An article featuring North Melbourne AFLW stars Kaitlyn Ashmore and Mia King has taken out a prestigious honour, with its author Liz Walsh being awarded the Grant Hattam Award for sports journalism.
Awarded by the AFL Players’ Association, 2021 represents the first time an AFLW-related article has won the award.
Exploring the journeys Ashmore and King have gone on to discover their indigenous heritage, it was published in the lead-up to the inaugural AFLW Indigenous Round.
Ashmore’s grandfather, Lawrence, had kept his own indigenous heritage a secret through fear of judgement, however he revealed his family history shortly before he passed away.
“My Pa grew up in a world where indigenous people were frowned upon and he hid that part of himself … I can’t even imagine that now,” she told The Herald Sun.
“But because Pa hid it for so long, it’s been really hard to find out information and most of his brothers and sisters have passed away, too.
“We’re finding out information in dribs and drabs … we’ve only just started, but it’s a journey that is quite exciting … the more we find out, the more exciting it’s becoming.”
Congratulations to @theTiserSport’s @lizwalsh77 on being awarded the Grant Hattam Award for Journalism Excellence, proudly presented by @ThomsonGeer, for her story on @NorthAFLW’s @kaitashmore and Mia King.— aflplayers (@AFLPlayers) September 2, 2021
King, on the other hand, knows more about her own heritage, however she is still in the process of learning about her family history.
Her grandmother, Maggie, was a member of the Stolen Generation, and she says she’s looking forward to connecting with her Mob in the near future.
“Maggie endured quite a lot in her life. She was brought up in a mission camp on Crocker Island where she was taught the white ways and I think she really lost her heritage and identity there,” King said.
“My grandmother being a part of the Stolen Generation, but then my dad being adopted, we never learnt a lot about our heritage and our roots when we were growing up,” she said.
“We’re missing that part of our lives … to fill that hole in my life that I haven’t got to know, which will be special.
“To be able to celebrate our Aboriginal heritage and be proud of it is really important to me,” she says.