The story behind our Opening Ceremony Wear

The student’s Involvement…

In June 2015, the Organising Committee for the Gold Coast 2018 Games launched an initiative called the Schools Connect programme. The programme links 70 Gold Coast schools with a school from each of the 70 Commonwealth nations. Team England was partnered with Southport State School, a coeducational primary school, located in Southport on the Gold Coast. 

Team England facilitated an application process that schools in England could apply for to be partnered with the Gold Coast based primary school, and St Philip’s Primary School (of Southport) was selected to partner with Southport State School.

Since the partnership between the two schools was initiated, they have developed a programme where both schools learn from each other through various forms of communication including email, letter, podcast, and YouTube videos.

Southport State School on the Gold Coast deliver an indigenous art programme, led by indigenous art teacher Mr Larry. Mr Larry and his students created a series of podcasts and tutorials to share with their English friends on the history and significance of indigenous dot art, how stories are told and the meaning behind different ways of representing dots.

Students from both schools embarked on a project to tell Team England’s story. They wanted to show the connection between their two schools, the connection to the athletes and officials of Team England’s sports, and the significance of the Commonwealth Games through – all through dot art.

Our athlete’s involvement…

In June 2016, representatives from each of England’s Commonwealth Games sports came together to look at the design of kit for these Games.

One of the key points from the athlete panel was a desire to recognise and show appreciation for the country that England will compete in for these Games - Australia. A number of ideas were suggested. From wearing flip flops and hats with corks, to board shorts and carrying surf boards.

The panel loved the idea of incorporating indigenous dot art in to elements of the kit. This conversation with the athlete panel was timely, as the school’s were underway on their project to tell Team England’s story through dot art.

Mr Larry’s involvement…

Mr Larry has been involved in the schools connect initiative since the beginning, and has been integral to the sharing of knowledge of Indigenous art between our two schools. Mr Larry, as part of his education to the students about how to tell our Team England story in dot art, created his own version of our story using our Lion logo as the template.

Mr Larry’s artwork is incredible. It’s our story entirely, and we are so proud and honoured to have been gifted this artwork. Mr Larry was overwhelmed when we asked if we could share his story of our Team England journey with the Commonwealth by placing it on our Opening Ceremony wear.

His artwork is titled – The Journey.

The medium size circles in the paw and the tail are Southport State School and St Philip’s Primary School. They are making connections between themselves.

The 18 smaller circles represent our 18 sports. The larger dot lines represent these sports coming together to a central meet point – the Gold Coast. The small dot lines represent the individual Team Members joining those sports. The large circle in the head of the lion is Commonwealth Games England, who ties the Team Members, the sports, and the two Schools Connect schools together at Games Time.

Team England’s “The Journey” by Mr Larry Green of the Waddi Waddi, Yuin Nation