Goori Gulwadin - Indigenous games trail

Explore the Goori Gulwadin (meaning Indigenous trail) Indigenous games trail in C.B. Mott Park in Holland Park and learn about the games and activities played in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies.

Learn how to play the games in the Goori Gulwadin - Indigenous games trail.


The Kai game is from the Torres Strait Islands. Kai wed means ball playing. To play the game, split all players into at least two teams, stand in a circle at least 1.8 metres apart and keep the ball from hitting the ground using only the palms of your hands. Count how many times your team hits the ball into the air before it drops. To make the game more challenging, try to extend the circle out further or keep the ball in the air for longer by returning the ball at least one metre above head height.

You will need the following to play:

  • Players - a group of four to eight players
  • Equipment - a tennis ball, small beach ball, or a small soft ball.


This was a ball game played by the Kabi Kabi people of south Queensland. The game was played with a ball made of kangaroo skin, which was called a buroinjin.

The aim is for a player of one team to run as far as possible with the ball and cross over a line at the other end of the field. He or she attempts to do this without being touched by an opponent. Spectators used to mark their applause by calling out ‘Ei, ei’. To start the game, throw the ball into the air in the middle of the playing area. When a player is touched by an opponent, the ball is thrown into the air again for team players or opposing players to attempt to pick up.

You will need the following to play:

  • Players - two teams of six to eight players
  • Equipment - a soccer ball or small beach ball as the buroinjin. The middle of the court can be marked with leaves or sticks.


This game is based on a chasing game observed being played by Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory in more recent times.

To play the game a player who is called emu chases the other players around the playing area and when one is caught (touched) he or she becomes the new emu. ‘Home bases’ can be marked near each end of the playing area. Players may go to the home bases at any time but if the emu goes up to the base and counts to five, all players must leave. When a player remains at the base after the count of five, the player becomes the new emu. Play continues in this manner.

You will need the following to play:

  • Players - any number
  • Equipment - none required.


A favourite skipping rope game of the old men of the Juwalarai people of the Narran River in New South Wales was brambahl (skipping). Men of more than 70 years were often the best.

After skipping in the usual way for a few rounds, the player skipping can begin performing movement variations that express stories, animals or actions significant to their culture, heritage and way of life – use your imagination. Example performances include jumping like a frog, digging for larvae or ants, or appearing to be looking for something in the distance. The player with the most successful performance without pausing or stopping the game is considered the winner.

You will need the following to play:

  • Players - three or more
  • Equipment - a long skipping rope.


All traditional ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ games have been sourced from Yulunga - Traditional Indigenous Games (Australian Sports Commission, 2009) and used with the permission of the Australian Sports Commission.

The Australian Sport Commission and the Queensland Government acknowledges Ken Edwards for the extensive and thorough research undertaken to collate the Yulunga: Traditional Indigenous Games.

To create this resource, Ken Edwards with the assistance of Troy Meston reviewed almost every available account of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander games from all parts of Australia.

The Australian Sports Commission recognises the traditional owners of the games and activities that formed the basis of this resource. This resource is dedicated to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.