Our History

Our History

Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service had its origins in the Kalano Health
Service, which itself was part of an Australia-wide surge in the
development of Aboriginal community-controlled health services in the
early 1980s.

At that time Aboriginal people were not accessing the mainstream health
system, for a variety of reasons. There was a need for a health service
where Aboriginal clients felt welcome and comfortable. A new health
centre building was opened at Kalano in the early 1980s, and staff began
work among the Aboriginal population in the town of Katherine and in the
camps and living areas.

In 1993 Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service was separately incorporated,
taking its name and logo from the mosquito dreaming which was a
symbol of the Jawoyn land where it was originally situated. In 1995 Wurli-
Wurlinjang moved to its current premises in Third Street Katherine,
thereby improving its access to all Aboriginal people in the town.
Over the years Wurli has moved to a greater focus on the underlying
determinants of health, establishing specialised programs for men’s
health, mental health and family wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs,
tobacco control and others. These programs have required their own
facilities and now Wurli delivers services from a number of locations
across Katherine. And while we continue to deliver general and acute
care at our main clinic in Third Street, one of our busiest locations now is
Gudbinji, in Kintore Street, where clients with chronic conditions receive a
model of care appropriate to their needs.

Population growth, increased availability of health funding through
the Commonwealth Government, the need for more specific targeting
of illness, and Wurli’s desire to provide better services to its clients,
have now led our organisation to consider further growth of our

Planning is underway to redevelop the main Wurli campus in Third
Street, and this project will dominate our infrastructure development
for years to come.

Established over 40 years ago we are one of Australia’s most
mature and experienced Aboriginal Community Controlled Health
Organisation (ACCHO). Wurli currently delivers a wide range of
effective, quality, culturally appropriate and progressive health
care services to over 7,671 regular and transient Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander clients from Katherine and surround
communities. Wurli also auspices the Binjari Health Service which
provides comprehensive primary health care services to the Binjari
Community with a population of approximately 300 located 15
kilometres west of Katherine.

Wurli clinic at Kalano Community 1980's

Wurli during the 1998 floods