Fancy a spot of Birray or Brambahl?

They say that variety is the spice of life and this rule can certainly apply if you are finding it hard to stay motivated with your exercise routine. Often all it takes is a change of scenery, but sometimes you may need something larger to shake you out of a rut.


In a previous edition of Healthy U, we profiled exercises from around the globe. In this edition we're focusing on alternate ways to mover your body that have originated much closer to home.


Movement and play are an integral part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. The following games have been played throughout history and in some instances are still played today. So next time you're lacking exercise motivation, grab some friends and give some traditional games a go!  


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Birray (bir-ray)

This game involves the chaser (birray) to tag or touch other players. The birray (march-fly) will need to shut their eyes or be blindfolded while running around to tag another player in the group. Once the birray tags another person, they need to make an unpleasant noise (such as an insect buzz) near the ear of the player caught and give them a pretend pinch (representing the sting of the insect). Once a player is caught they will then become the new birray and the game goes on.


Boomerang (boom-er-ang)

In many parts of Australia, boomerang throwing was a popular activity with many Aboriginal groups. It can be frustrating trying to make the boomerang come back, but the more you practice your skills with the boomerang, you will be the envy of your family or friends. Just a little safety tip to share... it is a good idea not to take your eyes off the boomerang - even think about having a 'watcher' to keep an eye on where the boomerang is travelling.


Brambahl (br-am-bahl)

This skipping game was a favourite for old men of the Juwalarai people of the Narran River in New South Wales. The best players of brambahl (skipping) were often men aged over 70 years old. For this game you will need a skipping rope with two players on each end to turn the rope. A player will enter the swinging rope as the 'skipper'.  The skipper can perform various activities such as jumping like a frog, grinding grass seed or even digging for yams with a digging stick.


Bondi (bon-di)

Bondi was named after the Bondi area in Sydney from the 1800s. It was a popular swimming stroke which was even at the 1896 Olympic Games. This activity requires players to swim on their side while doing a side stroke motion. There should be only one shoulder out the water and the other shoulder underneath. A great game to play and race one another in the water.


So why not mix up your exercise routine? You don't need big bucks or fancy equipment, just your imagination!


Editor's note and acknowledgement:  All information for this article was obtained from the Australian Sports Commission Yulunga Tradition Indigenous Games document.  For further details on Traditional Indigenous Games click here.