The purpose of the Koling wada-ngal (Walking together) Committee, as outlined in its Terms of reference, is to engage in an equal partnership with the Wyndham Aboriginal community and key stakeholders to work towards providing a culturally safe Aboriginal Community Centre.
The Committee consists of Aboriginal community members and was established from a recommendation that came from the Wyndham Aboriginal Forum that was held in November 2013. This forum was a direct response to the Aboriginal community, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO’s) and government agencies meeting held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre in May 2013 where the community representatives all agreed that Aboriginal Community Hubs* should be established in Footscray, Melton and Wyndham.
Members of the Koling wada-ngal Committee understand the need expressed by local Aboriginal community members for a space there they can gather, connect, share, create, grow, learn and be safe. A space that will not try to be all things for all people, but will endeavour to encourage all Aboriginal community members to have a voice in what an Aboriginal Community Centre will be. We hope that you share our excitement in providing an Aboriginal Community Centre in Wyndham and come and join us once it is opened.
The Koling wada-ngal (Walking together) Space at the Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Centre
In 2014, Wyndham City successfully applied for a state government Community Infrastructure Planning Grant on behalf of the then named WACCC (Wyndham Aboriginal Community Centre Committee) to investigate and establish an Aboriginal Community Centre within the Wyndham municipality. The new building is almost complete, Council and the Committee have achieved significant outcomes since the commencement of their journey that includes:
- Engagement of an Aboriginal consultant to complete relevant establishment reports.
- Successful grant from State Government for $1.5 million to build the Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Centre.
- Wyndham City matching the State Government funding through a contribution of $1.5 million.
- Establishment of the Governance and Operations Groups.
- Successful grant from DHHS Neighbourhood House Coordination Program for ongoing funding.
- Employment of two Aboriginal staff to facilitate programs in the Centre.
Wyndham City and the newly named Koling wada-ngal Committee have been working closely with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to agree on naming across the Centre. This important relationship will continue to be fostered and maintained across the life of the Centre.
Vision for the Koling wada-ngal Space
The agreed vision for the Koling wada-ngal space at the Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Centre is “An Aboriginal Home in Aboriginal Hands”. This vision supports the Koling wada-ngal Committee’s intent that the space will be a culturally safe place for strengthening community and cultural development and connections, and facilitating improved coordination and engagement of services and programs for Aboriginal people in the west of Melbourne.
*When mentioning Hubs or Centres the word Aboriginal encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.