At a young age, Russell Abbott’s bedroom wall consisted of football clippings and posters of plants and animals found in national parks.
That’s when his fascination and devotion to sports’ and the Indigenous community began.
Now 51, Russell (aka Rusty) is a huge fan of the South Sydney rugby league club and its abundance of Indigenous players over the decades.
He also loves learning how the Indigenous have adopted a knowledge to ‘live off the land’ through the hundreds of plant species available in bushlands.
Despite not being Indigenous, Russell says he’s always been drawn to the culture.
“My parents are English. They came from Middlesbrough to Australia,” he said.
“I loved watching the television show Skippy as a kid. But I was more interested in the bush and seeing the Aboriginal corroborees’ in some episodes.
“That what was calling me. I wanted to know more about Aboriginal people. I wanted to know more about the plants and bush tucker.”
Recently, Rusty was the lead trainer in a Certificate III course in Land Management at Dharawel (Illawarra region) – an area known for its links to the Aboriginal community.
“This was a dream role for me. I had seven Indigenous students in the class and we all got on from the first minute. It worked really well,” he said.
“Some of the students had cousins and relatives of Rabbitohs (South Sydney) players too.”
While having an affiliation with soccer and other sports, Rusty thanks his happy childhood and beyond for his passion for the Rabbitohs.
“I was drawn to Redfern Oval as a kid, despite living on the other side of the city. The Indigenous players are amazing. I love their athleticism.”
For more information on Certificate III Land Management courses contact 1300 643484.