Founder, Wirrpanda Foundation
David Wirrpanda was born in Carlton, Victoria and was raised in Shepparton and Healesville, and prior to being drafted as a 16-year old, attended Worawa College, Victoria’s only Aboriginal college. His mother’s family had set up Worawa for young indigenous youth who were being missed by the net of education at mainstream schools.
David made his debut with West Coast in Round 5 of the 1996 AFL Season, at the age of 16 years, 268 days, and remains the Eagles’ youngest ever debutant. By the mid-2000s, Wirrpanda’s career started to get on track, and he became a consistent contributor for the Eagles, playing mainly as a small defender in the back pocket or half back flank. At the conclusion of Round 22, 2009, he had played in 227 of a possible 327 matches for the Eagles (including finals), and has scored 131 goals, averaging 16.6 disposals for his career.
Wirrpanda is also known for his community work in helping to improve the lives of young Indigenous Australians, first and foremost through the David Wirrpanda Foundation, which he launched in 2005 and is a Director. David was named the 9th most influential Aboriginal Australian by The Bulletin magazine in 2008. He also received the 2009 award for Young Western Australian of the Year. In September 2009, Wirrpanda announced his retirement citing he may be standing in the way of another younger playing being fast tracked within the club. After the birth of his son, Wirrpanda also expressed his desire to move on; citing fatherhood is the most important aspect of his life. In 2010 saw David undertake full time work in the Foundation that bears his name. In December Shannon and David welcomed a second son Eli.
David represented Western Australia’s in Ernst Young 2010 Social Entrepreneur of the Year. David was awarded the 2012 National NAIDOC Person of the Year. 2012 David was announced as a Board Member of Volta Mining Limited.