THE LAND ON WHICH WE PLAY
Gold Coast Eagles Rugby Union Club sits nestled within James Overall Park on Brighton Parade, Southport.
Set beside the azure waters of the Nerang River and Southport's Broadwater, boasting a greenscape enjoyed by locals and visitors, framed by luxury yachts, million-dollar mansions and the skyline of Surfers Paradise, our home is among the most picturesque rugby backdrops in Australia.
Rich in history as the Gold Coast’s foundation rugby union club, our members both past and present, respect and honour the privilege of playing and gathering in such a beautiful location.
Our Club's history is however a drop in the ocean when compared to those who have come before us. Our fields are located on land of great significance to the traditional custodians of the Gold Coast area, the Kombumerri Saltwater People.
Imagine the Southport Spit as nothing but a sandbank with ocean waves breaking on the shorelines of what we now call Broadwater Parklands, you will understand the beauty and importance the land on which Eagles Rugby now sits was to the Kombumerri.
Being a saltwater people, the area was their base location for fishing in the calm waters that allowed the Kombumerri to safely transition into ocean fishing around the sandy point.
The cultural significance of this land is highlighted as we respectfully remember the life of Jenny Graham. Jenny Graham was one of the last in line of the Kombumerri People who lived a traditional Aboriginal life on the Gold Coast.
Jenny practiced traditional fishing, gathering and hunting from the location where our playing fields now sit, as she lived on Brighton Parade. These were dangerous and changing times that saw the practicing of traditional ways and speaking in language outlawed.
Jenny was forced to conceal her lifestyle in order to maintain not only her own safety, but also the safety of her children. In true character, she was able to secretly pass her knowledge down through the generations, maintaining her deep connection to her land, her language and her culture. Jenny caste the die for all future generations of her bloodline, passing down the ethos of adapting to changing times whilst never releasing the traditional ties to her culture.
From Jenny, we know that Eagles Rugby sits on land of great cultural significance to the Kombumerri Saltwater People who walked the lands of the Gold Coast for thousands of years.
The Kombumerri People's language was Ngarangwal and the Kombumerri lived on Country in harmony and their lifestyle was one of abundance with access to fresh supplies of seafood, wildlife, nuts, fruits and vegetables. The Kombumerri were at one with the land. They understood the seasons and developed an intricate synergy with the environmental calendar which informed them of what kinds of food to eat and hunt based on the time of the year. The Kombumerri were a welcoming people and neighbouring families would sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres for seasonal food gatherings, feasting and festivals.
As we host players, officials, coaching staff, family and friends of teams from across the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and around the World, Eagles Rugby acknowledges and pays our deepest respects to the Kombumerri Saltwater People, their ancestors, descendants and Elders, past, present and emerging. In particular, we honour Jenny Graham, who was an inspirational matriarchal leader.
As caretakers of land considered to be of significant cultural value, we undertake to uphold the Kombumerri’s values and extend the same hospitable spirit to all of our visitors.
Southport Spit, 1937
Our playing jerseys, Tess McKeown, 2021