Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative

The Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd was originally established by several families in the local area who saw the need to provide support for their growing Koori community. Early meetings of concerned people were held in their homes were the catalyst for the establishment of an Association driven by the Walker, Terrick, Harrison, Charles and the other families' living in the area at the time.

In 1975 the Dandenong and Distict Aborigines Co-operative Society Limited (DDACSL) was incorporated. Initial funding was provided to help develop the operations and other programs that would address unemployment and life skills in the Koori community in Dandenong, Doveton, Hallam, Noble Park and a developing Endeavour Hills.

The organisation had three or four offices until it found its home at 64 Stud Road, Dandenong. The DDACSL forged a strong relationship with the then Dandenong City Council (later to be renamed City of Greater Dandenong).

One of the first programs the organisation recieved funding for was a Women's Sewing program for domestic skill purposes. Initially a dozen Singer sewing machines were purchased for the program and all were used in the early days. Several participants dropped out in ensuing years for various reasons but a few kept it going.

By the mid 1980's the organisation recieved regular funding for emergency relief, family support and recieved a regular visiting services from the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS). By the end of the 1980's the organisation had improved its family support program and access to the medical clinic, along with some HACC funding a blossoming playgroup and the Burrai Child Care Centre.

On the 23rd February 1994, the Bunurong Health Service (BHS) was officially opened by Auntie Patsy Harrison and Uncle Kevin Walker, two of the original founders of the organisation. Around the time the Burrai Child Care closed its operations due to lack of people using the service.

The organisation was re-incorporated under the Co-operatives Act (Victoria) in 1996 as the Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd (DDAC), shortly afterwards the organisation went into Administration. By 1999 the organisation had rebuilt itself through the hard work and commitment of a new Board of Directors, its management and staff, with new programs such as HACC, Family Services, Mental Health and the BHS and Primary health Care.

The organisation has continued to develop stronger links to mainstream agencies and forged new partnerships to expand its capacity in its service delivery. The organisation has undergone a change in process in its structure to enable it to manage its services into the next 10 to 20 years.