On country: Australian football and youth well being in Papunya

This project supports the establishment of the Wilurarra Tjutaku Football League (WTFL). This League is an initiative of the MacDonnell District Sporting and Social Club Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal-controlled organisation based at Papunya in the Northern Territory.  Since 2008, Papunya and the neighbouring Luritja-Pintupi communities have participated in the Central Australian Football League (CAFL), based in Alice Springs, where they compete as a single team called MacDonnell Districts.  Establishment of the WTFL is a direct response to social and economic issues that have emerged as a result of town-based football. The necessity to play all CAFL matches in Alice Springs has imposed enormous social and economic costs on the Papunya community. These negative effects are thought to include disempowerment and increased risks associated with increased travel, lack of accommodation in town, socio-cultural tension, and drug and alcohol abuse that leads to incarceration.

The project investigates the social and economic costs of the Luritja-Pintupi people playing town-based football through rigorous social research. Project findings will support the WTFL by providing the Papunya community with data to empower them to build capacity via a sustainable sporting organisation that emphasises localised participation and promotes whole-of-community wellbeing.

Start By 1 August 2011
Completed By ongoing


Researcher(s) Tim Butcher, Bruce Hearn-McKinnon (Deakin University), Paul James, Barry Judd
Program Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation
Location(s) Alice Springs – Australia
Melbourne – Australia