The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Arthur Beetson Murri Rugby League Carnival is making its way from the City of Ipswich to the traditional country of the late league legend, Arthur Beetson.
The Murri Rugby League Carnival is a four day annual event that draws in tens of thousands to watch Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rugby league players compete for the championship. The carnival aims to raise the profile of the Indigenous league players as well as instil a message of health through a number of key partnerships.
Tony Currie, founder of the Murri Rugby League Carnival, says the decision to relocate the carnival to Redcliffe has come after much consideration and discussion with the Arthur Beetson Foundation and carnival stakeholders.
“The Murri Carnival has been held in Ipswich City for the past two years and has gone from strength to strength and we are confident taking the carnival to Arthur’s old stomping ground, the Redcliffe Dolphins, will only build on the popularity of the carnival – with more than the 30,000 people attending the carnival in 2013,” says Tony.
For the Beetson family members, the decision to take the carnival to Redcliffe has been met with a positive response as Arthur’s son, Brad Beetson reiterates.
“It will be wonderful to have the carnival on my own family’s traditional country, not to mention the place where my father first came to prominence as a footballer and was laid to rest after his passing in 2011. It is also where myself and my brothers all played junior football for the dolphins,” he says.
Welcoming the carnival is Moreton Bay Regional Council, Mayor Allan Sutherland, who says playing host to this event is without a doubt a regional highlight and will be a great way to honour the legend and his family.
“What better way to recognise the great Arthur Beetson than to host an all-Indigenous rugby league event here in Redcliffe to showcase Queensland’s finest Indigenous rugby league players and the future stars of the game?” says Mayor Sutherland.
“Artie’s contribution on and off the field will not be forgotten, and we are grateful to Redcliffe Dolphin’s President, Bob Jones, and the Board for getting behind this event that will bring thousands of visitors to our region from all over the state.”
QAIHC’s Chairperson, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Adams explains that the Murri Carnival is not only about footy, but contributes significantly to good public and preventative health programs supporting Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
“People from all over the state travel to participate in this event and all players and officials are required to undertake a ‘Health Check’ at their local Aboriginal Medical Service, with players competing in the under 15 competition also required to maintain 90% attendance at school,” she says.
Lizzie says in the three months leading up to the carnival, individuals are responsible for engaging in activities to check on their health and wellbeing and this is as a direct result of the Murri Carnival eligibility process.
The carnival will be held at Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe in September with more than 50 teams coming together to showcase their skills as well as provide the community with four days of stunning rugby league.
The Murri Rugby League Carnival is proudly sponsored by the Australian Government, QAIHC, Queensland Government and the Moreton Bay Regional Council.