The Healesville region of the Yarra Ranges is a stronghold of Aboriginal history and culture, which pervades its beautiful hills, lush valleys and bushland. However, the recent history of Aboriginal settlement in the area is not so positive. The fate of Coranderrk Reserve, and the history of government treatment of its people, left a legacy that is still felt today.
The Indigenous population of Healesville and the surrounding area is about 2,500 people, many of whom are from distinct Indigenous language and cultural population groups from across Australia. The number is expected to increase to over 5,000 by 2021 (Profile of Indigenous Representation in Eastern Metro Melbourne, Department of Justice, 2009). Such a broad representation of different Aboriginal nationalities, aided by the legacy of Coranderrk, has created a great diversity among the local Indigenous population.
HICSA & The Belonging Place Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association (HICSA) was established in 2009, in response to a long-term unmet need for a clearly identified Aboriginal Belonging/Gathering Place in the outer eastern Indigenous community. Since its inception in 2009 HICSA has established itself as a significant source of support for local community. HICSA is committed to providing a mix of direct and partnership-based service delivery, particularly for services that are more appropriately delivered from an Aboriginal controlled organisation and space.
The HICSA vision has remained constant with the Board and staff working towards ‘A healthy, strong and skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Melbourne's Outer East”
To assist in meeting the health, welfare, education and employment needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Melbourne's Outer East, specifically by:
1. Providing a welcoming and culturally-affirming place for the delivery of health, welfare and cultural programs;
2. Providing a central point of contact for the sharing of information and to nourish social and cultural ties;
3. Building a healthy, strong and skilled community through the provision of appropriate services.