Third VACCHO Statewide GP Gathering on Gunditjmara Country a Celebration of Culture and Connection

May 14, 2024

VACCHO recently hosted the third Statewide GP Gathering on picturesque Gunditjmara Country, bringing together GPs who work at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across Victoria. This special event provided a platform for cultural immersion, clinical education, peer networking, and professional growth.

The weekend kicked off with a moving Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country led by Uncle Paul Wright, setting the tone for special weekend of culture and connection. Another standout moment came on Saturday when Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) Board Director Ebony Hickey and EMAC Chair Uncle Allan Miller, provided attendees with invaluable insight into Eastern Maar’s Native Title journey, while Gunditjmara master weaver Aunty Bronwyn Razem’s led an incredible weaving session for families.

Keynote presentations courtesy of RWAV CEO Lauren Cordwell, and Executive Director of VACCHO’s Balit Durn Durn Centre proud Djab Wurrung and Gunditjmara woman Sheree Lowe added great depth to the discussions, underscoring the vital role GPs play in helping Communities heal.

Brett Clarke (Kirrae Whurrung), a renowned Gunditjmara Nation song man, lore man, and educator brought the gathering to a close, delivering a captivating artefact talk and cultural tour of the ancient landscape of Tower Hill. Attendees appreciated the unique opportunity to connect with earth’s oldest continuous living Culture amidst the company of Tower Hill’s famous emus and koalas.

Executive Director of Population Health Abe Ropitini described the third Annual GP Gathering as a special weekend of learning, connection, family, and culture.

“This is a one-of-a-kind event as it gives GPs some thoroughly-deserved time to get to know their colleagues, and most importantly connect and celebrate Aboriginal culture and kinship – fundamental elements to the health and wellbeing of Communities.”

“The GPs that work at Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations are a crucial part of caring for Communities, and helping people heal.  The knowledge and wisdom that GPs share plays a significant role in caring for Aboriginal Communities.”

“On behalf of VACCHO, I’d like to pay tribute to the GPs for their incredible strength, dedication and invaluable work supporting thriving, healthy Communities. I’d like to sincerely thank RWAV for their valuable partnership and assistance in supporting this fantastic event. I look forward to seeing everyone at the GP Gathering in 2025.” 

VACCHO sincerely thanks RWAV CEO Lauren Cordwell for her important leadership, and thanks RWAV for their invaluable support of the Statewide GP Gathering through the Australian Government Department of Health’s Health Workforce Scholarship Program.

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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.