In a first for the sport, preparations have begun for next year’s Merlin Darwin Triple Crown to become the official Indigenous Round of the Supercars championship.
This year’s event will incorporate several elements of Aboriginal culture that will set a firm foundation for following years.
Most visible will be the inclusion of an Aboriginal artwork by Territory Larrakia artist Trent Lee.
He was commissioned to design a piece that resonates with the Hidden Valley track and the surrounding Larrakia land, sea and people. This will be the centrepiece of the Darwin Indigenous
Round and will be available for use by the Supercars teams moving forward.
In preparation for next year, all teams will be encouraged to work with Aboriginal artists from their region to design an artwork specifically for them.
Elements of each will be incorporated into the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown Aboriginal artwork, to form a national celebration of Australia’s Aboriginal cultures.
Another addition to this year’s Merlin Darwin Triple Crown was the Smoking Ceremony.
This took place at the official driver and rider signing at Darwin Waterfront on Thursday, 17 June.
This year’s event will also feature a televised Welcome to Country performance by Larrakia members of the community, which will take place on the grid.
Quotes from Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles
“The Territory’s strong Aboriginal culture sets us apart from the rest of Australia and, by weaving elements of it into such an iconic event as the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown, we hope to highlight and pay homage to this extremely special part of our heritage.
“This event has been naturally moving in this direction for some time. With the blessing of Larrakia Nation Traditional Owners of the region, and the support of Supercars and the teams, we’re committed to creating something meaningful for all involved as we work towards the launch of the official Supercars Indigenous Round in 2022.”
Quotes from Larrakia artist Trent Lee:
“I’m so proud to be involved in this year’s Merlin Darwin Triple Crown. Seeing local Aboriginal culture showcased through a massive event like this is fantastic, and I look forward to seeing what next year’s event brings as the official Supercars Indigenous Round.
“My artwork represents how sport brings people from all walks of life together. The snake is a track with the head placed at the hairpin bend, the most dangerous part. The clapsticks represent the different teams and the eggs symbolise all the people coming together to enjoy and celebrate the event.”
Quotes from Shane Howard, Supercars Chief Operating Officer:
“We are thrilled to be working with the Northern Territory Government and Northern Territory Major Events Company to acknowledge Darwin as the Indigenous Round of the Repco Supercars Championship.
“Through initiatives such as the Indigenous Round and programs such as Racing Together, we want to introduce Indigenous people to the event, our sport and the teams, and to work with the local community. This is a fantastic initiative and we look forward to returning for next year’s Indigenous Round at Hidden Valley.”
Quotes from Richard Fejo, Chairperson of Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation:
“We are thrilled to be a part of this year’s Merlin Darwin Triple Crown. To showcase our Aboriginal culture on the traditional lands of the Larrakia people is such an honour, not only for our people but for Aboriginal communities around Australia as we work towards creating an Indigenous Round for next year’s Supercars.
“This is an important step forward and it is a privilege to be part of something special that embraces Aboriginal culture and increases awareness and respect of our traditions and heritage.”