• Welcome to Rumbalara

About the club

Rumbalara Football Netball Club is an Aboriginal community run sporting club located in Shepparton, Victoria.  It is dedicated to strengthening the community and bringing families together through strong vibrant leadership. It is a place of belonging, a place that people of all ages and backgrounds can call their own.

Like all country sporting clubs Rumbalara celebrates the history and passions that represent the uniqueness of its community. Rumbalara traces its history back to 1898 when Cumeragunja Football Club won its first premiership.

Since Rumbalara’s inclusion into the Central Goulburn Football League in 1997 the Rumbalara Football Netball Club has celebrated premiership success across its eight teams.

But the success of the club extends far beyond the sporting arena to improvements in the physical and emotional health, education and employment of Rumbalara’s members and their families.

Rumbalara has created an environment where Indigenous people, especially youth are inspired and encouraged to actively participate in sporting community that Rumbalara provides, as well as providing an opportunity to participate in the social and non-competitive aspects of this community.

Everyone is welcome at Rumbalara.

  • Rumbalara Football Netball Club

Our Vision

To be nationally recognised as the leading Aboriginal Sporting club for its success on and off the field and court, strong cultural identity, expression and celebration, and contribution to equal life opportunities for all Australians.

Our Story

For us history is not just a matter for books and archives; it is a living, oral tradition, connecting us to the past and sustaining our sense of who we are.

Our oral history is very strong. It is the history of our people, our own history as families, and our own personal identities. And as with other Aboriginal Communities, land plays a central role in identity.

The 1800s

FROM SURVIVAL TO VICTORY

The arrival of European settlers to the Murray Region in the 1830s devastated the indigenous population. Many of the Yorta Yorta people ended up at the Cummeragunja Mission on the banks of the Murray River.

At ‘Cummera’ the community played ‘Marn Grook’ – an aboriginal ball game but they quickly became proficient at the new Australian code. In 1898 the Cummera team won it’s first premiership in the district’s football league.

The 1800s
1920s – 1930s

THE CUMMERA WALK-OFF

Between 1921 and 1931 the Cummera team, known as ‘The Invincibles’, won six premierships in 11 seasons before being forced to withdraw from the league after a new rule was introduced banning players over the age of 25.

In 1939 after years living, according to one resident, under threat of the “the bullet the baton and the boot” roughly 200 residents left the mission in protest over living conditions. The Cummeraganja Walk-off was the first collective strike of its kind and a milestone in the Aboriginal struggle for rights.

1920s – 1930s
1940s

LIVING ON THE FLATS

Many of those who had left Cummera regrouped in a makeshift village known as The Flats on the Goulbourn River near Mooroopna. Football continued to play a big part in the community at the flats and, in 1946, they again fielded a team. In their first year the ‘All Blacks’ won the Grand Final of the Central Goulbourn Valley League’s second division. They were expelled from the league the following year.

1940s
1950s – 1980s

KEEPING IT TOGETHER

In the 1950s the community at the Flats was displaced again but a new generation of players kept the game alive within the community. The Rumbalara (Meaning ‘the end of the rainbow’) Football & Netball Club was established and they played matches whenever and wherever they could.

The club spent many years applying for inclusion in several of the local leagues without success.

1950s – 1980s
1990s

VINDICATION

In 1994, still awaiting acceptance, the club began building an oval and clubrooms in North Shepparton. When the Goulburn Valley Football League was restructured in 1997 Rumbalara was invited to join. In that year the B-Grade team took home the Netball Premiership.

In 1998 on the centenary of the first Grand Final win by the Cummera ‘Invincibles’ Rumbalara’s senior team once again won the Premiership.

 

1990s
2000s

BUILDING ON THE VICTORIES

Today the Rumbalara Football & Netball Club boasts six netball teams and has had players selected for state and national teams. Two former players have gone on to play in the AFL.

In addition the club has grown into a hub for the local community; assisting with programs that provide education, health, leadership and social support in conjunction with partner organisations across the region.

2000s
  • 20th Anniversary Documentary

This documentary was put together by Timmy Church films, it captures some great stories and memories celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Rumbalara Football Netball Club since it’s inception into a mainstream league. We are the descendants of the “Invincibles”, a fourth incarnation of a proud history of Aboriginal community social justice activism through sport. Rumbalara is the story of our people taking charge of our own destiny against huge opposition and succeeding against cultural bias. Our story is one of struggle, triumph, determination and strength; it is also a story that is far from over.

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players participated in the RFNC between 1997-2018
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players per year involved with the club
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volunteers involved with the club
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participants of club programs
VIC Governor General Unity Cup
  • Be a part of our story

Join the Gunugudhula Club

The Gunugudhula (Brolga) Club is a special category of membership for friends who are committed to making a real difference to the lives of people in the Goulburn Murray region and the Rumbalara community.

  • Recognised with your name on the Gunugudhula Board at the RFNC Social Rooms
  • An invitation to a luncheon with special guest speaker
  • An invitation to the annual Dungala Kaiela oration
  • An invitation to the Unity Cup
  • Free admission to all club social events
  • 2x social memberships
  • 2x Polo Shirts and Caps
  • Be a part of our story

Become a Sponsor

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