Austin Wonaeamirri is an Indigenous (Tiwi) Australian Rules football player. He currently plays for the Melbourne Demons Football Club in the Australian Football League. Wonaeamirri was born and grew up on the Tiwi Islands in the remote community of Snake Bay (Milikapiti) on Melville Island. He began playing football at the age of six and as a junior, he played in the Tiwi Islands Football League. He lost his mother at the age of 12 and was brought up by his father, Matthew.
Wonaeamirri played senior football in both the TIFL and the Northern Territory Football League in Darwin in the Northern Territory, where he was a junior star for the St Marys Football Club. He was named in the inaugural list of the Tiwi Bombers, as one of their youngest stars. He was a solid contributor for the Bombers during the record thrashing of Rumbalara Football Club in their historic encounter at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a curtainraiser to the "Dreamtime at the 'G" match between the Essendon Bombers and Richmond Tigers.
After being overlooked in the 2006 AFL Draft, Wonaeamirri moved to Adelaide in South
Australia to play in the SANFL for the Norwood Football Club to increase his chances of
being drafted from a more competitive league. That year he represented Australia's
indigenous youth on tour to South Africa with the "Flying Boomerangs" to play against the South Africa's Buffaloes. After a solid season with Norwood, he nominated for the AFL Draft later that year.
After strong performances in the 2007 AFL National Under 18 Championships for the
Northern Territory where he was voted the Territory's best player at the tournament, he
attracted the interest of talent scouts.
Austin Wonaeamirri likes to return to his home in Tiwi Islands as much as possible. In
his freetime, he enjoys talking to locals in the community, seeing friends and making
stews. But it is his passion for hunting sea turtles including Flatback Turtle that has
inspired his nickname Austin 'Turtle' Wonaeamirri within football circles.
The Melbourne Football Club on Austin Wonaeamirri