Brendan Hoy with WCLP '12 in northern Victoria

1 August 2012 By Brendan Hoy

Participants in LV’s Williamson Community Leadership Program participate in a range of learning activities including field trips. Recently participants in WCLP ’12 visited several aboriginal communities in northern Victoria. Here Brendan Hoy reflects on the experience:

Last Friday I woke with a sense of excitement that took me way back to my days of school camps and holiday adventures. Departing bright and early at 7:00am, the WCLP group headed north for a field trip focusing on Social Change in northern Victoria.

After a short detour into NSW (I wondered whether LV were mounting a takeover bid?) we arrived at the Yenbena Indigenous Training Centre in Barmah and were welcomed to country:

"Welcome friend, come walk with us, the people of Yorta Yorta country. Respect all you see."

Immediately, we became aware of the importance of stories in Aboriginal culture:

"If you don't know where you've come from you don't know where you are going."

Stories of dispossession, absorption, assimilation and segregation became very real as we stepped through the two hundred years of Australia's treatment of Aboriginal communities. It was soon clear that the invitation to ‘come walk with us’ would be confronting.

Our next stop was Shepperton to visit Ganbina. Ganbina is an organisation focusing on proactive measures that challenge the status quo by closing the gap on Aboriginal education levels and mortality rates. It was as inspiring as it was practical, or maybe it was inspiring because it was practical.

By the end of the day there was no doubt in our minds that we've come from two hundred years of shocking treatment of Aboriginal people. While we can’t undo this, understanding where we’ve come from, gives a strong vision of where we can go. And it’s successes like Ganbina that give us hope.

Brendan is the Head of Relationship Sales, Corporate and Commercial Banking at ANZ and the proud father of five beautiful daughters.