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Indigenous design winners announced by Heart Foundation Walking
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Indigenous design winners announced by Heart Foundation Walking

Media Release - 15 April 2020

“The colours represent the Torres Strait Islands. The blue wavy lines represent the ocean. The flag represents the Torres Strait people. The hand represents the strength and courage of the Torres Strait people.”

This is how 17-year-old Veronica Hughson, one of two winners in Heart Foundation Walking’s inaugural Indigenous polo-shirt design competition, describes her eye-catching entry.

Heart Foundation Walking launched the competition in January this year as a way to engage with Australians who identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background. These groups are at higher risk of heart disease than other Australians.

The Heart Foundation invited about 80 Indigenous councils, schools, organisations and communities across the country to take part in the competition.

Entrants were asked to create designs that portrayed connection to community, health, equity, the Heart Foundation and walking. There were two categories – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – with participants entering according to which background they are more strongly influenced by. They were also encouraged to submit a meaningful story about their designs. 

Veronica Hughson took out the Torres Strait Islander category, with her striking blue, green and white design. Veronica lives in the northern Queensland town of Aloomba. She is a student at Djarragun College in Gordonvale, which is about 24 kilometres south of Cairns.

Fellow Djarragun College student Nadia Lewis, 18, won the Aboriginal category. Nadia is a boarder at the college, but hails from Amata – an Aboriginal community in the far north-west of South Australia, about 115 kilometres south of Uluru. Nadia’s beautiful design was inspired by her Dream Time story.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest network of free walking groups*. It has more than 1,100 groups nationwide, including 26 groups specifically for people from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

The winning designs will be printed onto polo shirts for our volunteer Walk Organisers who identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. Eventually, the shirts will also be for sale in the Heart Foundation shop.

As the competition winners, Veronica and Nadia will each receive a shirt printed with their design, along with a prize valued at $100.

Heart Foundation Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, said the judges were amazed by the creativity, imagination and artistic skill represented in the 25 competition entries.

“It made selecting the winners very challenging,” Professor Shilton said. “We hope to run the competition again and look forward to seeing many more wonderful shirt designs.”

Professor Shilton added that heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia, with Indigenous Australians dying at around double the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.

“Physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease. This competition is part of our ongoing strategy to raise awareness of the importance of reducing risk of heart disease in Indigenous communities across Australia, and encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve their heart health through walking.”

Heart Foundation Walking is supported by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government.

 *All Heart Foundation Walking groups are currently on hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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