Wilmen elder, and Dumbleyung local Grant Riley, continues to preserve this traditional indigenous sport and comments about hearing the ‘old fellas’ talking about it when he was seven or eight years old. "My grandfather used to make the old hockey sticks out of the mangart tree, then pull them up and shape the roots into a hook so they could hit the ball."
The question arises- were Indigenous Australians the first to play hockey?
Some people claim that a connection always existed between ‘Dumbung’ and Hockey and
Grant Riley added, ‘his region was the perfect setting for such meetings’.
"There were many games played out at the lake because all the rivers ran into it, and it had an abundance of food," Mr Riley said. "The tribes knew all this, which is why they would come, meet, hold ceremonies, marriages and play games which amused them." "These games played an important role in pre-European Australian societies," Mr Riley said.
"Sport was not separated from other areas of life. The stick-and-ball games observed in southern Western Australia, like a lot of traditional sports, were woven into the fabric of everyday activity."
Grant Riley is hard at work promoting ‘Dumbung’ to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian’s of our hockey mad region.
"We are the oldest continuous culture in the world and we remind our people that we enjoyed a healthy way of life.”
‘Dumbung’ and Hockey continues to be supported across the region. It’s this support and passion across the Wheatbelt and Great Southern that brought the Kookaburras to Narrogin to play one of four games against the Dutch.
Narrogin local Bevan George, former captain of the Kookaburras, claims the demand for the popular sport of hockey is almost impossible to ignore. "As an international hockey player, you're taught to embrace the local culture no matter where you go, whether it’s India or Pakistan," he said.
Australia played the Dutch in the last of the four game test on February 3rd at the Perth Hockey Stadium and the Kookaburras won the fourth game with a final score of 6-1. Well done Kookaburras!
Information from this story was sourced from the article published on abc.net.au