Auction: The stories and artists behind our boots

It's a fantastic cause, and one close to the hearts of the nib Newcastle Knights.

To honour Indigenous Round, raise awareness and show support to the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Youth Suicide and its related causes in Australia, the Knights will wear customised boots when they take to the field against the Sydney Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium this Friday.

The players will wear boots painted by young indigenous artists from Cultural Choice Association, The Glen Centre and Kirinari Hostel and Baxter Detention Centre this Friday with the boots being auctioned after the game.

Click here to view and bid on the auction! (Auction starts at fulltime of the Knights v Roosters game)

Sione Mata’utia: Artist – Ralph Binge

Sione’s boots were designed and painted by 13-year-old Ralph Binge from Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle. Ralph is a proud Gamilaroi young man.

Ralph spent many years in Kempsey, NSW on Bunjalung Country.  Ralph is settling in to his first year in boarding, is a year 7 student at Hunter Sports High and enjoys playing AFL and spending time with his new Kirinari brothers.

The design on Sione’s boots depicts his heritage and family ties in Samoa and Australia with many travels back and forth across the ocean.

Kalyn Ponga: Artist – Jarmaine Elemes

Kalyn’s boots were designed and painted by 16 year old Jarmaine Elemes from Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle. Jarmaine is a proud Wiradjuri young man from Dubbo/Wellington and is a current year 10 student at Hunter Sports High. He has a strong desire to play professionally in the NRL and is currently in the Knights junior system. 

The design depicts both Kalyn and Jarmaine’s journey from bush to beach. The blue represents the colour of the ocean and the ochre of the earth. Many circles are meeting places for family and friends and the silver fern (funnily enough also known as Ponga or Punga) represents Kalyn’s Kiwi heritage. The Aboriginal symbol for man on the side of the boots represents a strong man in Kalyn. 

James Gavet: Artist – Addison Hansen

James' boots were designed and painted by 13 year old Addison Hansen from Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle. Addison is a proud Yuin young man from Batehaven in Southern NSW, and is a year 7 student at Cardiff high School.

This is Addison’s first year away from home and he is loving being part of the Kirinari family.

Addison chose James as the player he would most like to paint his boots and as a rookie artist was proud to create his first ever design, with the assistance of Cultural Choice Association’s Mark Watson on James’ huge size 16 boots. James boots have 20 significant circles in total that represent Addison and his 11 Kirinari brothers, Kirinari staff, James and James’ family coming together through the CCA Indigenous round boots initiative.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon: Artist -  Damon Russell-Tuhura

Fitzy’s boots were designed and painted by 13 year old Damon Russell-Tuhura from Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle.

Damon is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Walgett in Northern NSW. Damon is a year 7 student at Cardiff High School and is enjoying his first year in boarding away from his family with his new brothers at Kirinari.

To compliment Lachlan’s actual boot design Damon worked with colours that represent Lachlan’s junior rugby league days (red/white) as a South Newcastle junior and the ochre colour represents Damon’s heritage from the Walgett area.

Mason Lino: Artist - Tyson Green

Mason's boots were designed and painted by 17 year old Tyson Green of Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle. 

Tyson is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Moree, Northern NSW, is a year 12 student at Cardiff High School studying veterinary and has a dream to join the Army when he completes his HSC.

Tyson worked his artwork around the texture and design of Mason’s boots, with a collaboration of traditional Aboriginal colours (red, black and yellow) and New Zealand colours (black and white) to the colours of the ocean recently travelled to Mason’s new coastal home in Newcastle.

Jesse Ramien: Artist – Ronnie Duncan

Jesse’s boots were painted by 14 year old Ronnie Duncan of Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle where Jesse also spent many proud years as a student and brother.

Ronnie is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Moree/Boggabilla in Northern NSW, attends Cardiff High School and has a dream to one day become an NRL player.

Ronnie designed his artwork around the original camouflage design on Jesse’s boots. The earthy colours used by Ronnie symbolises both Ronnie and Jesse’s families, with the colours of the Porcupine from Weilwan country (Jesse) and the sand goanna from Gamilaroi country (Ronnie), both camouflaging themselves from opposition. The small dots represent family and friends travelling to meet at many meeting places (larger dots).

