Cairns cultural immersion for Macleay Valley Eagles

Above: Members of the Macleay Valley Eagles with local Cape York footballers.


A fledgling AFL club from the mid-North Coast of NSW had a unique post-season football trip recently, travelling from Kempsey to rural Far North Queensland.

Macleay Valley Eagles played games against Cape York and Abergowrie College, and had a taste of life in the tropics, which included trips to iconic Kuranda and Atherton Tablelands during the six-day excursion.

Club Treasurer/Registration officer Ronda Colliver recounts the experience below.

“At 3am Saturday 17th October, 32 players, parents and siblings (predominately indigenous) from Macleay Valley Eagles AFL Club boarded a charter coach at Kempsey Station to head for Brisbane airport for a flight to Cairns.

On arrival in Cairns the entourage was taken on a two hour tour of Cairns then delivered to the Cairns Holiday Park, the base camp. Accommodation was in 14 ‘bed sitter’ cabins housing three people in each.

The main idea of the camp was to play games of gainst Cape York Eagles in Cairns, and Abergowie College, at a venue roughly 400kms from Cairns, just outside of Townsville.

Cape York House is s 46-bed facility for Indigenous youth that come from the islands to be educated.

Abergowrie College is a Boarding school for Indigenous youth housing roughly 190 students at the college.

“The main purpose of the camp was to give the Kempsey/Macleay youth a different cultural experience, and the enjoyed every minute of it.”

The AFL games were played in a real friendly spirit, and were extremely competitive and close.

While the visitors couldn’t get over the line in either game, the experience was fantastic for the Eagles’ football education, and the group made plenty of new friends with the opposition.

At the camp the parents shopped and prepared the meals in the Camp Kitchen, which was shared with the public campers.

Everyone had a lot of free time to sight see.

On one occasion the adults organized a camp excursion to Kuranda, before heading off to experience the Atherton Tablelands and its beautiful waterfalls, pools and lakes.

Above: Macleay Valley Eagles with Abergowrie players.

Above: Macleay Valley Eagles with Abergowrie College players.

Many went shopping, to the movies, swam in Cairns’ magnificent lagoon (pool) in the CBD, and visited Green Island, go Speedboat riding, Deep sea fishing,  the Botanical Gardens, Centenary Lakes and The Tanks Gallery.

Like all good things it came to an end. On Sunday 25th October at 1.30pm the 32 left the camp for their trip back to Kempsey, which ended at 2am on Monday 26th October.

It was a wonderful experience for everyone young and old and we all learnt a lot from each other.

Hopefully this experience can happen again for the next group of Eagles AFL Players.”


The Macleay Valley Eagles welcome new players, coaches, and volunteers for the 2016 season.

Follow this link for club contact details.