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The University of Queensland wins the 27th Indigenous Nationals presented by bp

UniSport Media Release

For release: 30 June 2023

After four days of amazing cultural experiences and wonderful competition across four sports, The University of Queensland has been crowned the winners of the 2023 Indigenous Nationals presented by bp. This year’s event was hosted by Monash University and the William Cooper Institute along with funding partner, the Victorian Government. The Indigenous Nationals is the largest Indigenous event for university students with over 500 students and staff involved in sport and cultural experiences across the week.

The 27th Indigenous Nationals organising committee respectfully acknowledges the people of the Kulin Nations, the traditional owners of the land of which the event took place and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

For the first time in the competitions history, The University of Queensland (UQ) has won the Indigenous Nationals title. UQ jumped ahead in the overall standings on the final day after a three-set nail biter against Griffith University in grand final of the volleyball competition. UQ produced good performances throughout the week and also claimed a silver medal in the Netball competition. Close behind UQ on the overall leaderboard were Australian Catholic University in second, and Queensland University of Technology in third.

Each team competed in four sports across the four days to determine the individual sport champions. Congratulations to the winners of each sport:

  • Charles Darwin University (CDU) – Basketball

  • Monash University (MON) – Netball

  • Australia Catholic University (ACU) – Touch Football

  • The University of Queensland (UQ) – Volleyball

During the week, most valuable players (MVPs) and spirit awards were allocated for each sport. The following student athletes were awarded:


  • Most Valuable Player - Denzel Kennedy (CDU)

  • Most Valuable Player - Kyiah O’Donohue (UWA)

  • Spirit Award - Sophia Mohamed Engelhardt (ANU)


  • Most Valuable Player - Natarni James (UON)

  • Spirit Award - Abbey Morcom (ACU)

  • Spirit Award - Adam Hennessy (BOND)


  • Most Valuable Player - Jackson Eckford (UON)

  • Spirit Award - Katie Bugden (SUT)

  • Spirit Award - Colby Sibosado (ECU)

  • Spirit Award - Bindi Shaw (UON)


  • Most Valuable Player - Abbie Pearson (GU)

  • Spirit Award - Abbie Pearson (GU)

The Spirit of Games title is awarded to the institution who consistently displays the values of the event throughout the week. This award is voted on by university team managers and UniSport event staff. Congratulations to Monash University who were awarded the Spirit of the Games title.

UniSport Australia CEO, Mark Sinderberry extended his appreciation to Monash University, Monash Sport, the William Cooper Institute and all partners for delivering a fantastic event. “The work that the entire university did to prepare for the event has set the benchmark for hosts moving forward when delivering Indigenous Nationals in the future. Congratulations to all Monash staff for their efforts” said Sinderberry.

Sinderberry also acknowledged and celebrated that this year’s event as the largest Indigenous Nationals ever and extended his congratulations to all participating teams, university sport and Indigenous departments who all worked together to ensure that all student-athletes have the best possible experience.

“The unique nature of the event makes this one of the highlights of the UniSport calendar. It brings together students from around Australia to connect to their culture, the land, their university, and each other through sport, which we know enhances their university experience. The friends they make at this event will be friends well beyond their time at university” commented Sinderberry.

Concluding comments from Jamil Tye, Director of the William Cooper Institute and a proud Yorta Yorta and Boon Wurruung man.

“We were delighted to welcome all First Nations participants, spectators and community members to the 27th Indigenous Nationals, this week at Monash University. The Indigenous Nationals provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talents and diverse cultures of Indigenous students from Monash, as well as those from universities and communities across Australia.”

“As outlined in our Strategic Plan, Impact 2030, Monash is strongly committed to fostering a society that recognises, respects and includes Indigenous peoples, cultures and knowledge by working with and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We see hosting this week- long event as a way to contribute to this commitment.”

“We share long-standing connections with many Indigenous communities throughout Australia and are extremely proud of the contributions we have made, and continue to make, with and for First Nations peoples. Well done to our two participating Monash teams and to all students for their efforts this week”.

All teams now travel home after building strong connections with their team and students from across Australia.

For more information on the Indigenous Nationals click here.

About Indigenous Nationals 

National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games (NITESG) began in 1996 as a joint class project between 13 students enrolled in a Diploma of Aboriginal Studies (Community Recreation) at the then Wollotuka School for Aboriginal Studies, The University of Newcastle.

Now referred to as Indigenous Nationals, the event is a week-long multisport competition for indigenous student-athletes. The annual event aims to bring together student-athletes from universities across Australia to compete in a variety of sports and crown one university team the champion of the games. Indigenous Nationals is an amazing environment to not only celebrate the rich sporting culture of indigenous Australia but to also acknowledge the heritage and history of the participating student-athletes. 

About UniSport 

UniSport Australia (UniSport) is the peak body for university sport in Australia. 42 universities are members of UniSport, representing a population of over one million students. UniSport’s ambition is to become an integral partner to Australian universities and to deliver an outstanding student experience at our national intervarsity competitions.  

More information on UniSport:  

For more information please contact: 

Kylie Bloodworth 

Marketing and Communications Manager 

Mobile: 0449 949 916 

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