Football Queensland is delighted to feature Josh Fearn from the Lakes FC as the first NAIDOC Week Hero of Change for 2022.
Fearn was nominated for his role as Club Captain and Indigenous Ambassador at The Lakes FC where he is described as being “at the forefront of bringing together community and culture.”
“This means so much to me in trying to make change in our community and especially in trying to close the gap around reconciliation as an Indigenous person,” Fearn said.
“I’ve never wanted to win any accolades but if I can promote awareness, that’s my goal and vision.”
Representing the Awabakal people from Newcastle in New South Wales, Fearn first joined The Lakes FC four years ago and began educating club members on Indigenous culture.
Since then, the acknowledgment and celebration of Indigenous culture has expanded throughout the club.
“Now it’s driven a lot from our committee members and non-Indigenous committee members which is really good, so they’re really driven and really passionate about it.”
As part of NAIDOC Week this year, Fearn and fellow club Indigenous Ambassador Daniel Fogarty have held multiple educational sessions for The Lakes FC members.
“We educate our young kids at the club and have been doing cultural programs in the lead up to July 9 this year,” he explained.
“We did a big cultural event for our Men’s and Women’s teams where they asked questions and Daniel and I answered them.
“I asked them a lot about our culture and a lot of them didn’t know, which is fine. That’s why we do these events at the club, so we can educate them.
“Some people don’t know the difference between an Acknowledgement and Welcome to Country so it was just stuff like that in educating our coaching staff and committee members, so that they can share that with their families and people that they work with.”
In addition to their work with The Lakes FC, both Fearn and Fogarty also represent the Australian Indigenousroos team.
“That’s really important to us as it gives a vision for our Indigenous young people something to look forward to,” Fearn explained.
“It gives the young people a goal and we want them to achieve those goals.”
Fearn recognised the importance of NAIDOC Week and the opportunity it provides to amplify the achievements of First Nations people.
“NAIDOC Week showcases the wonderful contributions we need to celebrate for our people.”
He also encouraged others to get involved and learn from other Indigenous representatives who are driving change within their communities.
“There’s so many great representatives like Kirrily Phillips [Peninsula Power and Indigenous Koalas player], Ramone Close [Founder of the Australian Indigenous Football Championships] and Damian Munday [CEO of Queensland Indigenous Football],” he said.
“It’s just growing and growing and I’m learning from my elders from back home to bring that vision up here [in Queensland].
“For me, it’s easy to do, because I have great people around me as well to be supportive.”