May 24, 2021 | Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd
National Reconciliation Week takes place each year from 27 May to 3 June, both significant dates in Australia’s history. 27 May marks the date of the 1967 referendum and 3 June is the date of the landmark Mabo decision in 1992.
This year’s Reconciliation Week theme is More than a word: Reconciliation takes action, a reminder that true reconciliation won’t be achieved without conscious effort and meaningful steps. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses – and supporting them loudly – is one small step we can take today.
As Mick Harding of Ngarga Warendj says, buying genuine products from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and artists helps support First Nations people and communities.
‘We are closing the gap ourselves,’ he says.
Here are 12 Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses that you can buy from this Reconciliation week and every week.
Kinya Lerrk (Wemba Wemba for ‘women coming together’) was co-created by visual artists Emma Bamblett (Wemba Wemba, Gunditjmara, Ngadjonji and Taungurung) and Megan Van Den Berg (Dja Dja Wurrung, Yorta Yorta and Boon Wurrung). Their product line features candles with native scents, diffusers and tea towels.
Acknowledgement of Country plaques are also available for those looking for an eye-catching and respectful way to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land. There are more than 50 colourful designs, plus the option to customise the text to include your organisation or to acknowledge the specific traditional owners of your land.
Ngali is a Melbourne-based sustainable fashion brand and social enterprise founded by Wiradjuri woman Denni Francisco.
Ngali collaborates with Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists to translate their original work into clothing and collectibles. On all Ngali pieces, the art is the hero and the piece is designed to complement it.
With every order, Ngali donates money to enhance the literacy and IT skills of children living in remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.
Just because we’re not confined to our homes anymore, doesn’t mean the 2020-inspired landscaping has to end.
A proud 100% Aboriginal-owned family business, Country to Coast offers tree pruning, removal, mulching and stump grinding, as well as firewood, conservation and land management.
They’re also proud to provide employment opportunities to Aboriginal people seeking qualifications and skills in arboriculture.
Panku Safety Solutions Pty Ltd is an Aboriginal-owned and operated business that specialises in safety products and services, including PPE, environmental spill control, signage, hygiene, height safety, site safety, workwear and COVID‑19 supplies.
Panku – which means ‘united, together’ in Nyiyaparli – is committed to having a positive social impact by providing funds, supplies and equipment to programs that benefit Aboriginal communities.
2020 was a big year that left many longing to get more in touch with nature.
Enter Wayapa Wuurrk® (Connect to Earth).
Based on the ancient Indigenous wisdom of living in harmony with the environment, Wayapa Wuurrk® combines earth mindfulness and actively looking after the planet to achieve Earth-Mind-Body-Spirit wellbeing.
Wayapa pays it forward by putting a portion of their profits towards scholarships that empower Aboriginal people to create eco-centric, purpose-driven micro businesses.
If you’re looking for an everyday consumable to stock up on to show support, perhaps beer will do the trick.
Henry St Brewhouse is a family-owned and run artisan microbrewery in Kensington. What started as a home-brew operation less than 5 years ago has grown into a Kensington must-visit.
The brewpub prides itself on handcrafting small-batch beers on site, so every beer you have is an experience – and you won’t grow tired of the brew list.
Hops on down to the brewpub in Kensington, or visit the online store for beers and merch.
These might just be the 3 hottest words in the food industry right now: Plant. Based. Alternatives.
And Jerry’s been doing it for years.
Jerry Segat is the director and chef at Jerry’s Vegiburgers, a small Melbourne-based company specialising in handcrafted vegiburgers that are dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, onion-free and guilt-free.
They also offer an event catering service that fuses techniques from Jerry’s French training with flavours from his Aboriginal heritage.
If you’re a business owner, then you know that a lot of business relies on your equipment functioning the way you need it to, when you need it to.
Meet White Swan Services, a proudly Aboriginal and family-run business that provides a range of commercial maintenance and repair services, including refrigeration, electrical, air-conditioning, plumbing and water filtration.
They also offer contracted customers a 24/7 emergency AC and refrigeration breakdown and repair service.
If you love flowers but can’t bear to see them wilt, look no further.
Briar Blooms is a 100% Aboriginal-owned and operated small business that specialises in expertly dried and preserved flower arrangements, as well as bath soaks, soaps, candles, wheat eye pillows and heat bags.
The artist behind Briar Blooms is Domica Hill, a Palawa woman and contemporary Aboriginal artist. The business started in 2020 as a way of keeping the memory of her little daughter Briar alive after she was born sleeping.
Briar Blooms’ journey has led them to present A Healing Journey: a virtual expo of work by Domica Hill, created in loving memory of Briar Primrose Hill.
Jacinta Keefe is a proud Wiradjuri woman and experienced photographer living and working in Naarm (Melbourne).
Jacinta’s business is a one-woman operation that specialises in live music and events. However, she can also be called on for corporate events and headshots, art shows, public events, promotional portraits, stock and product photography.
Ngarga Warendj (Dancing Wombat) is the product of a partnership between Mick and Nicole Harding. Together, they create and supply a range of products and services.
Mick, a Taungurung man, is the artist behind Ngarga Warendj. Mick produces high-quality contemporary Indigenous art using designs based on traditional symbols from south-east Australia.
Ngarga Warendj offers products for your home, office, or as a corporate gift. They can also do bespoke logos, designs for reconciliation action plans and strategic plans, and even public art installations.
When Gerrbik Laundry Services (formerly Complete Workwear) started in 1979, the business was Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned commercial laundry. Now, the 2-factory commercial launder and dry cleaner is owned and run by the founder’s daughter Nicole Stewart, a proud Taungurung woman.
Gerrbik means family in the Taungurung language and that’s how Nicole regards her customers and staff.
The business offers employment opportunities to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, including women who have escaped from domestic violence or who are seeking a fresh start after incarceration.
Follow them on Facebook.
Bundyi Girri Consulting is an award-winning First Nations-led initiative that helps non-Aboriginal businesses to build the skills they need to actively engage in Reconciliation.
The Melbourne-based business believes that Reconciliation requires specific skills and a shift in thinking and practices. By working closely with clients, they develop solutions and strategic plans that will work for each organisation.