Gurwidj Koori Neighbourhood House

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Gurwidj Koori Neighbourhood House

Gurwidj (‘meaning ‘old friend’) Neighbourhood House was opened in the late 1980’s based at the old AAL, 56 Cunningham Street Northcote with Merle Bamblett as the Co-ordinator. One of their initial programs was screen printing and participants made wall hangings, table cloths and designs for clothing. As part of their programs, they held a number of fashion parades with models from the local community. There are wall hangings in a number of organizations today that were made by Gurwidj participants.
Gurwidj was incorporated from 1998 until 2005 when it wound up its incorporation. It has been auspiced by the Aboriginal Advancement League and located at 43 Clapham Street, Thornbury opposite the Aboriginal Advancement League’s main office since 2005.
Gurwidj is a recognized Neighbourhood House in the Darebin Local Government area. It was initially established to give Aboriginal women a safe place, to empower them and build their self-esteem and confidence and to provide the opportunity to develop their skills to lead to sustainable employment and training.


  • To provide programs to Koorie women that will promote high self-esteem and confidence levels and develop a pride in their cultural heritage.
  • To improve basic skills of participants to increase employment opportunities.
  • To provide courses that will help to improve participant’s quality of life.


For Aboriginal women in the Northern Metropolitan region to have a high quality of life by strengthening their cultural identity, increasing their self-confidence and improving their life skills


  • Support community development programs and activities that lead to community
  • Strengthening outcomes
  • Support and promote community participating and inclusion
  • Facilitate community and capacity building of individuals and groups
  • Support lifelong learning opportunities
  • Improve training and employment pathways
  • Support community development processes to address local priorities and needs through:
    • Community consultation
    • Development of agreed community needs
    • Sourcing funding opportunities
    • Facilitating and evaluating responses to the identified needs.
    • Embedding cultural practices in all programs.
    • Increasing participation of Aboriginal people in the Northern Region in courses and programs that will enhance their life skills.
    • Increasing the number and quality of programs.
    • Offering a diverse range of programs that will cater for the diverse needs of participants.
    • Networking with key stakeholders to get a broad range of views and find out potential courses and programs.
    • Developing partnerships to facilitate better outcomes for participants by sharing program costs.
    • Providing a culturally safe, friendly and comfortable environment for participants.


The Gurwidj Co-ordinator can assist with the following issues:

  • Family Violence
  • Child Protection
  • Parenting Skills
  • Identity
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Justice issues
  • Poverty
  • Low educational skills
  • Unemployment
  • Racism
  • Sourcing courses for participants
  • Art Therapy
  • Computer skills
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