History

How we came to be

The Koorie Heritage Trust was established in 1985 by Ron Merkel QC, the late Ron Castan AM QC and a respected Koorie elder with a commitment to protect, preserve and promote the living culture of the Aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia.

The Trust emerged from a need for greater awareness, understanding and appreciation of Koorie culture throughout the community, and the immediate need for Koorie cultural heritage material to be controlled, managed and curated by Koorie people. Since then, the Trust’s activities and programs have expanded and include:

  • addressing a need in the community for the collection and preservation of Koorie oral histories for future generations
  • a family history service that connects members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants to family, culture and community
  • expanding the collection of Koorie art and artefacts that reflect the historical and contemporary artistic practices of south-eastern Australia
  • exhibition programs with a particular focus on showcasing new and emerging artists; cultural education programs and activities
  • a retail outlet for the creative art and design expression of our Koorie Community.

2015 – Present

2003 – 2015

In 2003, the Koorie Heritage Trust took up residency at 295 King Street, which was our home until we moved to the Yarra Building at Federation Square in June 2015.

Before 2003

The Victorian Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Trust, as we were then known, was formed in October 1985, and arose in response to the alleged illegal sale, lending and disposal of Aboriginal Victorian relics and skeletal remains.