High school sweethearts are making dreams come true for their community

The Murray Districts Aboriginal Association (MDAA) was established in the late 1970s in Pinjarra, a small town in the Peel region of Western Australia. ICV has had the privilege of working with MDAA for the past three years. Over this time we have seen MDAA navigate its way through stiff opposition, complex challenges and institutionalised racism.

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The Murray Districts Aboriginal Association (MDAA) was established in the late 1970s in Pinjarra, a small town in the Peel region of Western Australia. ICV has had the privilege of working with MDAA for the past three years. Over this time we have seen MDAA navigate its way through stiff opposition, complex challenges and institutionalised racism.

Now, MDAA’s dream of restoring its community centre as a hub for local Noongar people is finally being realised. MDAA was recently awarded $350,000 from Lotterywest to renovate their community centre precinct. This success story shows what community development is all about: believing in a dream and having the passion and persistence to achieve it.

At the heart of this dream are Mark and Karrie-Anne, high school sweethearts from Pinjarra. Over the years they have harnessed the support of Pinjarra’s Indigenous community and have worked hard to achieve some significant milestones for MDAA.

Bindjareb Park precinct is a 1.7ha landholding and brick building on the site of a former Aboriginal Reserve, where many local Indigenous people lived. Currently in a state of disrepair, work is now underway to return the precinct to the hub it was in the past – a centre for local Noongar people to meet and engage in community activities and cultural events. The site also has the potential to be somewhere local people can develop business enterprises in the future.

To support them in reaching their development goals, ICV volunteers have helped in many ways:
• Installing a new roof on the community centre building
• Installing a half sized basketball court
• Strengthening internal governance and organisational capacity

ICV is currently helping MDAA scope the work needed for refurbishing and renovating the community centre. We look forward to a grand re-opening in the not too distant future, and to a long and prosperous relationship with MDAA as they continue to go from strength to strength.