AFL football and Aboriginal flag

Sport and Aboriginal Culture

Sport and Aboriginal Culture explored the perceived and real value of sport in select Aboriginal communities, and the contemporary link between Aboriginal culture and sport.

Through a case study of the transformation of the Mullewa Football Club undertaken by the Curtin Centre for Sport and Recreation Research and supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation WA, this project developed a critical understanding of sport as an agent of social and cultural change in communities with large Aboriginal populations, and enhanced the evidence base to support this premise in a regional and remote community club context. This work demonstrated the social outcomes and support the development of a meaningful case study reference can bring about for other such community clubs.

Key lessons to emerge from the project were: the requirement to establish from the outset of program investment what the objectives and associated measures are; and, if it becomes evident that there are unanticipated (bonus) aspects, thought to be related to social/community/individual change that are likely to be of interest, it is important to establish measures and means of capturing these ahead of time.

This research offers critical insights for future work in this area, by providing the baseline for developing and defining a transferrable operational model that has demonstrable social benefit for other like communities.

Principal Areas of Enquiry:

Aboriginal Perspectives

Secondary Areas of Enquiry:

Structural Adjustments and Changing Demographics

Lead Researchers:

Assoc. Prof. Simon Forrest - Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Curtin University
Professor Marian Tye - Centre for Sport and Recreation Research
Greg McLennon - Department of Sport and Recreation WA
Richardi Malacari - Department of Sport and Recreation WA
Jo Del Prete - Department of Sport and Recreation WA

Research Team:

Dr Amma Buckley, Craig Turley

Industry Partners

Department of Sport and Recreation WA

Project Collection


Mullewa Football Club Transformation: A Scoping Study of Aboriginal Community Engagement and Sport

Murchison Active Communities Project (MACP) Stage 1

Connections to Country: The Unforseen Outcomes from Cultural Awareness Training

Sport Value from an Aboriginal Perspective: Scoping Project