New era ushered in for community centre

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Mt Barker police officer in charge Sergeant David Johnson at the newly renovated Mount Barker Aboriginal Community Centre.
Camera IconMt Barker police officer in charge Sergeant David Johnson at the newly renovated Mount Barker Aboriginal Community Centre. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Mt Barker Aboriginal Community Centre held its first meeting this month, marking a new beginning and exciting future for the town’s community.

The forum was led by Mt Barker police officer-in-charge Sgt David Johnson, who collaborated on the initiative with local elders, community members and Pardelup Prison Farm.

“I was really taken aback by how positive the meeting was,” he said.

“The community really took ownership and realised that in order to provide a better environment for their children in the future, they needed to work as a collective.

“It was all about making sure everyone was on the same page and I was really pleased with their attitude.”

The meeting focused on the future of the hub, how it would be used, the managerial structure, the grand opening and the planning of NAIDOC Week.

Shire of Plantagenet president Chris Pavlovich spoke about the Shire’s recognition of the local Aboriginal people’s needs at the event, including the recording of significant places in town.

Cr Pavlovich called for people to come forward to suggest places that had cultural significance, in order to officially record them and make a formal notification.

Joy Eugle, who also spoke at the event, said she hoped everyone left thinking about ideas for the hub.

“I think it will make a really great place for people to get together and enjoy themselves,” she said. “We’re hoping to organise activities for different age groups — something for males and females, young school kids and also the oldies in town, maybe even a community lunch once a week.”

Sgt Johnson said the centre’s official grand opening would take place at the end of next month.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the event,” he said.

“The elders spoke with exceptional passion and commitment.”

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