passing of culture from himself to his sons and the continuation of culture for future generations.

Worn by: Alex Johnston – hat trick try scorer!

Sold for: $1350

Artist: Andrew Collard, Noongar/Baladong/Wilman/Wudjuk/Bundjalung/Yuin

Boot narrative: For Alex’s boot design, I tried to stay true to what he wanted by representing his culture on the boots – you can see the crocodile, which is his totem, and the colours that represent his people and their connection to the waters.

Worn by: Adam Reynolds

Sold for: $1300

Artist: Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

Boot narrative: Adam’s boots are painted in bright vibrant colours, dotting in circles around the entire boot showing the pulse and beat of our country and culture. The bright colours not only show our Land’s heartbeat, but also its creation by representing the Creation Serpent.

Worn by: Dane Gagai – hat trick try scorer!

Sold for: $761

Artist: Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

Boot narrative: Dane’s boots tell a simple story of journey through culture: with journey flowing like water between waterholes and meeting places, just as our Aboriginal culture continues to flow through us.

Worn by: Tavita Tatola

Sold for: $615

Artist: Tyreece Daley, Bundjalung

Boot narrative: I used Rabbitohs colours to represent the team. I used dot work to represent meeting places. I didn’t put too much additional design on the boots as the boots themselves had a designed background.

Worn by: Benji Marshall

Sold for: $910

Artist: Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

Boot narrative: I wanted the design on Benji’s boots to represent him and his own Māori culture, while also representing our Aboriginal culture. I used the colours of the Māori flags and used Aboriginal symbols to represent land and culture.

Worn by: Cameron Murray

Sold for: $710

Artist: Allan McKenzie

Boot narrative: Similar to all my boot designs, I have used the bright vibrant colours that represent the bright vibrant culture of Aboriginal people. The technique that I used on these boots is line drawing to make patterns that represent the land. The combination of colours and patterns show that culture is strong part of the land and who we are as Aboriginal people.

Worn by: Campbell Graham

Sold for: $510

Artist: Allan McKenzie, Gamilaroi/Wiradjuri

Boot narrative: The blue of Campbell’s boots represents water, and our need for water and connection of water to all living things. This design was kept simple to allow us to remember how simple water is, yet the major role it plays to all living things: the same way our culture plays a major part of our lives.