THE Australia week celebrations kicked off yesterday with the league of legends exhibition of rugby league heroes in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish reportedly claimed that Australia week showcases Australia to the people of Papua New Guinea and celebrates the strong ties between the two countries.
Kemish was speaking at the official launch of the Australian High Commission’s fourth annual Australia week celebrations at its premises in Port Moresby.
The launch was attended by a large number of Government, private sector and diplomatic representatives.
During the launch the League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia exhibition, was officially opened by the Minister for Sports and State Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Constitutional Affairs, Philemon Embel.
Australia week activities started yesterday and will continue till Sunday, highlighting the strength of the relationship between Australia and PNG and promote a better understanding of Australia in PNG.
“Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is, by any measure, one of our most important.
“Australia week is about celebrating that relationship as neighbours and as friends,” Kemish said.
The League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia exhibition includes 67 framed images and photographs documenting the history of rugby league in Australia from 1907 to 2008.
Among the images are Papua New Guinea internationals Marcus Bai and Stanley Gene.
“Australia and Papua New Guinea’s sporting relationship has always been a strong one.
“Rugby league in particular is a game watched and loved by millions of Australians and Papua New Guineans,” Embel said yesterday.
“Papua New Guinea’s strong presence in these stories is proof of the talent and passion for rugby league that Papua New Guineans share with Australians.
“I am glad that the exhibition recognises Papua New Guinea’s contribution to rugby league, and hope that Papua New Guinea can further contribute to the great game by fielding a team in the National Rugby League (NRL) competition in the future,” he said.
The exhibition, which also displays the iconic Winfield State of Origin Shield (1980-1991), is open to the public until April 9.