Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative was first formed by community in 1978 and established as a registered organisation in 1980 to provide culturally appropriate programs, support and services for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living an Wathaurong, Gulidjan and Gadabanud country, within the wider Geelong, Bellarine and Colac regions.
We are focused on building and maintaining Strong Community, Strong Culture, and Strong Country.
Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative welcomes all Aboriginal people and provides a place where community members experience social and cultural connectedness and unity, have a voice, celebrate culture and identity; promoting self determination, community healing, well-being and advancement.
On the 22nd May, 1980, their vision would come to life as the Geelong and District Aboriginal Co-operative was officially incorporated, beginning with an office space on the Geelong waterfront. The name would later be changed to Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative to acknowledge the Wathaurong (Wadda wurrung) people, Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands of the local community.
Forty years on, the Co-operative has grown from kitchen tables to an administrative building, health service and children's service at 62 Morgan Street, North Geelong, as well as a social enterprise with the formation of wholesale and retail business, Wathaurong Glass. Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative continues to support the social, economic and cultural development of Aboriginal people, building the capacity of our community to achieve self determination.
Today, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative services over 85% of Aboriginal people in the region. Our promise is to address the Inequality in the health status of Aboriginal people through the provision of community services from the first to 'last breath'.
The existing site at 62 Morgan Street, North Geelong that includes the main Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative administration building,, was first opened in 1996. The current Health Services and Children's Services buildings were later added in 2008. The land surrounding what is known as Seagull Paddock was originally a tip - land that nobody wanted and did not know what to do with. Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative was able to turn the landfill site into a beautiful place of cultural connection for our community.
Since then, the demand for services and the additional staff required to deliver those services has seen Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative lease two additional buildings, one in the Federal Mills precinct at Mackey Street, North Geelong, and in 2021 more office space was leased at Albert Street, Geelong West.
Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative is the largest employer of Aboriginal people in the Geelong region.
As elected delegates representing members of Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, directors are responsible for organisational governance, leadership and the setting the strategic directions and priorities for the organisation. They are also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the achievement of strategic goals.
The Co-operative supports its board members through the conduct of an induction program along with support participation in governance training, and conducts performance appraisal processes as required by various organisational accreditation frameworks
Directors of the Board are responsible for:
- the overall strategic direction of the Co-operative
- making decisions about various issues related to organisational performance
- monitoring financial transactions made by the Co-operative
- signing Funding and Services Agreements with state and Commonwealth agencies and other parties
- setting policy for the Co-operative and making decisions related to all business and strategic directions of the organisation
- overseeing the preparation of the Co-operative's Annual Report and funding acquittals
- risk management
- other business as required.
Current Board Members, as elected at the 2021/2022 Annual General Meeting held on Sunday 26 February 2023, are:
Professor Wendy Brabham
Ammie is a Central Arrente woman born and raised on Wathaurong Country. She is a mum to 6 proud Arrente/Bundjalung kids and is an active member of the Wathaurong community. Ammie is also a former staff member of Wathaurong and Wathaurong Glass. Ammie was co-opted to the Board in December 2022 and was elected to the Board by Community in February 2023.
Glenn Shea has worked for and with Wathaurong in several roles including Youth Justice and Wathaurong's 40 Year Anniversary film and events. He is an acclaimed and awarded playwright, director and actor, including Aboriginal truth-telling. Glenn has sat on the Board of Directors at Ilbijerri Theatre Company for over 7 years and was elected to the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative Board in February 2023.
David Tournier Jnr
David Tournier Jnr was born on Wemba Wemba Country where he spent most of his childhood before moving to Wathaurong Country in his teens. David has experience working in a cultural capacity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations with local schools, universities, councils and other organisations. David is currently a Senior Heritage Cultural Officer at Boon Wurrung Land and Sea Council. David was elected to the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative Board in February 2023.
Simon Flagg - Chief Executive Officer
Rose De Jong - Acting Executive Manager of Corporate Services
Jason Kanoa - Executive Manager of Health & Community Connection
Kristie Fraser-Lange - Executive Manager of Family Services
Yohan Kumaran - Chief Financial Officer
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