The purpose of the Little Long Walk is to unite Australians and provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on Michael Long’s iconic walk to Canberra in 2004, which put the lives of Australia’s First Nations peoples back on the national agenda.
Today VACCA and Essendon Football Club hosted the Little Long Walk at the home of Essendon, Melrose Drive Melbourne Airport.
The day was spectacular…Sun shining, families gathering in good numbers, Players, Staff and community filled the ground while balloons with Indigenous colours were being blown up and handed to children and families. Gift packs and food were provided by VACCA which contributed to this events success. Praise going to Leanne Brooke, Aunty Eva- Jo Edwards, Uncle Trevor Gallagher, Aunty Muriel Bamblett and EFC mascot Skeeta who the kids loved.
“The Little Long Walk is a great way to connect and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and the younger generations. It’s another opportunity to demonstrate in a fun, practical way the commitment Essendon and the AFL have to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
Essendon will celebrate its 150th year in the VFL/AFL with a commemorative logo which pays tribute to the club’s rich past. Radio 3KND pervaded a two live to air broadcast hosted by Lorena Walker and Gman with Technical Office Zion Akarana attending to make sure it all went smoothly.
In 2004, former AFL legend Michael Long decided that something needed to be done about the plight of the Indigenous community, so he walked from his home in Melbourne all the way to Parliament House in Canberra. The Long Walk was born, with money raised to support Indigenous education programs across the country. He is a proud Anmatyerre, Maranunggu and Tiwi Aboriginal man. He has dedicated his life to advancing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cause and was the 2018 Northern Territorian of the Year, in recognition of his significant contributions. Darwin-based facility, the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre (MLLLC), officially opened in 2015 to provide indigenous youth with the same opportunities as all Australians, is named in his honour.
Long's legacy derived from his illustrious football career for the Essendon Football Club, which saw him win premierships in 1993 and 2000, including accepting the Norm Smith Medal from fellow Tiwi Islander Maurice Rioli after the first of them, and earn All-Australian selection in 1995. The brilliant and hard-as-nails wingman played 190 games and kicked 143 goals between 1989 and 2001. However, Long's best-known football feat was the history-altering stand he made against racism after an on-field incident in the Bombers' inaugural Anzac Day clash with Collingwood in 1995.
The AFL subsequently introduced its groundbreaking racial vilification policy in 1995, which many other sporting codes, both in Australia and beyond, went on to adopt. Essendon immortalised Long with a poignant statue at the entrance of the football club's Tullamarine headquarters in 2018. Long is portrayed holding a walking stick and wearing the Bombers' trademark red sash, with his No.13 playing number on his back.
Eighteen years on, Michael Long and the Long Walk return to Federation Square with live music performed by some of Australia’s leading Indigenous artists, free sport and art activations for the family, and a huge BBQ put on by Scouts Victoria (proceeds shared between Scouts and the Long Walk). The Long Walk raises awareness to improve and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and life opportunities.
The event will again conclude with the Walk to the G, as part of the traditional Dreamtime match between Essendon and Richmond walk and game packages on sale now! "The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) is a state-wide Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) servicing children, young people, families, and community members. It was founded by Aboriginal Australians in the 1970s, to provide services to and advocacy for Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. It was also known as the Aboriginal Child Placement Agency (ACPA). The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) promotes a culturally respectful and culturally appropriate approach to Indigenous children and families. Our Principles and Values 1. Best interests of the child 2. Aboriginal Cultural Observance 3. Respect 4. Self-determination 5. Healing and Empowerment 6. Excellence"