BADAC films keep history alive

November 25, 2021 BY

Stories live on: Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle, BADAC’s Jon Kanoa and Karen Heap and Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison are ready for the project’s launch. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

A FIRST-hand digital history of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative is now accessible to the broader community.

As part of their 40th anniversary celebrations, BADAC filmed the storytelling of their founding elders, and younger community members, and have curated images and information, to share the organisation’s moments of strength and triumph, challenge, resilience and determination.

Viewable online, the project features at least 15 speakers, and also explores local First Nations activists, the trauma of the Stolen Generations and the involvement of Ballarat’s orphanages.

It has been funded by a $15,000 State Government Local History Grant.

BADAC CEO Karen Heap said it’s been crucial to tell their stories now, as the community is ageing.

“We have lost some elders in the past few years. We didn’t want to continue not getting the history down. We wanted to talk with that group about what this organisation is all about,” she said.

“A lot of Aboriginal people come into Ballarat not really knowing the history of this organisation and the history of the people, so it’s important to get it out there because it’s a really positive story.

“We’re tired of the negativity around Aboriginal affairs. We need some positive, good stuff.”

BADAC chief operating officer Jon Kanoa said meaningful cultural stories often pass with communities’ elders.

“We wanted to capture as many of those stories as we can, especially for our younger generations,” he said.

“Ballarat is a really transient community. A lot of people fly in, fly out, but they need to know the history of our organisation that hasn’t only been a health service, but has been about health, welfare and justice for over 40 years.

“A lot of people have worked here, or been a member of the community, so they need to know where our roots come from as an organisation, from the Stolen Generation, to how we help out the non-Aboriginal community too.”

Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison said BADAC’s history is key thread in the Ballarat tapestry.

“These stories will inspire our community and promote a better understanding of Aboriginal culture and history,” she said.

Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle said BADAC has been celebrating and supporting the region’s First Nations peoples since 1979.

“This grant means all of us can share the stories and journey of BADAC and our first people,” she said.

Ballarat filmmakers and web designers Emma and Jarrod Hall from The Gingko Tree Creative Studio have produced the project. Visit for updates on how to access it.

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