The Wallabies will sing the Australian national anthem in local Indigenous language when the rugby union Test series against England continues in Brisbane this weekend.
Dave Rennie’s side, who won the opening encounter with their old foes in Perth on Saturday, will also run out on to the Suncorp Stadium pitch wearing their First Nations jersey, in recognition of Naidoc week.
The jersey, which is predominantly gold in colour and features Kamilaroi and Gamilaraay man Dennis Golding’s design, gets its first outing of the year in the crunch second of three Tests against England.
Before kick-off, the national anthem will be sung in Yugambeh language, alongside the Yugambeh Youth Choir in a tribute to Uncle Lloyd McDermott, the first Wallabies player to identify as a First Nations man.
McDermott, a proud Mununjali and Wakka Wakka man who was also Australia’s first Indigenous barrister, famously boycotted the Wallabies’ 1963 tour to South Africa during the apartheid era, rather than play as an “honorary white” player.
Rennie said: “As a team, we’re extremely proud to be able to celebrate Naidoc week by wearing our First Nations jersey and singing in Uncle’s language on Saturday night in Brisbane.
“We put a lot of time into understanding who we play for and who we represent and the privilege to play for Australia isn’t lost on us.”
It is not the first time the Wallabies have sung the anthem in First Nations language – they became the first national side to do so in 2020, when Olivia Fox sang in Eora language at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta.
They were also the first national team to wear a First Nations jersey, at Suncorp Stadium in Golding’s design in 2017.
McDermott’s daughter Phillipa said: “It is amazing to see my dad recognised in this way, his impact on rugby was profound and continues today through Lloydies. This means so much to our family and dad would be honoured.”
The Wallabies can wrap up a series victory on Saturday, after drawing first blood in the weekend’s opener with a 30-28 win.