In 1993 a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care professionals shared their concern about the lack of appropriate services for the Aboriginal and Islander people within the Brisbane area. They consulted with the local communities and Elders. Collectively they agreed upon the need for services with an Indigenous focus to improve the emotional and social wellbeing and mental health for their community.
Gallang Place was incorporated in 1994 under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act. It was established to address trans-generational grief and loss by providing culturally appropriate counseling support. Senator Neville Bonner, a Jagera Elder recognised the significance of this Australian first initiative and agreed to allow the organisation to use the word Gallang. Gallang means healing and is from the local Jagera language.
Gallang Place was set up in a time when there was no government funding for emotional and social health and wellbeing. Over the coming years, supported by seed funding from ATSIC, the concept grew from a team of volunteers up until 1996 when Gallang Place launched a fully fledged service. It was a struggle to secure funding, but after writing to Minister Wooldridge in 1996 Gallang Place received funding from the Department of Health and Ageing to employ a Manager, Counsellor and Administrative Assistant. Gallang Place received funding from the state government in 2005 to deliver the Youth Suicide Prevention Program and the Youth Support Coordinator.
Gallang Place relies on its strong membership base that is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 18 years from the greater Brisbane region. This membership base provides vital knowledge and insight into the experiences, concerns and expectations of the local communities. Gallang Place’s Board of Directors is drawn from this membership and uses this community knowledge, coupled with professional skills, to set the strategies and directions and ensure corporate compliance of Gallang Place.
In 2012 Gallang place gained national accreditation as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to provide training programs for counselors specializing in social and emotional wellbeing and mental health. Gallang Education and Training (GET) provides opportunities for counsellors to gain nationally accredited qualifications in a learning environment tuned to the cultural and spiritual needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In July 2014 we moved from our long term home in West End to our own premises in Cannon Hill. This has given us a great new capacity to provide better facilities for counselling and training and to manage our rapidly growing services.
So in summary, Gallang Place grew from a realisation by Indigenous professionals of the unique emotional health and wellbeing needs in their local community. After a long struggle Gallang Place stands as a model service that is directed, managed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to their communities, taking control and closing the gaps.