Wadeye, which lies six hours south-west of Darwin by road, is one of the Northern Territory's largest remote Indigenous communities, with a diverse population of 2500-3000 residents.

It was also an off-season destination for Kangaroos Mia King, Zoe Savarirayan, and Lulu Pullar, who made the long journey to help run a footy carnival with the locals.

"Zoe reached out to me because her uncle Shane Radbone, who's a former Essendon footballer, is heavily involved with Indigenous communities up there," King told NMFC Media.

"He's been volunteering to help organise football carnivals and Zoe said she was going to go (and help) on one and asked if I'd like to join. I jumped at the opportunity."

>> PHOTO GALLERY: King, Savarirayan and Pullar visit Wadeye

Radbone paid a visit to the town back in 2022 with two AFL footballers, Gold Coast Suns defender Jy Farrar and Melbourne forward Shane McAdam. Back then the region was reeling from serious clashes between community members that at times had resulted in supplies of goods being cut off. 

Housing disadvantages and violence have been the crux of the issues, but what King saw and felt during her visits was an "effervescent spirit" in a place where people are deeply connected to their culture, each other, and to the game of footy.

"The community was incredible," she said.

"There's a lot of negativity in the media around Wadeye and how it's portrayed … but the people are amazing.

"We went alongside (former Essendon star) Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti as well, which was really cool. Our role was to run these little footy carnivals and clinics for young girls and also help out with the men's games.

"I think I've done two carnivals and unfortunately I can't make the next ones but Zoe, Lulu, and I are already looking forward to the next one."

The Kardu Diminin people are the traditional owners of Wadeye, with the community being run by the Kardu Diminin Corporation - a corporation formed over decade ago with the goal to carry on the ideas of spiritual and community development and to develop employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians in Wadeye.

King, Savarirayan, and Pullar were able to work alongside elders Margaret Perdjert and 'Milky Way' Stephen Bunduck - who are both involved with the corporation - as well as community councillor Jake Clark and anthropologist Bill Ivory.

"They do a lot of work talking with the community, helping facilitate change, and asking what the community want … it's a really good corporation," King said.

"Anyone that wants to support to Wadeye, I recommend looking into the corporation.

"They're always after footy attire and things like that so there are definitely ways we can support the community because that was one thing that was evident - their lack of resources."

Bridget (c) and Marita (r) are directly involved with the Kardu Diminin Corporation.

Over the weekend, Savarirayan welcomed Perdjert and two of her corporation trainees, Bridget and Marita, who were shown around the Arden Street facilities during the pair's first visit to Melbourne.


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