NMA collection record

Coogee Dolphins commemorative rugby league jersey, 2003


This is a yellow and blue Coogee Dolphins commemorative rugby league jersey from the World Sevens tournament held in the summer of 2003. It is signed by rugby league stars and relatives of the Coogee Dolphins rugby league club who died in the Bali bombings on 12 October 2002.

Educational value

Late on the evening of Saturday 12 October 2002, two bombs exploded in the crowded Paddy's Bar and the Sari nightclub on Jalan Legian, Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia. The bombings killed 202 people from more than 20 nationalities. Mostly Western tourists, they included 88 Australians. Many Indonesians who had been working in Paddy's Bar were also killed. Dozens of other people were injured, some seriously.

The Coogee Dolphins RFL Club were one of the many football teams celebrating the end of the 2002 season in Kuta Beach, Bali, when the explosions in the Sari Night Club and Paddy's Bar killed six of their players. The fate of football teams and players became a particular focus for national grieving. In the shock of the killings, the behaviour of all the victims, but in particular the mateship and camaraderie shown by members of sports teams, provided inspiration for those at home. The response of the Coogee Dolphins in Sydney focused on commemorative matches in the Rugby Sevens international tournament and the re-naming of the northern headland at Coogee beach as 'Dolphin's Point'. In such ways Australian football teams became the focus for an unprecedented period of national mourning.

The bombings were brought about by Islamic militants, members of the Jemaah Islamiah group, which aims to create a regional caliphate or Islamic state in South-East Asia. Some of the men arrested over the bombings stated that their motive had been to kill as many Americans as possible in revenge for perceived US oppression of Muslims worldwide.

For many, this event seemed to bring home the immediacy of global terrorism. The Bali bombings came 13 months after the attacks by the al-Qaeda network in the United States on 11 September 2001. The US attacks had prompted an extensive and continuing counter-terrorism campaign by Western countries, including Australia. An Australian Government inquiry in 2004, however, concluded that the intelligence agencies of Australia and other countries had been slow to realise the emerging threat posed by the Jemaah Islamiah within the region.

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