THE CARLTON Football Club is proud to launch its 2023 AFL Indigenous guernsey which will be worn in this year’s Sir Doug Nicholls Rounds. 

The guernsey reflects traditional Tiwi culture representing the Kulama Ceremony, Pamajini (arm bands) and spear and has been designed by proud Tiwi woman Russellina ‘Russy’ Puruntatameri. 


Puruntatameri developed her artistic skills from her family back home, where she grew up at Pirlangimpi Garden point, at the Munupi Arts Centre, by watching and listening to their stories.  

The Kulama Ceremony is an annual celebration of life and an important ritual for young men. It consists of three days and three nights of ritual body paintings, singing and dancing which happens towards the end of the wet season when a ring appears around the moon. 

The circular shapes on the guernsey represent the ceremonial dancing ground, an important ceremony in the Tiwi community that symbolises good health, hunting and initiation.   

Puruntatameri wanted to showcase the strength and resilience of the Tiwi women through illustrating a Numwariyaka (spear) and Pamajini (arm bands) which sit proudly across the front. The arm bands are woven from pandanus and are an important part of Tiwi ceremony.  

For the first time, the guernsey will be worn by both the AFL and AFLW teams this year.   

Carlton will wear the Indigenous guernsey across two games, in their matches against Collingwood and Sydney during the Sir Doug Nicholls Rounds.  

Russellina Puruntatameri was honoured to be asked to design the 2023 Indigenous guernsey and draw on the history of her culture.  

“It was so exciting to be asked to design the Indigenous guernsey for Carlton for this year. The brief was to focus on a story that has been practiced and painted for thousands and thousands of years,” Puruntatameri said.  

“I thought the Kulama Ceremony in combination with key elements of women’s business was the perfect fit as it will be worn by players from both AFL and AFLW.  

“I am proud to have created something that both the players and supporters who wear the guernsey can connect directly with and learn about the historic and continuing cultural practices of the Tiwi Islands.” 

Carlton CEO Brian Cook said the Club was proud to wear a guernsey that holds a significant meaning in the Sir Doug Nicholls Round games.  

“It is a privilege to debut this guernsey in two very important games, the first against our rivals Collingwood in a sold-out clash and the second against Sydney in the annual Marn Grook game,” Cook said. 

“This year will also mark the first in the Club's history where both our AFL and AFLW teams will wear the same guernsey and we thank Russellina for the meaningful design which encapsulates both teams so well.    

“We look forward to celebrating Indigenous culture and its contribution to the Club and the game over the coming weeks.”