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Swans launch new Indigenous Guernsey designed by Tilba's Cheryl Davison


The Sydney Swans have unveiled a new Indigenous Guernsey which will be worn when the Swans take on Carlton on Friday June 1, in Marn Grook at the SCG.

The striking design tells the story of the black swan, Guunyu, inspired by the artwork of leading NSW artist Cheryl Davison. Her work, based on stories from the elders in her community, has been exhibited nationally and internationally.


Photo courtesy of The Sydney Swans

The Sydney Swans engaged Davison following a connection made through the club’s Reconciliation Action Plan committee and Blak Markets – a hub for Indigenous businesses that exhibits locally at Bare Island, NCIE in Redfern and the Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks. Blak Markets provides development and training opportunities for young Aboriginal people.

RAP committee member Lance Franklin became the first player to pull on the new jumper and said he will wear it with immense pride.

“When I first saw the jumper, I was immediately struck by the black swan – it’s a strong image and has a wonderful story behind it,” Franklin said.

“Marn Grook is my favourite game of the year because it celebrates what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to our game. Celebrating that heritage is something that’s really important to our whole football club.

“Running out in this jumper on the Friday night stage is going to be really special.”

It’s the first time Sydney will change its Indigenous jumper from the 2014 guernsey designed by Lisa Sansbury, the mother of Swans great Adam Goodes.

Sydney Swans CEO and Managing Director Andrew Ireland said elements from the original design have been retained in Sydney’s Marn Grook logo.

“When discussing whether to change our jumper we wanted to ensure the original design by Lisa Sansbury lived on, as it meant so much to our club,” Ireland said.

“Her iconic red and white pattern surrounded by the blue of Sydney’s waterways features in our Marn Grook logo. Depending on who our opponent is for Marn Grook, and the colour of their jumper, we will wear the jumpers interchangeably in the future.

“On behalf of the club I would like to thank Cheryl Davison, Blak Markets and our RAP Committee for bringing the new jumper to life – we’re really looking forward to seeing the team in the black swan for Marn Grook at the SCG.”

To order the Sydney Swans 2018 Indigenous Guernsey visit: shop.sydneyswans.com.au Media Release courtesy of Sydney Swans


The Story of the Black Swan - Guunyu by Cheryl Davison In the dreamtime lived a beautiful white swan. It was graceful and elegant and had beautiful white feathers, amongst all the birds the swan was the most beautiful. We call him Guunyu. He lived in the waterways of lakes and billabongs. Guunyu was a humble, quiet bird and mostly stuck to himself. Guunyu’s nest was a huge mound made from rush and sedge grass. All the other water birds were small, and their feathers did not stand out like Guunyu’s beautiful white feathers. In our laws and customs, it’s not good to talk about yourself or praise yourself up and Guunyu never did, always bowing his head and going quietly about his business. One day as Guunyu swam to a place where all the birds congregated to feed on weed and food at the bottom of the lake, he felt every bird staring at him. Some birds got in Guunyu’s way and tried to stop him from eating all the food at the shallow end of the lake. They said go out deeper and eat because your neck can reach the weed in the deeper end of the lake, and so he did. When the birds saw that Guunyu was eating good weed from out the deep end they got jealous of him and all the birds had started to begrudge Guunyu for that. They began to whisper to each other their nasty thoughts. They began to talk out loudly so that Guunyu could hear: “Look at Guunyu, who does he think he is? He thinks he’s better than all of us,” they started to say. Guunyu wasn’t worried about what they were saying and just swam past with his head bowed without saying a word. That evening when all the birds roost in amongst the reeds they began to talk about Guunyu and plot against him. They were so nasty and jealous they wanted him out of their waterways, so they plan to kill Guunyu. The whole time the birds were talking the old black crow sat in the treetops above them listening and shaking his head in shame. He had seen and heard a lot over the years, but this was the worst. The next day on his way to get some more of the good weed to eat, two water fowls came to Guunyu and said: “Come over closer to the long reeds Guunyu, the weed here is nice and juicy”. So Guunyu happily followed thinking he was going to get a good feed, but when he got there all the birds of the waterway jumped out of the long reeds and started to attack Guunyu. They scratched his beak and pulled out his beautiful white feathers. All Guunyu could do was curl up, tuck his wings in and hope for the birds to stop. While this was happening, the old black crow sat in the tree tops. Because there was so many birds attacking Guunyu, all the crow could do was watch on, until they had beaten Guunyu up so much and pulled out every feather that he just lay in the long reeds to die. When the birds had finished attacking Guunyu and everything went quiet, the crow swooped down to see if Guunyu was still alive. Seeing that Guunyu was still breathing, the crow stared to comfort Guunyu and told him he would help him recover. The crow started to wipe away the blood from Guunyu’s naked body, all the while telling him it was all going to be ok. When the crow tried to wipe away the blood from Guunyu’s beak he could not take away the red stain from the blood. The only part of the beak that remained white was a stripe across his beak where a single feather had lain as Guunyu tried to protect himself. Next the crow had seen Guunyu had no feathers and knew he would surely freeze to death if he did not have any feathers to keep him warm. So slowly the crow started to pull out some of his own feathers to share with Guunyu. When he had finished Guunyu was able to rise out of the swamp and fly away with his beautiful new shiny black feathers that the old crow had given him. He was more beautiful than ever before. Today when you see Guunyu flying above you can see that his wing feathers are white underneath where he had tucked his wings in when the birds attacked him. They could not pluck out those feathers because Guunyu had tucked his wings in very tightly. His beak is still red and stained, and he is still beautiful and graceful and humble as well.

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