2017 Winners

In 2017 we split the community category into small and large community organisations/groups for the first time, to help make the judging process fair and equitable.

Local Government Winner:
Rural City of Wangaratta: Bullawah Cultural Trail Project                       
The Bullawah Cultural Trail was developed along the Ovens River as a shared path to showcase, share and record our local Aboriginal cultural heritage. The word ‘Bullawah’ is a Pangerang word and means “two over the river”. It signifies the new suspension bridges that are now providing access to areas of the landscape that had not been possible previously. Bullawah also signifies Indigenous and non-Indigenous people walking together hand in hand toward reconciliation and the coming together of cultures. The Bullawah Cultural Trail incorporates interpretive signage, sculptures, public art, short films, medicinal plants, bush tucker and the Marmungun Rock that honours local Indigenous and non–Indigenous leaders in the community.

Highly Commended: 
City of Ballarat: Ballarat Library
Since 2015, the City of Ballarat Library has been transformed into an engaging, welcoming and respectful space for the Aboriginal community. A new partnership has been built between the Ballarat Library and members of the Councils Koorie Engagement Action Group (KEAG) and the wider Aboriginal community. This has led to new initiatives and measures to make the library a more welcoming space, such as flags, a collection of Indigenous resources, and a welcome mat. There has also been a marked increase in cultural awareness programs and events being delivered by the library with increased attendance and positive feedback from the community.

Highly Commended:
Mildura Rural City Council: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Project
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial project was delivered by Mildura Rural City Council in collaboration with the local Aboriginal Community. The project delivered a permanent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial which sits proudly in Mildura’s Henderson Park, creating a foundation for future cultural and historical learning, healing, and recognition, as well as a space for conversations about reconciliation within the Mildura community. The project created an opportunity for collective action in community recognition, healing and reconciliation. The collaborative efforts and involvement of community from start to finish highlighted exactly what is needed for genuine community engagement and how to truly strengthen relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. 

Small Community Organisation/Group Winner: 
Mullagh Wills Foundation: Reconciliation through Sport - “Journey to the G"

The Mullagh Wills Foundation initiated the “Journey to the G” project in celebration of the150th Anniversary of the 1866 Boxing Day match between the MCC and the All Aboriginal Cricket Team. The Mullagh Wills Foundation is a volunteer run organisation. It worked with 11 Councils to promote Reconciliation through Sport and increase community awareness of the contributions made to sport and the community by Johnny Mullagh and Tom Wills who were members of the first All Aboriginal Cricket team.

Highly Commended: 
Tarerer Gunditj Project Association Inc : Tarerer Festival, 'Sharing Culture'
The Tarerer festival is primarily a music festival encouraging Koorie, non-Koorie and other nationalities in a celebration of the art and culture of the South West district. It includes music, dance, visual arts and crafts and environmental exchange. Now in its 21st year the Tarerer Festival 'Sharing Culture' 2017 was no exception, with Irish Celtic, Filippino and Scottish Celtic cultures, and an element of Japanese culture, amazing the audience with our show of unity, brilliant talent and respect for each other. In addition to this, Tarerer initiated an Aboriginal dance project for young girls and boys in the lead up to our festival. Tarerer was also involved an event called Culture Creativity and Place II, an Aboriginal water ceremony. Canadian First Nation representatives who were invited to attend enjoyed their stay and experience too.

Large Community Organisation/Group Winner: 
The Sovereign Hill Museums Association/ Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation: Gnarrwirring Ngitj (‘Learning Together’) Festival
Last year marked the first year of the Gnarrwirring Ngitj (‘Learning Together’) Festival, a program of events taking place during Reconciliation Week that was developed by Sovereign Hill Museums Association in partnership with Wadawurrung, the Traditional Owners in Ballarat. Through a varied program of guided tours, lectures, street performances and workshops, the festival served to educate attendees about Wadawurrung history, as well as the part played by the local Aboriginal people in the Victorian Gold Rushes. The Gnarrwirring Ngitj Festival has been nominated for being an outstanding local initiative which fully reflects its aim of ‘learning together’.

Highly Commended: 
CoHealth: Wellness Dreaming – Prevention Team
Cohealth is a community health organisation providing health support services across Melbourne's CBD, and northern and western suburbs. Wellness Dreaming is a highly successful Koolin-Balit initiative, which built the skills of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to work together in facilitating strength-based conversations - Dreaming Circles, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in community settings. It has encouraged people to flip their thinking away from what’s wrong and towards what’s STRONG in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. CoHealth worked in partnership to build upon the capacity of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workforce in the north-west metropolitan region to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It fostered the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, enabling local, community-led, culturally appropriate actions for wellbeing. CoHealth also developed, trained and promoted strengths-based approaches with stakeholders in local government, education, employment, housing, health, mainstream, non-government and community controlled sectors.

The 2017 Finalists  

Local Government:

Rural City of Wangaratta - Bullawah Cultural Trail Project
City of Ballarat – Ballarat Library 
City of Casey - Valley Brook Kindergarten Yarning Networks and Workshops
Gannawarra Shire - Stolen Generations
Mildura Rural City Council - Plaque; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Project 
Yarra Ranges Council - The Urban Indigenous Community, Connection to Culture, Country, Identity and Health research project

Small Community Organisation/Group: 
Mullagh Wills Foundation - Reconciliation through Sport - “Journey to the G”
Phoenix FM - Koori Shout-Out
Tarerer Gunditj Project Association Inc - Tarerer Festival, 'Sharing Culture'
Warrnambool Community Garden Inc. - Indigenous recognition seat

Large Community Organisation/Group: 
CoHealth - Wellness Dreaming – Prevention Team
Port Fairy Folk Festival Committee Inc. - 2017 Opening Ceremony Taarndeen Chuurnuurn – ‘Big River’ – The Milky Way
The Sovereign Hill Museums Association/ Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation t/a Wadawurrung: Gnarrwirring Ngitj (‘Learning Together’) Festival
Victorian Aboriginal Health Service - Healthy Lifestyle Team