After months of delays, the WA Government has finally confirmed July 6 as the date to reveal the Nicky Winmar statute at the at Optus Stadium in Perth.
The bronze statue depicts the Noongar player in his iconic stance against racism when Winmar lifted his St Kilda guernsey and pointed at his skin to declare, “I'm black and I’m proud to be black.”
"I hope this statue encourages more conversations and education about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture," Mr Winmar said in a statement.
"It's a surreal thing to be a part of and it's something my family are very proud of."
Winmar is a proud Noongar man and played for South Fremantle in the West Australian Football League. Though he didn’t play for a West Australian ALF club during his professional playing career, Winmar was committed to giving back to his community and will be honoured with the statue on Noongar country.
West Australian Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ben Wyatt, said Nicky Winmar was a trailblazer on the football field.
“Nicky's actions that day have inspired countless other young people both in sport and in life to stand up and be proud of yourself and your heritage," Minister Wyatt said in a statement.
The unveiling of the statue will take place before the Western Derby and will also mark the beginning of NAIDOC Week.
The plans to have a statue dedicated to Mr Winmar was announced in February last year, ahead of the 25th anniversary of Winmar’s iconic stance. The AFL also threw its organisational and financial support behind the project.
The idea was hatched by fans who set up a crowd-funding page. Supporters pledged more than $15,000 for the campaign.
Melbourne-based sculptor Louis Laumen created the statue and dusted off the finishing touches nine months ago.
Last month, he told The West Australian it was an “insult” to have the statue collecting dust in a Melbourne storage facility.
“My understanding is that he [Winmar] is a little disappointed by this,” he said.
“After winding him up to say what a great honour this is (to have the sculpture made) and then to say ‘We don’t know what to do with it. We’ll just keep it in storage until we work something out — one day’.
After debating over who would be paying for the transport of the life sized statue, yesterday the WA government confirmed statue will now be sent over in coming weeks, free of charge.
The statue will be installed in a prominent south-western section of the Stadium Parklands, on an area of lawn between the Swan River and the stadium.
Winmar’s former team, St Kilda, aren’t expected to be back in Perth for the rest of the Premiership season.