About Us

1998 floods

Wurli during the 1998 floods

Wurli clinic at Kalano

Wurli clinic at Kalano Community 1980’s

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 facilities.

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.