Sir Doug Nicholls Round celebrates culture and tackles racism

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Sharing her father’s legacy, Aunty Pam Pedersen spoke to Collingwood Football Club players on Monday at the launch of the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

Heavily involved in the round and AFL indigenous inclusion, Aunty Pam was delighted to speak with the club before they start the round tonight against Sydney at the SCG.

This is the 13th year the AFL has celebrated and highlighted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the fourth year the dedicated round has been named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls.

Born on the Cummeragunja mission in NSW in 1906, Sir Doug played 54 VFL games for Fitzroy from 1932 to 1937 before becoming a pastor and pioneer for reconciliation in Australia.

Aunty Pam said it was wonderful to see so many football clubs embracing Aboriginal culture and encouraging their players to learn more.

‘‘It’s excellent teaching them more about Dad and our culture,’’ she said.

Aunty Pam said it was important to have the Sir Doug Nicholls Round as a way of tackling racism.

‘‘Dad suffered racism and so did me and my brother when we were younger,’’ she said.

‘‘We really need to stamp this out.’’

A keen interest in sport and in particular AFL, Aunty Pam is also involved as a working committee member for the Sir Doug Nicholls Round, a member of the Dreamtime Working Group, is a board member of The Long Walk and also is involved with Carlton and Richmond.

Collingwood spokeswoman Meagan Lechucki said the club was privileged to listen to Aunty Pam.

‘‘Aunty Pam explained the importance of Sir Doug Nicholls Round to Collingwood staff and players and gave them an insight to some of the great Aboriginal leaders who created awareness, action and pride in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,’’ Ms Lechucki said.

Aunty Pam said it was fantastic to see how popular the round had become, in particular the ‘‘Dreamtime at the G’’ match played tomorrow night.

‘‘I remember when the Dreamtime game only had a few thousand come along, now it has grown,’’ she said.

‘‘It really brings the community together.’’

Aunty Pam said this year was even more a time of celebration for her family, with the first Lady Gladys Nicholls Award to be presented at the AFLW match at Punt Rd Oval tomorrow afternoon.