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.
- The club anthem has been translated into a language of First Nations people in Hope Vale in Far North Qld.
- The mother of Cowboys legend Matt Bowen translated the song into Guugu Yimithirr.
- Lillian Bowen hopes other NRL clubs can create Indigenous language versions of their club anthems.
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.”
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
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.