VACCHO Celebrates Launch of Uplifting and Powerful Beautiful Shawl Project Documentary   

Nov 16, 2023

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) is proud to launch a powerful new documentary that showcases the heartfelt stories and staunch Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have brought the Beautiful Shawl Project to life over the past year.

The moving feature shares Aboriginal and Torres Strait women’s breast screening experiences in Victoria through the Beautiful Shawl Project.

It contains personal insights from women who screened with the Beautiful Shawl Project – as well as those who carry out vital work increasing Community awareness and engagement around the Project.

VACCHO would like to pay tribute to the many women who generously shared their stories, wisdom, and insight as part of this inspiring film.

Aunty Cheryl Draton, Aunty Eileen Harrison and Aunty Lynette Hayes sharing their experience with The Beautiful Shawl Project

The Beautiful Shawl Project is a collaborative program between VACCHO and BreastScreen Victoria. It is a Community-led initiative providing safe and empowering breast screening experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in a culturally safe setting.

Since its launch in 2019, The Beautiful Shawl Project has worked in close partnership with over 25 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and other organisations with their Aboriginal-led teams to provide over 1000 lifesaving breast screens to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Of those screened, 29% were first time screeners and 39% were lapsed (overdue) at the time of their breast screen.

Elaine Burton showing of her Beautiful Shawl featuring artwork by Aunty Joanne Honeysett

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher AO says The Beautiful Shawl Project documentary demonstrates the transformative health outcomes that can be achieved by culturally safe and responsive cancer screening initiatives.

“I’d like to sincerely thank the incredible women who shared their deeply personal stories as part of this beautiful documentary – I think it’s an amazing film.”

“This documentary captures the essence of what The Beautiful Shawl Project is about – Aboriginal women leading the way with vibrant, culturally driven artwork, and amazing stories.

“The documentary demonstrates the power of having Aboriginal women in the driver’s seat – and the positive health and wellbeing outcomes that are created by doing so.”

“I’d like to pay tribute to Communities across Victoria for embracing the Beautiful Shawl team with open arms on visits across Victoria. We look forward to seeing the Beautiful Shawl Project expand to new locations across the state in 2024 and beyond.”

VACCHO pays tribute to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and BreastScreen Victoria for their partnership and vision in supporting an initiative that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities feel empowered and connected to culture.

Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.


VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.