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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services

We would like to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples and Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Land. We pay our respects to the ancestors of this country, Elders, Knowledge Holders and Leaders, past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people. We at East Wimmera Health Service acknowledge the local traditional owners the Dja Dja Wurrung, Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk peoples.

We welcome you to our service where we commit to providing care that is culturally sensitive and meets your needs.

The formally recognised Traditional Owners for our Charlton and St Arnaud campuses are the Djaara or Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples, who are represented by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.

The formally recognised Traditional Owners for our Birchip and Donald campuses are the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk Peoples, who are represented by the Barengi Gadjin Land Council. They are collectively known as the Wotjobaluk Peoples or Wotjobaluk Nation.

Traditional Owners have not been formally recognised for Wycheproof, however the area borders a number of Aboriginal communities, Traditional Owners and Language Groups including Dja Dja Wurrung, Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk Country. Wycheproof also borders Wamba Wamba (or Wemba Wemba) , Latji Latji, Waddi Waddi and Barapa Barapa Country – Swan Hill region.

Donald – important to note that whilst Donald Campus is on Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk Country, the other side of the Richardson River is Dja Dja Wurrung Country, so a large part of Donald is Dja Dja Wurrung Country.

Birchip – Our Birchip Campus is on Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk Country (as most of Birchip is, however not all).

East Wimmera Health Service recently commissioned artist Kathrine Clarke to provide an image that describes our service area from the view of the artist.

Entitled “Walking Country” the painting is described thus:

To understand that sense of belonging and spirituality we call our dreaming, it is key to be one with land and waterways that connect us. To see the stories in the land that surrounds us and find grounding. When your heart feels a yearning, a special kind of calling for home. You know it’s time to go walkabout on country. This artwork represents my home country along the Wimmera River and the communities that make up our five clan groups known as Wotjobaluk, Jadwaa, Jadwadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk peoples.

It is also a representation of our neighbours across the Loddon River on Djab Wurrung Country, and that respect we have for each other’s country when crossing paths. Surrounding all of this is the Dreaming and our Ancestral Spirits who guide us on our journey. With a deeper listening we walk between the physical and spiritual acknowledging the footprints that have travelled before us. Leading to a much more rounded connection and belonging to country in a way that only we as Traditional Owners instinctively know and continue to strengthen into our future.

About the artist

I feel it is key to depict country and stories from our dreaming into my artwork and writing. I’m an artist by heart and a writer by trade, when I can join the two, I find I am at my most grounded. It’s a spiritual thing when painting, it’s even more powerful in every sense when we have the urge to paint something that we ourselves aren’t sure what it is until on the canvas. That’s when you know you have a story to tell.  It’s in the messages that come like a whisper in the heart or a dream while you sleep. It niggles away at you until you begin painting. And even after you’ve begun it stays with you until you know the story and artwork is finished. Most of my art comes from this spirituality, and connection with country and our dreaming. My name is Kathrine Clarke and I am a proud Wotjobaluk Nations woman.

East Wimmera Health Service maintains a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan in partnership with Reconciliation Australia

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