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Kym on a quest for the Yalata

Tony De Bolfo, Carlton Media  January 24, 2017 5:16 PM

Kym LeBois highlights Watch some of new Blue Kym LeBois' highlights.

Just on 12 months ago, a bronze sculpture in the form of a ‘piti’ (dish) cradled by the branches of a local ‘cadja’ tree was gifted to the people of Nagasaki by members of an Indigenous community in South Australia’s remote west. 

Kym Lebois’ people.

The sculpture, which now finds its place with the internationally renowned collection of artworks from various corners of the globe, was crafted in Yalata – 200 kilometres west of Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight - and handed from one atomic survivor to another.

For the record, the word ‘piti’ is part of the vernacular of the Anangu - the people who experienced British nuclear testing at Maralinga in the 1950s, were displaced from their lands, and to this day still live with the traumas.

Amongst those representing the Yalata in the delegation to Japan was Maralinga Tjarrutja Council Chairman Jeremy Lebois, a member of Kym’s kinfolk.

Kym, Carlton’s recently-drafted rookie, is mindful of the tragic tale of Maralinga, the South Australian desert locale where Britain conducted nuclear tests over an eight-year period from 1956. He also knows that his grandfather the late Richard Lebois was a champion of the cause of native title, and amongst the Maralinga elders who reclaimed their 3000-square-kilometre parcel of land a little over 30 years ago.

“I know that my grandfather had a lot to do with Maralinga when he was alive,” Kym said in a welcome break between training sessions at Carlton recently. 

“I’m not exactly sure of the role that he played, but I do know that he had quite a lot to do with the Maralinga community over there, particularly after the nuclear testing. He was very well-respected in the community back home, he had a good name and he had real character.”

AFL 2016 Training - Carlton 091216
Kym Lebois hits the track. (Photo: AFL Media)

The South Australian town of Ceduna, whose football club according to Kym is “one of the oldest in Australia”, is a long way from North Carlton and the club which took him with its fifth selection in 2016. But the new Blue, who most recently furthered his football development with North Adelaide, is readying himself for year one in the big time - and he can’t talk highly enough of the welcoming environment to which he’s been exposed at Carlton, the added presence of indigenous hopefuls Sammy Petrevski-Seton and Jarrod Pickett, and the steadying influence of Andrew Walker. 

@walkytalky1 imparts his knowledge on @jarrodpickett33 and @kym_leboisss. #BoundByBlue

A photo posted by Carlton Football Club (@carlton_fc) on

Kym’s family ties with the Daveys and the Wanganeens have been well-documented, and in Aaron Davey the fleet-of-foot forward has also found a trusted sounding board.

“I’ve caught up with Uncle Aaron a few times . . . he’s told me to get my body right and always check in with the physios, particularly with any sore spots,” Kym said. 

“He’s also told me to use my speed on the field – and that’s what I’ve been working on.”

Kym recalls turning out for an A grade game at Ceduna at just 13. He also remembers slotting four in a match despite playing with a busted hand. 

He has a genuine confidence in his own ability, but it’s kept in check by the immediate task of getting his body right for the rigours of this uncompromising AFL game.

As he said: “Right now I’m just trying to make sure there’s no sore spots and earn respect on the training track from the guys by training hard and trying to be the best small forward I can be”. 

A lefty like Davey, Kym conceded players from rival outfits have likened his movements to Uncle Aaron – and as far as genuine pace is concerned, Kym is in no doubt.

“I reckon I’m a bit quicker than Uncle Aaron,” he said with a wink and a nod.