Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2020
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Regional facilities 09 November 2020

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2020

Yesterday, Sunday 8 November marked the beginning of NAIDOC Week – an opportunity for all Australians to come together and celebrate the rich history, diverse cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The theme for this year is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’. It recognises that Aboriginal peoples have occupied and cared for our country for over 65,000 years and have maintained ongoing spiritual and cultural connections to the land and sea.

The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples.

NAIDOC Week website

Showcasing these spiritual and cultural connections was a primary focus when building the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative Medical and Regional Health Hub. It was delivered in partnership with the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BADAC), architects Morton Dunn and builders SJ Weir.

The new hub was officially opened last year and incorporates art and design features that reflect authentic Aboriginal culture, creating a safe and welcoming space for the local community.

Watch and listen to hear how indigenous culture and design were incorporated into the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative Medical and Regional Health Hub.

Culturally sensitive design

Any new infrastructure that we're looking at, we make sure that we have a cultural feel, so the community feel comfortable coming through our doors.

Jon Kanoa, BADAC Chief Operating Officer (Kerrupmara/Bunitj)

The building design and layout reflects the needs and input from community members and staff. The result is a space that is culturally sensitive and promotes understanding, respect and celebration of Aboriginal culture while enabling efficient service delivery.

The medical facility was designed to be functional, without feeling clinical. With Aboriginal themes at the forefront of the design to create a culturally welcoming environment, the hub brings together high quality medical, health and community services under one roof.

I was really trying to make sure that we incorporate culture and the land and those sorts of things into the building, because that’s what’s important to us.

Karen Heap, BADAC CEO (Yorta Yorta)

The new hub features ceiling lights curved in linear snake patterns, window designs inspired by native Australian animals and walls featuring the colours of the Aboriginal flag. Alongside a large community area is an outdoor meeting place with a firepit for smoking ceremonies – creating a traditional sense of community and country in the centre of Ballarat.

Room for growth

The new hub delivered 1500m2 of extra floor space, giving the BADAC the room to expand the centre and deliver more services and tailored programs to the local community.

Integrating general practice rooms with specialist mental health and alcohol and other drugs consulting rooms allows for better coordinated care planning and greater interaction of services, including smoother cross referrals to the different services and programs offered by BADAC.

Highlighting artists and history

Prominent Aboriginal artworks are featured throughout the building, creating a sense of belonging for visitors and staff.

A feature glass light that overhangs the reception area was a special design created by BADAC CEO, Karen Heap, working alongside the community. The glass is made by Wathaurong Glass and Arts, a not-for-profit profit business owned by Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative and located on Wathaurong land.

The kids that I work with always ask 'Oh, what's that?' and you explain that this is Wathaurong land and that's what the glass is made from.

Nikki Bell, BADAC Senior Youth Engagement Worker (Gunditjmara)

The main meeting space in the building, or the Tree Room as it's come to be known, is decorated with paintings from local artists and the lighting design on the walls and ceiling is inspired by the branches of a tree. The design brings a sense of nature inside, further cementing the connection to the land.

The branches of the tree symbolises where we are as a community. We were built off the foundations of the Stolen Generation. You've got your roots and your foundations of where BADAC's come from, to the tree, to the families that sort of branch out – and it makes sure we're all still connected.

Jon Kanoa, BADAC Chief Operating Officer (Kerrupmara/Bunitj)

Portraits of Elders and Founding Members also line the room, acknowledging the past and reflecting on how their knowledge and expertise continues to support BADAC moving forward.

About the new hub

With thoughtful design, collaboration with the local community and a focus on celebrating Aboriginal culture and history – the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative Medical and Regional Health Hub is a culturally welcoming healthcare facility for all members of Victoria’s greater western region community.

The Victorian Government contributed $6 million to deliver the new hub, improving access to high quality medical, health and community services in one convenient location.

This $8.5 million project was part funded through the Victorian Government’s Regional Health Infrastructure Fund. This program is dedicated to building new, and updating existing, health facilities in regional and rural Victoria - ensuring everyone can access the quality care they need, no matter where they live.

Find out more about the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative Medical and Regional Health Hub via our dedicated project page.

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Last updated: 09 November 2020