North Queensland Cowboys club anthem translated into Indigenous language, Guugu Yimithirr

The legendary theme song of the North Queensland Cowboys has been translated into an Indigenous language, with calls for other NRL clubs to follow suit.

Graeme Connors’ country music club anthem, The Cowboys Are My Team, has been belted out by North Queensland supporters during home-team wins since 1998.

It’s now been translated into Guugu Yimithirr by translator Lillian Bowen, the mother of club legend Matt Bowen.

“Translating the song was an obvious choice at this time,” Ms Bowen said.

Ms Bowen works at Pama Language Center in Hope Vale, an Indigenous community near Cape York in Far North Queensland.

“A lot of Cowboys players have come from Hope Vale, and many community members are Cowboys supporters,” she said.

“We wanted to put together a project, which would help people to get behind their team and also a project that supports local musicians.”

North Queensland club legend Matt Bowen is the most capped player in Cowboys history.(Getty Images: Ian Hitchcock:)

Song helps survival of Indigenous language

Ms Bowen said creating a tutorial video with guitar chords was a way for all Australians to appreciate Indigenous languages.

“In 2022, all of the languages ​​in Cape York are threatened,” she said.

“Projects like this are really important for awareness and support for our struggle to keep our language very strong.”

Calls to translate all NRL anthems

Matt Bowen with his mother on left and father on right on grass
Cowboys club legend Matt Bowen with parents Lillian and Richard.(Supplied: Lillian Bowen)

Ms Bowen said she wanted to incorporate the anthem into the NRL’s future Indigenous rounds.

“It would be great if all our NRL clubs could work with and support their local language centers to translate their team languages ​​into their own First Nations language,” she said.

“It can be part of the cultural activities on game day [in Indigenous round].”

“Our language is a very important part of who we are … our culture.

“It is an inheritance from our ancestors that we pass down to our children and our grandchildren.”

Ms Bowen said she received permission from the original artist, Mr Connors, to record the song.

The North Queensland Cowboys have been contacted for comment.


An Indigenous performer conducts a traditional smoking ceremony at the NRL match.
Lillian Bowen wants all NRL clubs to translate their anthems into their local First Nations language.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)


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