Jamie Buhrer: Artist – Jade Porter

Jamie’s boots were painted by Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle Deputy Head of Boarding Jade Porter.

Jade is a proud Gamilaroi man from Moree in Northern NSW.  Jade has dedicated 10 years to Kirinari and has been Deputy Head of Boarding for the past three where he works alongside his loving wife Lehetta and their 5 children. 

In recent years Jade has previously painted Sione Mata'utia's head gear for the NRL Indigenous Round. This year Jade has used colours of the ocean to represent Jamie’s time in Newcastle, with many travel lines and meeting places from his time in the NRL.

Kurt Mann: Artists – Lehetta, Lily and Emme Porter.

Kurt’s boots were a collaborative effort between mother and daughters Lehetta, Lily and Emme.

Lehetta is a proud Gamilaroi/Yuwalaaray woman from Goodooga/Walgett area in Northern NSW. Lehetta has been Head of Boarding at Kirinari for the past three years and is proud of her extended family. Lily and Emme both attend St Kevin’s Catholic School situated on Awabakal Country. 

The girls worked their design in to compliment the texture of Kurt’s boots, depicting Kurt’s move to the coastal area of Newcastle with the movement and colours of the ocean.

Tim Glasby: Artist - Anthony Walford

Tim’s boots were painted by rookie artist and year 8 student at Cardiff High School Anthony Walford. Anthony lives at Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle.

Anthony is originally from Walgett in Northern NSW, a proud Gamilaroi young man.

Anthony has a passion for art, and he chose to incorporate traditional Aboriginal colours with the colours of the Newcastle Knights, with the many small dots represent their growing and passionate fan base. The white dots/travel line represent Tim’s recent travel from Melbourne to reside in Newcastle. 

Josh King: Artist – Tyson Green

Josh’s boots were designed and painted by 17 year old Tyson Green of Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle. 

Tyson is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Moree, Northern NSW, and is a year 12 student at Cardiff High School studying veterinary.

Josh’s boots depict his birthplace of Maitland by the colours of black and white. The large circles represent coastal water holes/ocean in the Newcastle area. The gold crown represents Josh’s family of kings!

Mitchell Pearce: Artist – Trent Mason

Mitchell's boots were painted by 15-year-old Trent Mason of Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle.

Trent is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Walgett in Northern NSW. Trent is in year 10 at Cardiff High School and plays rugby league for West Newcastle.

Trent designed Mitchell's art around the unique texture of the boots, using traditional Aboriginal colours paying respect to his own heritage. Hundreds and hundreds of tiny dots make up travel lines that represent Mitchell's many journeys across the country as an accomplished NRL player, and as the Captain of the Newcastle Knights.

David Klemmer: Artists – Keith Fernando and Malakye Walford

David’s boots are a collaborative effort between two cousins in Keith (16) and Malakye (15) both of Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle and Cardiff High School.

Keith is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Walgett in Northern NSW, spending many years in Dubbo before attending Kirinari. Keith’s interests range from art to hospitality. Malakye is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Walgett in Northern NSW. Malakye attends Cardiff High School as a year 10 student. Malakye has a strong work ethic and leadership skills and enjoys basketball and rugby league.

David’s boot design is made up of 16 significant circles that depict 12 brothers from Kirinari, David and his three sons. Colours were used to represent his travel from Belmore to the beach in addition to his time representing his state in blue (State of Origin).

Connor Watson: Artist - Malakye Walford

Connors boots were designed and painted by Malakye Walford of Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle.

Malakye is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Walgett in Northern NSW. Malakye attends Cardiff High School as a year 10 student, has a strong work ethic and leadership skills and enjoys basketball and rugby league.

Malakye designed Connor's boots around Connors journey in life, with five destination places starting with Connor's father, Mark’s birthplace of Walgett, travel to Dubbo, then to Avoca Beach on the Central Coast, to Sydney, then to Newcastle.

