• Register

During the 2019 Mini-Cluster the Roller Hawks and the Red Dust Heelers resumed their battle for the Woolkabunning Kiaka Cup.


To understand the motivation behind the Woolkabunning Kiaka Cup, you have to understand the origins of the Red Dust Heelers team.


The team stems from the Roelands Village in southern part of Western Australia, near Bunbury. Roelands was a former mission where members of Australia's Stolen Generation were taken to. 


Many of the now grown Mission brothers and sisters have come together under the name 'Woolkabunning Kiaka' (wool-ka-bunning key-aka), which is Noongar for "been there, left and returned to the place of many hills”  to change the place from being a place of sadness to one of reconciliation and healing. 


Part of this healing is through the Red Dust Heelers who run disability awareness activities and provide tools to deal with emotional trauma and stress that can come with having a disability as well as for those who care for someone with a disability. 


“We recognised with the Aboriginal elders there that there are a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities out there who aren’t engaged in sport and we think that’s a real shame because there’s a lot of talent our there and we wanted to change that.”


“Everyone deserves a chance to play sport and be included.” 


One in five Australians live with disability, while one in two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders live with disability - with such a high incidence rate, the Red Dust Heelers work to identify the reasons why they are disengaged, and change that.


Shortly after Red Dust entered the National Wheelchair Basketball League, the Heelers and the Roller Hawks partnered up to pay respect to all members of the Stolen Generation and shine a light on the issue of accessibility and inclusiveness. 


“You don’t have to play for the Red Dust Heelers to be a Red Dust Heeler, it just means you believe in our message and what we’re doing and that’s why we consider the Wollongong Roller Hawks a part of our family and a part of the Heelers movement.”

Each year the two sides play for the Woolkabunning Kiaka Cup. The team that wins the majority of their three regular season games, wins the cup. The Roller Hawks lay claim to the trophy after winning last year’s series 2-1 and going into the Mini Cluster,  lead the 2019 series 1-0 after defeating the Red Dust Heelers in Round 1. 


Official proceedings began prior to tip off with a Welcome to Country by local elder, Aunty Lindy Lawler.


“When I see you, you have the strength and courage to show people what it’s like, through this sport, you should all be recognised.” said Aunty Lindy.


“No matter where you are, on the wall, put your pictures up there and your posters all over the walls. No matter where you come from, we need to have that strong recognition of every team that plays this sport because you are tremendous.”


From there all eyes turned to the on court action as the Roller Hawks and Red Dust battled for both the cup and valuable competition points.  And while the Heelers fought until the final whistle, it was always going to be tough for the visitors, searching for their first win of the season against an experienced side yet to lose a game. The Roller Hawks eventually ran out 73-42 winners and followed up the next day with a clean sweep with a 87-35 win. 


“This year is all about development for us. We’ve got a very young group and a very inexperienced group.” said Kath O’Kelly-Kennedy.


“There is some experience scattered amongst it which is awesome because they’re very valuable on court directing and guiding our newer guys.”


“We had some of our own goals and even though we didn’t come away with a win we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”