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Connecting, healing and belonging – our Aboriginal Gathering Place

Connecting, healing and belonging – our Aboriginal Gathering Place

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Establishing a Gathering Place in Whittlesea has been a key priority of the local Aboriginal community for more than 20 years.

The City of Whittlesea is working collaboratively with the Whittlesea Aboriginal Gathering Place Advisory Group (WAGPAG) to progress the Aboriginal Gathering Place in Quarry Hills Regional Park, South Morang.

What is an Aboriginal Gathering Place?

An Aboriginal Gathering Place is a welcoming, inclusive and culturally safe community centre where all Aboriginal people have a sense of belonging.

Research tells us Aboriginal Gathering Places improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people, as well as providing a range of benefits for non-Aboriginal people.

This is because the buildings and programs are designed to foster reconciliation and healing, with access to services that strengthen culture and enhance wellbeing. This includes opportunities for everyone to learn about, and celebrate Aboriginal culture through storytelling, knowledge-sharing, cultural events and structured programming.

The WAGPAG has contributed to the development of high-level concept plans that include meeting rooms, a large multipurpose space, kitchen, car parking as well as an outdoor gathering space.

What will an Aboriginal Gathering Place provide to the City of Whittlesea?

Aboriginal people living in the City of Whittlesea have limited access to culturally appropriate services that respond to their immediate and long-term needs. The 2021 census saw an increase in the municipality’s Aboriginal population by nearly 40 per cent. Although there are 13 Gathering Places in Victoria, there’s not many in Melbourne’s northern region, and the need for local services has grown along with the local population.

Through the creation of an Aboriginal Gathering Place our whole community will have an opportunity to learn about First Nations’ history and culture and become a stronger, more connected and united community as a result.

How do I find out more?

Council will be engaging with Traditional Owners and the community on the programming and activities on the site in early 2023. For more information about the Aboriginal Gathering Place, go to Aboriginal Gathering Place | Engage City of Whittlesea.