New Medical Facility

Aboriginal Flag

Our journey

Founded in 2001, Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC) was founded to provide culturally appropriate, safe and accessible services and programs to Djaara people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents living on Dja Dja Wurrung country.

BDAC’s services have been researched and developed to reflect the ever-changing service system, economic and legislative environment which leads the local community towards change and acceptance, and provides our Community with self-determination and the best cultural outcomes.

Our why

Driven by excellence, BDAC delivers programs across core focus areas of health, education, employment, culture, community development, capacity building, family, and community services.

The comprehensive and integrated model of primary health care provided by BDAC aims to provide for:

“… not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but … the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential.”
– National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) 2016.

Smoking ceremony

BDAC flag raising event, July 2022.

A gathering place for Community

In 2009 BDAC embarked on their journey to acquire 119 Prouses Road, Bendigo. As an appropriate space for a purpose-built facility that would respect the community’s cultural needs, it would also provide a culturally safe gathering place for Central Victoria’s Aboriginal communities.
A staged approach was adopted; which would see the site developed over a number of years in order to meet the growing needs of the community.
Stage 1 of the BDAC facility at the Prouses Road address was constructed in 2017 and included three buildings including:

  • The current medical facility which primarily offers GP services;
  • The Family and Community Services building; and
  • BDAC’s corporate offices.

Stage 2 saw the dream of having our own kindergarten, djimbaya, which was proudly launched at the beginning of February 2023.

The demand for BDAC’s services has grown both rapidly, and exponentially. More than 500 new patients utilised the facility since October 2020, quickly challenging the current medical facility’s capacity and limiting BDAC’s ability to provide comprehensive care to the local Aboriginal Community as demand continues to rise.

These constraints have also limited the provision of Allied Health Services, particularly in high-demand areas such as aged care, mental health and disability, without the required space available.

Planning for the future

To address these challenges and enable a quality service provision for patients, BDAC began planning for Stage 3: New Medical Facility in 2022, with construction scheduled to commence in the second half of 2023.

Stage 3 scope consists of the construction of a new Medical Facility which includes:

  • Ten additional consulting rooms
  • Three allied health rooms
  • Six interview rooms
  • Additional office space

Following consultation with user groups and Community, an innovative and responsive double-storey design has been developed by the project’s architectural team Billard Leece Partnership and Workshop Architecture. The design aims to provide access and flow to patients and staff,  by connecting the nature contained within the surrounding outdoors to the interior of the facility.

Once complete, the building will be 1250m2, compared to the current medical facility of 500m2.


Artist’s impression

The project team met in mid-March 2023 for a Design Development Workshop.

The project team and cultural assurance

The project team consists of:

Cultural assurance – Working with Djandak will enable us to succeed in embedding layers of culture into the landscape design surrounding the building, which will create a sense of wellbeing that also offers on Country learning opportunities.

The original inspiration for the Prouses Road site

The concept for the distinctive layout of the Bendigo District Aboriginal Cooperative facility is a fusion of organic and holistic, naturalistic and expressive architecture, which was inspired by the paintings of local indigenous artists, Georgina Riseley and Trina Maloney.

The paintings represent a central meeting place where different communities come together, with smaller meeting places arranged around, connected back to the larger meeting place by tracks.

Inspired by these paintings, BDAC’s building design reflects this concept of “meeting places” by locating each of the operational units into individual ‘pods’ surrounding a central ‘gathering place’ and cultural hub. These pods and the central hub are all interconnected by walkways meandering through native gardens.

Painting by Trina Dalton (Maloney)

Painting Georgina

Painting by Georgina Riseley