Our History

Booroongen Djugun Limited (BDL).

It was 1988 when Gary Morris and Val March first crossed paths. Newly arrived in Kempsey, Val was volunteering at the local youth centre where Gary was working.

By June 1988, Val was manager of Home Care NSW, but was concerned the organisation was not meeting the needs of Aboriginal members of the community.  Val approached Gary for assistance. Thus began a working relationship that has endured for the past 20 years and enabled the establishment of Booroongen Djugun Limited.

In 1989 Gary Morris and Val March, along with other health and welfare workers, called a public meeting to discuss the development of an Aboriginal Aged Care Facility.

The idea for the design of the aged care facility came from the views and opinions held by the Elders.  For the Elders, the totems of fire, water, earth, and sun were seen as having strong ties to traditional life.  To meet their needs, extensive consultation has taken place at a grass roots level.  This has allowed an aged care facility to be developed that reflects the spiritual feelings connected with the traditions and customs of Aboriginal people.

Val March OAM and Gary Morris OAM with ‘Official Opening’ stone

BDL opened its business operations in June 1991.  The first of its community-based services commenced in 1992.  The College conducted its first community outreach training in 1994, and in 1997 the Corporation welcomed the Aboriginal community and Kempsey community to the official opening of BDL’s aged care facility.

Booroongen Djugun Aboriginal Corporation (BDL) is a multi-award winning organisation which has twice been selected as a regional winner of the Australia’s Holiday Coast Development Board’s ‘Business of the Year’ in 1997 and 2000 in recognition of the Corporation’s best practices in planning, management and service delivery.  BDL has also won the “Achievement, Innovation & Excellence in Business” and “Excellence in Business Award for New Businesses” at a regional level.

In 2004, the College won a national Award “Australian Indigenous Community Provider of the Year 2004”.  In 2009, the Corporation won the Macleay Valley Business Award for “Outstanding Aboriginal Achievement’. The Corporation have won more than 24 awards on a local, regional, state and national level since 1995 (see Awards).

In 2011, Gary Morris and Val March were both awarded the Order of Australia Medals (OAM) for services to the Indigenous community, with particular emphasis on their contribution to the establishment of Booroongen Djugun Limited.