Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has voted in an extended and expanded lease for the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association, a Victorian healing centre for Stolen Generations survivors and families.

On Tuesday night, the Council voted unanimously to adopt the masterplan which will see the Willum Warrain site expand to twice its size.

The vote also secured the centre a three-decade lease for the site in Hastings.

“We are absolutely thrilled — we’ve known it was coming,” said Peter Aldenhoven, Executive Officer – Men’s Business of Willum Warrain.

“To get this concession is a complete validation of everything we’ve been doing here for seven years.

“We are helping mobs recover from the trauma of having their communities decimated — lost history, lost culture, lost family. And at the same time, preserving the local knowledge of those communities by educating the next generation.”

A gathering place for Aboriginal people affected by the Stolen Generations. Willum Warrain supports mob on their healing journey, supporting the healing of “broken Songlines, being off Country and away from kin”.

Sharing culture in community, Willum Warrain is seen as a place of Reconciliation.

The $5.7 million masterplan Willum Warrain provided to Council sees the expansion of several facilities.

Drafts sketches of Willum Warrain. Photo via Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association Facebook.

The organisation has prioritised expansion due to the estimation that in five years the facilities will welcome 10,000 visitors annually and host 3,000 members.

“Now that we have council permission, we can start to expand our site to meet the need,” said Karsten Poll, Willum Warrain Program Coordinator.

“We can now dream bigger.”

The organisation plans to fund the masterplan through government grants, donations and its social enterprises including the bush nursery and cultural tours.

Both the Willum Warrain Bush Nursery and the Cultural Immersion Tours are education programs developed in the interest of Reconciliation, being available for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous visitors.

Willum Warrain is currently the largest employer of Aboriginal people in the Mornington Peninsula.

Willum Warrain has established an online donation drive to support the growth of their organisation, it can be accessed here.

By Rachael Knowles