The very front toes of Connors boots represented in the ochre colours are the spirits of three significant people who had a strong connection to Connor,  who will always be watching over him on his journey. The four green significant circles represent Connors Dad, Mum, Connor and brother Fletcher. The boomerangs on the side panels represent 'giving back' and always remember where you came from. The front section of the boots depict the rivers meeting in the Walgett area which is the connection between Malakye the artist and Connor.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall: Artist - Gavin Longbottom 

Gavin is a proud Yuin man who grew up in La Perouse , Sydney. Gavin is currently a proud resident at The Glen on the Central Coast NSW.

Gavin designed and painted Shaun’s boots around Shaun’s Kiwi origin and Gavin’s Aboriginal heritage. The left boot represents our Aboriginal dream paths we used to walk through which was the safest way to travel. The right boot represents a traditional Ta’Moko design for Shaun’s origin.

Herman Ese'Ese: Artist - Walter Hammond

Wally is a proud Gamilaroi man who was man was born in Moree, Northern NSW in 1981. He lived on the mission with his Mum, Dad, Nan, Pop and 10 Aunties and Uncles. Wally moved to Wellington NSW, when he turned 5 and has been there ever since.

Wally is currently a proud resident at The Glen on the Central Coast NSW.

Wally designed and painted Herman's boots. "The patterns and colours on the boots represent the coastal feel for me; blue being the ocean and orange and red represent the sun, life and good feelings I get when near the ocean" stated Wally.

Edrick Lee: Artist - Bryan Evans

Bryan is a proud Larrakia man from Kaneang, Perth, WA. At the time of painting Edrick’s boots, Bryan was a proud resident at The Glen on the Central Coast NSW. Bryan has since completed The Glens programme.

Edrick is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man and had requested his boots represent both sides of his Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage.

Daniel Saifiti: Artist – T.E 

T.E is a proud Wangkumara young man from Bourke in Western NSW. T.E has named his artwork 'Emu Dreaming'.

The boots depict a culturally significant Emu design on the front, with an ant trail running down each side. Ants reflect people working together, as in nature ants work together as a community toward a common goal. T.E has also incorporated a native floral design into the ant trail and along the heel of the boots.

Mitch Barnett: Artist – D.M

D.M is a proud Bundjalung man from Grafton, North Coast of NSW.

D.M has named his boots 'Dream Boots' and are a representation of all tribes coming together as one Nation.

The artwork on the front of the boots was inspired by tribal Elders (red stripes), meeting warriors (red dots) around a yarning circle or meeting place.

Aidan Guerra: Artist - R.B

R.B is a proud Gamilaroi man from Northern NSW, and has a deep respect for his culture and aims to display his art utilising the traditional colours of his people. 

The turtle on the boots represent Aidan’s origin from the coastal Northern Queensland region, and the footprints represent the tracks of Edlers who are travelling between the three yarning circles/meeting places on the front and heel of the boots.

Danny Levi: Artist – J.B

J.B is a proud young Wiradjuri man from the Queanbeyan area, and currently resides in the Newcastle area.

J.B has named his art 'Coastal Dreaming'. Danny’s boots are painted in the traditional dot method and reflect both the artist's and Danny’s journey across land and sea, and how they both met.

Hymel Hunt: Artist - Bayli Johnson

Hymel's boots were painted by 14 year old rookie artist Bayli Johnson from Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle.

Bayli  is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Moree Northern, NSW. Bayli attends Cardiff High school in year 8 and has a strong desire to play in the NRL.

The many circles represent inclusiveness, connectiveness and family circles from both Hymel’s Indigenous New Zealand heritage and Bayli’s Indigenous Australian heritage. 

Shaun Kenny-Dowall: Artist - Edward Foote

Shaun’s boots were painted by 15-year-old Edward Foote from Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel Newcastle.

Edward is a proud Gamilaroi young man from Moree, Northern NSW. Edward is a year 10 student at Hunter Sports High and is recognised for his touch football talents.

Edward paid respect to Shaun’s Kiwi heritage with the presence of the Koru Honu; Turtle the navigator achievement, and also paid respect to his own Aboriginal heritage by using traditional Aboriginal colours. Shaun's travel across the sea is also represented by the 'man' symbol on the side of the boots.

The unique boots will be auctioned after Friday's game, with the proceeds going to the involved organisations. To bid on the auction, click here.