, from the Woiwurung
language for "ball" or "game", is a collective name given the traditional Indigenous Australian
football game played at gatherings and celebrations of sometimes more than 100 players.
Marn Grook featured punt kicking
and catching a stuffed ball. It involved large numbers of players, and games were played over an extremely large area. The game was not played tribe versus tribe. All tribes consisted of two halves (moieties
) most often represented by the totemic
symbols of Black Cockatoo
and White Cockatoo
. The tribes would therefore merge and divide themselves into the two teams based on the moiety totems. The game was subject to strict behavioural protocols and for instance all players had to be matched for size, gender and skin group relationship. However, to observers the game appeared to lack a team objective, having no real rules, or scoring. A winner could only be declared if one of the sides agreed that the other side had played better. Individual players who consistently exhibited outstanding skills, such as leaping high over others to catch the ball, were often praised, but proficiency in the sport gave them no tribal influence. Read more...