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Minister opens refurbished Aborigines Advancement League (2/7/99) Tuesday, 6 July 1999

Friday, July 2, 1999

From the Office of the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs


A multi million dollar redevelopment of the Aborigines Advancement League in Thornbury was
officially opened today by the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Ann Henderson.

Minister Henderson said the Victorian Government had funded $2.79 million upgrade to provided
new office space, meeting rooms, a conference and function facility, as well as a museum and
'keeping place' at the Watt Street location.

"This redevelopment is long overdue," the Minister said.

"For years the Aborigines Advancement League has been the focus of Aboriginal community
welfare, sporting and recreation activities for the 10,000 Aboriginal people living in Metropolitan

"However, with the refurbishment it is now hoped that more people, both Aboriginal and
non-Aboriginal, will visit the centre and gain an insight into Aboriginal history and culture," the
Minister said.

Mrs Henderson said the Aborigines Advancement League was founded in 1958 and is the oldest
and most respected Aboriginal community organisation in Victoria.

"The main function of the AAL has been to administer a range of support and welfare programs
focused on the Aboriginal community.

"These include a number of aged care facilities, a neighbourhood house, a Home and Community
Care Service, a funeral service, a hostel for women as well as education, legal, housing and health

"It is hoped that with this redevelopment, a number of new and exciting business opportunities will
evolve, especially in the area of cultural awareness," Mrs Henderson said.

"A particularly pleasing aspect of the redevelopment is the creation of a cultural keeping place that
will house the history of the Aboriginal Advancement League and material detailing the history and
struggle of the Aboriginal movement in Victoria.

"Many prominent Aboriginal people have been heavily involved AAL's activities over the years;
such as Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls, Mrs Marge Tucker, Mrs Geraldine Briggs, Mr Stewart
Murray and Mrs Merle Jackomos, who have all worked tirelessly to achieve the prominent position
the League now enjoys in Victorian society.

"I am certain this redevelopment will enhance that reputation within Victoria's Aboriginal and non-
Aboriginal community," Mrs Henderson said.

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