From the late 80s onwards, the local Aboriginal community in Hastings, south-east of Melbourne, campaigned for a place of their own. In 2014, they got one : The Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place. From then on, it became a space where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people could come together to explore their goals, ideas and identity.
The Project celebrates the powerful story of an Indigenous gathering place and how it connects cultures, communities and Country.
Working with Executive Officer Peter Aldenhoven and the community, RMIT’s Professor Libby Porter set out to help document and celebrate how the Gathering Place connects cultures, communities and Country.
Through RMIT’s Seed Fund, which supports collaboration between researchers and community partners, Porter and Aldenhoven co-designed a project rooted in the values of self-determination and reflecting the aspirations of Willum Warrain.
Working with Zakpage, an Aboriginal film company based in Sydney, they created a film that evokes the place and spirit of Willum Warrain. The funds also supported the employment of members of Willum Warrain to help organise and conduct the interviews for the project.
Porter is now focused on the next stage, working with Aldenhoven to create a longer written account based on the stories of survival, pain and healing that people shared.