The Little Long Walk proudly comes to Essendon Fields.

To celebrate NAIDOC Week, Essendon Fields hosted a Little Long Walk on Thursday 7 July. An estimated 120 people came together to raise money for the Long Walk Foundation, a fantastic organisation started by AFL football legend Michael Long in support of Indigenous education programs across the country.

In 2004 Michael Long made the decision to walk from his home in Melbourne to Parliament House in Canberra to draw attention to plight of the Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander community in Australia.

The Little Long Walk, which will now be an annual event, provided participants with an opportunity to acknowledge the traditional owners on which Essendon Fields now stands – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

Special guests at the Little Long Walk included The Long Walk Foundation’s GM Leanne Brooke, Wurundjeri elder Aunty Di who has made a life-long contribution to her community in the areas of health, welfare, education and land rights in the area, The Hon. Ben Carroll, State MP for Niddrie and Minister for Public Transport and Roads and Road Safety and many members of the Essendon Fields community.

The Little Long Walk, which took place along a safe route around the Essendon Fields precinct, was followed by a celebration BBQ kindly sponsored by LaManna Melbourne. Community members and tenants of Essendon Fields were able to dive into their choice of a BBQ beef sausage in Davies Bakery bread with caramelised onions and sauce, or a veggie pattie with slaw in Davies Bakery bread. Participants also received a limited edition event scarf to remember the special event by.

Essendon Fields was particularly proud to host their first ever Little Long Walk and commit to it being an annual fund raising and community education event. In the lead up to its centenary last year, Essendon Fields engaged with the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Corporation to better understand its Indigenous past and for more information of what we could do to provide opportunities to support and educate in the future.

“The Little Long Walk is the perfect metaphor for where our organization is at in its journey in understanding and respecting the history of Essendon Fields and the culture of the First Nations People that have looked after this land for a lot longer than the 100 years that an airport has been here,” said Brendan Pihan, CEO of Essendon Fields, who also proudly participated in the walk.

“We are taking our first steps. And we do that humbly, with open minds, and open hearts.”

Among those participating in the walk were a significant contingent of employees from Essendon Fields, LaManna Melbourne, Linfox, Wilson Security, Blinkr, BMW and Hyatt Place Melbourne.

“This important event would not have been possible without the support of the Long Walk Foundation, Blu Event Productions and LaManna Melbourne and we all thank them all for their contribution,’’ said Mr Pihan.

A number of local families, and representatives of local sporting clubs like Airport West Football Club and the Essendon Baseball Club, also purchased tickets to the event so they could support the Long Walk Foundation and celebrate Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander culture in the region.

Essendon Fields respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.