AWAHS is a not-for-profit organisation that was established to cater for the primary healthcare needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families.
Albury Wodonga is a designated Aboriginal resettlement area, since the late 1960’s and early 1970’s as deemed by the government of the era, highlighting that Aboriginal families would have greater access to education, health, employment and other essential services.
Over the past 30 years the local Albury Wodonga Aboriginal community, which comprises over 50 different language groups, lobbied various governments to establish a community-owned Aboriginal Health Service.
In 2001, a partnership between Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation, Wandoo Aboriginal Corporation and Woomera Aboriginal Corporation was founded, enabling these organisations to undertake a project to establish the gaps in Aboriginal healthcare. Later in 2001, the Koori Cross Border Health Plan was developed – a report highlighting the dire health statistics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and addressed the urgency for a dedicated Aboriginal Health Service that would help meet the needs of community and improve health outcomes, locally.
A steering committee was formed off the findings of the report, and with assistance from the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) of NSW, Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS) was created.
The Health Service was incorporated in September 2003 under the New South Wales Incorporations Act after nearly 32 years of lobbying by various Aboriginal community members and community groups. On June 27, 2005, Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service commenced as a fully operational, accessible and dedicated service.
In 2007, AWAHS was awarded a bursary to develop a purpose-built facility through a joint venture between The Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) and NSW Health.
On August 26, 2009, AWAHS officially opened its new building to the community.
In 2013, AWAHS received another grant to build a second stage to the existing building at the Glenroy site as service had outgrown the buildings capacity.
The second stage building works was completed in 2014.
Further Commonwealth expansion funding was received in 2019 to establish a medical site in Wodonga. AWAHS then opened its 12 Stanley Street site in 2020.
AWAHS has since purchased 25 Hovell Street to be its future Wodonga location. Building will commence on this site in 2024.
Since 2005, the organisation has continued to expand to include diverse programs and holistic health and wellbeing services and care to community across 3 cross-border operational sites – Glenroy, Wodonga and Wangaratta, with outreach services to surrounding regions.
Today, AWAHS employs over 75 staff and provides accessible, primary healthcare to advise over 4000 patients.