Mallee District Aboriginal Services
With offices in Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang and Robinvale, about 150 staff provide services for a potential client population of 5000 people in New South Wales and Victoria.
MDAS runs the Wiimpatja Healing Centre at Warrakoo Station, to the west of Mildura, which provides support, counselling and life skills for Indigenous men as an alternative to traditional incarceration.
MDAS is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people, and also to providing the leadership and co-operative spirit to break down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
MDAS’s logo comes from a design by local artist Sharon Kirby and symbolises the communities along the Murray River that MDAS services.
Njernda Aboriginal Corporation
Njernda Aboriginal Corporation’s purpose is to deliver community-controlled, holistic services and programs that improve the physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of the Aboriginal community of Echuca and surrounding areas.
Njernda, formerly the Echuca Aboriginal Cooperative, was established in 1974 by local Koori people fighting for recognition and self-determination.
Njernda provides services across a number of areas, including health, housing, childcare and family services. It runs the Yakapna Family Centre, the Baroona Healing Centre and a medical clinic.
Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association
Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association operates a Gathering Place in Hastings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living on the Mornington Peninsula. It is a place of hope and healing for the mob down there as well as being a place of belonging. It also provides charitable support for community members experiencing distress in their lives.
Willum Warrain is also a destination for reconciliation and invites members of the public to visit and learn about the Aboriginal peoples (and their diverse cultures) who live in the local region.
Willum Warrain runs a range of programs, events and activities targeting the Aboriginal community on the Peninsula, with an emphasis on cultural strengthening and community engagement.
Current programs include a Men’s Group (funded by Gandel Philanthropy), a Bush Playgroup and Community Gardening. A Women’s Healing Circle recommenced in April 2017 with a possum-skin cloak project.
Willum Warrain has celebrated a number of notable events so far in 2017, including their third birthday celebration on 25 March. Over 180 people attended the Gathering Place on a beautiful sunny day. The celebration began with a smoking ceremony, and during the BBQ, a pair of wedge-tailed eagles were seen circling overhead.
On 28 April a magnificent statue of Bunjil, creator spirit of the peoples of the Kulin nation, was unveiled at the entrance to the Gathering Place. The sculpture, made by local artist Paul Mutimer, was funded through the generosity of the George Hicks Foundation. The unveiling was attended by Federal Minister for Health and Sport, Greg Hunt.
A large crowd attended a recent Sorry Day event at Willum Warrain. It was a powerful and moving gathering with an important focus on triumph over trauma and the resilience of Aboriginal communities.
The following video was produced by the Department of Justice and Regulation for the 48th Aboriginal Justice Forum and features Willum Warrain’s beautiful Gathering Place on the Mornington Peninsula.
Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation
Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation is an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation providing services to the local Aboriginal communities in and around the south-western Victorian towns of Heywood, Hamilton and Portland – Gunditjmara country. Woor-Dungin has been engaged in partnership with Winda-Mara since 2014.
Winda-Mara is the largest employer of Aboriginal people in south-western Victoria and services hundreds of Aboriginal clients in areas including health, community services, family services and housing.
Winda-Mara also manages over 3,000 hectares of Aboriginal-owned land spanning over ten properties, all of which are considered culturally significant to the local people. The Land Management Unit is responsible for all on-ground activities on all the properties, including cultural site protection, weed and pest control, facilities maintenance and revegetation.
The unit deliver its services through the Budj Bim Rangers, a mix of experienced hands and young people learning about land management through Winda-Mara’s Caring for Country and Working on Country programs.
The properties form part of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, a site of ancient settlement featuring the remains of permanent houses, fish-traps, channels and weirs for growing and harvesting eels built by Gunditjmara people around 6,600 years ago. The area was nominated earlier this year by the federal government for inclusion on Australia’s World Heritage Tentative List, which means Budj Bim is now a step closer to becoming a UNESCO World Heritage area. In April this year, in further recognition of the importance of the area to Gunditjmara, the Victorian government changed the name of Mt Eccles National Park to Budj Bim National Park, encompassing the Cultural Landscape area.
Winda-Mara staff, as well as chairperson Ros Pevitt, regularly take part in Woor-Dungin’s Income Generation and Resources Group workshops, where staff and board members of our Aboriginal partners meet representatives of philanthropic organisations and pro bono service providers. In addition, Winda-Mara CEO Michael Bell convenes the Criminal Record Discrimination Project, while HR manager Sherree Chaudhry is a member of the ‘Supporting Aboriginal employment: rethinking the role of criminal record checks’ Advisory Committee.
Click here to download Winda-Mara’s 2015-16 Annual Report.