NAIDOC Week is a national celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year the festivities run from 3 July –10 July with a theme that encourages us all to make a genuine commitment to 'Get Up! Stand Up! Show up!'

In recognition of NAIDOC week, we are profiling success stories from our local Aboriginal community and encourage all community members to make their own connections. Read on to learn more about the impressive achievements of:

Beverley Meldrum - A gift from the sea

Emerging artist Beverley Meldrum is a Wirangu (SA) woman through her father’s side of the family. Growing up in South Australia and moving to the Mornington Peninsula over thirty years ago, Beverley has always lived by the sea.

Her work takes inspiration from nature, using a variety of mediums including kelp, timber, stone, ceramics and found objects. More recently Beverley has started experimenting with precious metals in her work with Blak Design.

In her first solo exhibition at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Beverley showcases a collection of body adornments that reflect her appreciation of kelp and its healing properties.

“It’s got a life of its own,” she says. “You can mould it into what you want, but in the end it has the final say.”

The elements used in these works were collected from Mornington Peninsula beaches, a place where Beverley can savour the sea air, the salt and the texture of the water on skin.

“I think it’s a gift from the sea. It’s finished its life in the sea, and then it’s washed up on shore, and I like to bring it back to life for everyone to see the beauty.”

Beverley’s work is on display at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery until 21 July 2022.

Lionel Lauch – Empower, educate and engage

Living Culture is a grassroots Indigenous led organistaion. founded by Gunditjmara Kirrae Wurrung-Bundjalung man Lionel Lauch. Supported by a team of operations staff and directors, Living Culture delivers its mission to "educate people about the importance of keeping Aboriginal culture alive. Indigenous knowledge is a living link to the past, present and future."

Having lived on the Mornington Peninsula since the age of six, Lionel has always been drawn to exploring the land and natural environment and has developed a deep connection and understanding of his country and cultural heritage.

Through Living Culture, he has embraced the opportunity to share this extensive knowledge with the wider public by delivering hands-on, unique cultural and environmental programs – the aim of which is to foster engagement spaces for learning, listening and empowerment. Programs include guided walks; yidaki (Didgeridoo) led mediation and healing; basket weaving; and educational visits for students.

“I teach people about the importance of the land. The land can live without us, but we can’t live without mother earth. I teach respect and healing and I help other people, black or white, to get through their problems, as I have experienced a great deal of what life can throw at you”

Visit the Living Culture Facebook page for a list of public guided walks.

Sharon Brindley – Bringing people together through food

Cooee Café is the only Indigenous café on the Mornington Peninsula. Situated in Bunurong Country, it is owned and managed by Sharon Brindley and her daughter Shayla, who serve an eclectic mix of Indigenous flavours alongside everyday Australian cuisine.

A proud Yamatji/Noongar woman, Sharon spent her childhood visiting her Grandmother in Kalgoorlie. “She would take me out to the bush and teach me how to live off the land,” says Sharon. “I developed my love for cooking and knowledge of Indigenous ingredients and native flavours. Many years later, I am sharing the same excitement that was kindled then, using some of the same ingredients and flavours in my businesses.”

Through her work at Cooee Café, Sharon is proud to educate both locals and visitors about the true flavours of Australia and their health properties by using ingredients like bush tomato, lemon myrtle, salt bush, wattle seed, Davidson plum and finger lime.

“I like to incorporate Indigenous ingredients into everyday cooking and showcase to the world the incredible qualities of native plants through delicious treats.”

In a classic COVID pivot, Sharon launched Jala Jala Treats in 2020. Translating from her Wajarri language, Jala Jala means “very good” – the perfect name for her range of indigenous flavoured chocolate bars which are available at Cooee Café and online.

Taste these delicious morsels for yourself at Cooee Café, Monday to Sunday, 7am – 3pm or experience a full Indigenous lunch, available for groups on request.

Kylie Colemane – Experience the healing benefits of nature

Kylie Colemane believes that optimal wellness is the key to living a high-quality life. Through her business, Your Green Prescription, Kylie combines an accreditation in nature-based therapy with her passion for earth and culture.

“Everything we feel and do relates to our well-being and directly affects our actions and emotions. In order to subdue stress, reduce illness, and ensure positive moments in your life, you must achieve optimal wellness.”

As a proud Darug amd Wiradjuri First Nations Australian, Kylie grew up in country New South Wales and found solace in the bush and by the coast, a comfort that she is now able to share with others through her work.

“In many Countries around the world general practitioners and therapists are prescribing time spent out in nature. Your very own Green Prescription! Never before has this connection been so vital to our mental health & overall wellbeing.”

Kylie’s services include: Wayapa Wuurk an earth connection practice based on ancient Indigenous wisdom, earth mindfulness, movement and storytelling; sustainable and chemical free bush dyeing; native plant education for food and medicine and nature journaling.

Visit the Your Green Prescription website for information on upcoming events.

Your Green Prescription is a Supply Nation and Kinaway registered 100% Aboriginal owned business.

Mornington Peninsula Shire acknowledges and pays respect to the Bunurong/BoonWurrung people, the Traditional Custodians of these lands. Discover other local Aboriginal owned business through the Kinaway Chamber of Commerce.

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Stay, play and explore local – you might be surprised what you rediscover in your own backyard.

Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Support Local campaign urges the community to support local. Connect with local businesses on our Support Local Business Directory. Or contact one of our Visitor Information Centres to chat with one of our friendly local experts.

SUPPORT LOCAL. Think. Spend. Recommend.

Find other ways to support local businesses at mpbusiness.com.au/supportlocal