House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Constituency Statements

NRL Indigenous Round: Uncle Joe Walker, Page Electorate: Community Awards

11:24 am

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to recognise the work of Joseph Walker, Uncle Joe, a local Indigenous artist from Yamba. Uncle Joe's artwork was used by the South Sydney Rabbitohs for their jersey for the NRL Indigenous round this year. The jersey design focused on the Rabbitoh in the middle of the chest. It had handprints of all the current Aboriginal players and also acknowledged their heritage by displaying totems. The totems represented where each player was from. The design then connected the totems to the central Rabbitoh, which represented all their journeys going to the club. Uncle Joe said that seeing them run out in the jersey was a very special moment.

Uncle Joe was born in Casino and grew up at the Tabulam Aboriginal Reserve with his seven siblings. He is a proud Bundjalung man and played for the Tabulam Turtle Divers. He currently works with Ngunya Jarjum, teaching art to young people. One of the players this year who wore the jersey was Uncle Joe's nephew Cody Walker. James Roberts, another Bundjalung local, also plays in the Rabbitoh's side. Uncle Joe has five children—Shantai and Destinee, who both helped with the jersey design, and Joseph Jnr, Jordan and Cody, who was named in the Wallabies Under 20s. Congratulations, Uncle Joe, for being recognised for the very talented man that you are.

I would like to recognise 18-year-old Theo Scholl, a great young member of my community. Theo is in Year 12 at St Mary's in Casino and recently won the school based Trainee of the Year award at the North Coast and Mid North Coast Training Awards. He works as a storekeeper at the Richmond Valley Council and is completing his certificate II in warehousing operations. Theo also a member of the RFS. He joined at the age of 12 and has been heavily involved ever. he was 12. He was heavily involved in fighting the recent bushfires. It was great to introduce Theo to the Prime Minister when he dropped into the RFS Fire Control Centre in Casino last year. In recognition of this effort, Theo has also been named as a New South Wales RFS finalist in the 2020 New South Wales Rotary Emergency Services Community Award. Theo, I know your family—your mum Connie, Wayne, Trevor, Ali, Dominic, Sebastian, Kyle and Tyrese are extremely proud of you. Congratulation and thank you for what you do in our community.

I would like to recognise 14-year-old Harley Walters, a young surfer from Angourie. This year, Harley has won the under-16 Surfing New South Wales Junior State Title. The surfing state title is a massive achievement for Harley. He outperformed older and more experienced surfers and the win was certainly no easy feat. Harley's older brother Dakoda is also one of the best young surfers in Australia also. Harley's win proved that he is much more than just Dakoda's little brother. Congratulations on the win, Harley, and I look forward to seeing you and Dakoda continue to excel.