An extraordinary mural marking the 20th anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation has been unveiled in downtown Collingwood.
The mural showcases 20 years of advancement and achievement in Victorian Aboriginal health and represents Aboriginal cultures, families and communities. It is the work of three indigenous artists – Ray Thomas, Kulan Barney and Ruby Kulla Kulla – in collaboration with international street artist Adnate.
Since opening its doors on 16th April 1996, VACCHO has been striving to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, ensuring Aboriginal Victoria has a loud and clear voice on health issues that affect many Indigenous people living in Melbourne. VACCHO’s building provides Aboriginal people with a sense of permanency and identity.
VACCHO CEO, Jill Gallagher, AO, says VACCHO embodied 20 years of knowledge and history in the Aboriginal community controlled sector.
“I believe the mural and its imagery is a beautiful representation and demonstration of VACCHO’s road from our past and our directions going into the future,” she said.
Kulan Barney, one of the three Aboriginal artists involved in the creation, believes that it is important to encourage Aboriginal art in such a way, especially in urban areas and the city.
“We want our mob, our families, and our children to feel connected, proud, inspired and empowered by this mural,” he said.
“We know that when Aboriginal people are strong in their culture, when culture can be seen and experienced, our mob stay connected, strong, happy and healthy.”
It was a busy day of celebrations for VACCHO, which also saw 123 students from the VACCHO Education and Training Unit (ETU) graduate.
“As we reflect on and celebrate 20 years in Aboriginal health, VACCHO’s vision is realised through the graduating students” said Ms Gallagher.
“Aboriginal people will have a high quality of health and wellbeing, enabling individuals, families and communities to reach their full potential in life because of them and the work they do. “
Since it became a Registered Training Organisation in 2000, VACCHO’s RTO has grown to a point where it offers a number of accredited training programs, ranging from Certificate II entry level Health Worker Training to Diploma level courses in Counselling and Management.
“In looking to the future, VACCHO’s Education and Training Unit will continue to adjust the Scope of Registration to ensure we are responsive to workforce development needs,” she said.