Going to the Footy

Going to the Footy

Boats and Barges

This book is perfect for young kids who want to learn all about this much-loved pastime and different modes of transport, not to mention their exposure to the Indigenous culture which is so important.

Debbie Coombes is the daughter of Florence Puruntatameri-Coombes and Graeme Coombes. Her mother is a Tiwi woman from Pirlangimpi Community on Melville Island. Her father originated from Queenstown, New Zealand but married Florence as a young man and called Pirlangimpi home for over 30 years. He raised Debbie and her siblings (including sister and fellow artist, Karina Coombes) on the islands. Debbie lived and worked in Darwin for over four years, returning home to live in the Tiwi Islands in 2011. From this point Debbie painted under the direction of her grandfather, Justin Puruntatameri and her mother, Florence (Justin's eldest daughter). Justin was able to give Debbie invaluable advice on what she could correctly portray as defined by her Tiwi family ties. Debbie is now well known in artistic circles for her joyful depictions of Tiwi life in figurative forms, for instance, people travelling by cars and canoes of all shapes and sizes to the football: a huge part of contemporary Tiwi lifestyle.

Going to the Footy
Magabala Books
Author: Debbie Coombes

Interview with Debbie Coombes

Question: What inspired you to write "Going to the Footy"?

Debbie Coombes: The fact that I live in a small community with a population of approximately 371. I thought if I can be an author from this little community, I can inspire the little children that no matter where you live, you can achieve anything in life. So I believe the children inspired me to write this book so I hope I can now inspire them and many children across our nation and globally not only to become authors one day but to achieve what they are passionate about in life.


Question: How have you included exposure to Indigenous culture in Going to the Footy?

Debbie Coombes: My designs on the various modes of transports are all Tiwi designs and exposing my indigenous culture in that way. The fact that Tiwi's live and breathe art and footy is huge and is a part of our way of life. Anyone who may have travelled to witness a Tiwi Islands Grand Final will tell you that it is a packed day of footy arts sales and the big game itself.


Question: Which team/s do you support in the football?

Debbie Coombes: I support: Imalu Tigers in the AFL Tiwi Islands, St Mary's Football Club in the AFLNT and have a soft spot for the Tiwi Bombers and Essendon Football Club in the AFL.


Question: What do message do you hope readers take from Going to the Footy?

Debbie Coombes: I hope the messages the readers take from this book is more than Going to the Footy. There is messages about the transport safety, wearing seatbelts, helmets, life jackets and about family wellbeing and the importance of spending time with families and friends, being happy and having so much fun together.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

Going to the Footy 
Magabala Books
Author: Debbie Coombes




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