AFL kicks goals for diversity

Footy has the power to break down barriers and create change. A new display at Melbourne's Immigration Museum celebrates the positive impact of the AFL, and the Western Bulldogs Football Club, on the lives of diverse Australians.

Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen, Western Bulldogs Football Club.

Game Changers: Diversity in Football illustrates how cultural and gender diversity are changing the world of football and how the game has changed their lives.

The exhibition focuses on the stories of two Western Bulldogs players: Lin Jong, the first Australian of East Timorese and Taiwanese descent to play in the AFL, and South African-born Jason Johannisen.

Personal items from the players' early years, treasured jumpers and awards, including Johannisen's 2016 AFL Premiership and Norm Smith medal, will be displayed alongside photographs and videos of the changing faces of the AFL.

Lynley Marshall, CEO, Museums Victoria said Game Changers: Diversity in Football was an opportunity for footy-loving Victorians to enjoy the game in a different way.

"Game Changers: Diversity in Football showcases how AFL has changed and enabled players from different cultures, faiths, and genders to shape the game and become Australian heroes."

"The Immigration Museum is proud to provide a platform for the growing voices of players from a range of backgrounds and we are delighted to have AFL role models sharing their memorabilia and stories of inclusion," said Ms Marshall.

Game Changers will also screen the story of Richmond mid-fielder Bachar Houli, who was the second devout Muslim to play in the AFL. Houli was featured in the 2013 documentary, This Is Who I Am made by students from Victoria University as part of Narratives Across Cultures, a project with the Immigration Museum’s Education Department.

In addition to the powerful stories of individual players, the Immigration Museum will display memorabilia from 2016 and 2017 seasons, representing the AFL Indigenous and Multicultural Rounds, and inaugural Women's Competition. This material has been acquired as part of the Museum’s state heritage collections.

Game Changers has been developed in collaboration with the Western Bulldogs Football Club.

Game Changers: Diversity in Football is showing at the Immigration Museum, Melbourne from July 26 to 15 October 2017.

For media enquiries regarding the exhibition, please contact:

A grey icon of a person
Bronwen Sewell
Community and Media Contact, Royal Exhibition Building
[email protected]
0478 401 003

Join the mailing list and get the latest from our Museums direct to your inbox.

Share your thoughts to WIN

We'd love to hear about your experience with our website. Our survey takes less than 10 minutes and entries go in a draw to win a $100 gift voucher at our online store!