Board members, elders, community, staff and public attended VAHS 50th Anniversary Memorial Event held at Charcoal Lane due to rain forcing it to be moved from Atherton Gardens. Community came despite the weather all paying tribute to this iconic organisation that has served mob over all these years.
MC for the day was Gavin Brown…Smoking ceremony was conducted by Uncle Darryl Smith with speeches by Chair Tony McCartney and Anniversary committee co-chairs: Alan Brown and Shelly Williams. Tony McCartney also performed the Welcome to Country.
Patrons: Aunty Alma Thorpe, Daryl Smith Lynette Briggs Susan Hedges. Uncle Kutcha Edwards.
Music and stories followed with Uncle Herb Patten and Uncle Kutcha Edwards entertaining those gathered much to the delight of all. Ending our day was a great BBQ with plenty for all to eat. 3KND attended…..connecting community.
This year the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) celebrates 50 years of caring for community since establishing in 1973.
As the oldest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in Victoria, and second oldest in the country, VAHS CEO Michael Graham said they are honoured to be celebrating this milestone in Aboriginal health history.
"Since establishing in 1973, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service has been embedded and connected to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for five decades - and I'm honoured to come together to celebrate 50 years of caring for community."
"Starting on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy by Community members, VAHS has been instrumental in leading the development of Community Controlled Health Organisations across the state and nation."
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO) operate in culturally safe, holistic ways that contribute to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"It’s our ACCHOs that work with our families and communities on a daily basis – we are a part of community, we care for community and we are trusted to do so.”
VAHS are dedicated to delivering culturally safe and life-saving health care to ensure thriving, healthy Communities and have been key in the self-determination and health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.
"Over the years VAHS have achieved many supports and firsts in Australia – including establishing the first Aboriginal dental clinic, first Aboriginal women and children's program and first Aboriginal childcare centre."
"The work of VAHS is a testament to Aboriginal Victoria as a whole and the progressive nature of the organisation's dedication in providing high-quality care for all Victorians."
Throughout the year VAHS will host a series of events to respect our past, honour our present, to build our future.
VAHS currently has three sites in Melbourne, with the fourth opening in this year to service the growing Aboriginal population in Melbourne’s west.
The afternoon was a good time to catch up and also remember those who put in the heart, sweat and tears that have made VAHS what it is today. You can listen below at the day's proceeding and speeches.