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 Limited OAM’s
The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement.
The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) is awarded for service worthy of particular recognition.
We are proud to acknowledge the work of our Co-founders, Gary Morris and Valerie March who have both been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Gary Morris OAM (co-founder, Booroongen Djugun Limited)
Gary Morris, a Dunghutti Elder, was born at Kempsey District Hospital in 1954 and grew up on Burnt Bridge Mission. His mother is Aunty Maggie J Morris who was the patron of the Gumbayngirr language and was recognised by the United Nations for her contribution to preserving Gumbayngirr language.
Gary is the co-founder of Booroongen Djugun Limited (BDL) (along with Val March), and is currently the CEO of the Organisation.
From an early age, Gary has been active politically at the grass level in Aboriginal affairs and is a strong advocate for his people. Gary is an campaigner for social change.
Valerie Mary March OAM JP (co-founder, Booroongen Djugun Limited)
Val March has a background in business development, management, and training and had developed and/or managed many businesses before arriving in Kempsey in 1988.
Val managed the Kempsey Branch of the Home Care Service of NSW which introduced her to Kempsey community based home support services for the aged and people with disabilities. Through this involvement, Val recognised that Aboriginal peoples of the Macleay area were not receiving adequate care services to meet their cultural and individual needs.
In the role of Director of Operations, Val supervised the services/sections of the organisation.
Since co-founding Booroongen Djugun, Val worked as an assessor, trainer and marker at Booroongen Djugun College where she taught both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, distance education programs and employees of both Booroongen Djugun and other organisations in the surrounding areas.