Our History

Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre (ACMC) was first established as Gillawarra Aboriginal Medical Service in the mid-seventies after many years of lobbying, meetings, letters and threats.

Purfleet residents petitioned for the establishment of a fully equipped Medical Clinic on the Reserve – 1973

We are proud to say that Biripi ACMC is the second AMS to be established in NSW and we have been providing our community members since 1976 with Culturally Appropriate Health and Well-being Services.

‘Aunty Shirley Morris is one woman at Purfleet who went to many meetings of the Black Power Movement in the late 60’s along with the late Alice Briggs and Hughie Ridgeway as a driver. Setting off with no money for food or the return petrol but a passion in their hearts for equal rights for their people, they found support from within the movement, brothers and sisters from across Australia who had travelled as they had, to fight for their rights and seek land rights and justice. When the word went out and the hat went around there was enough money for them to eat and get home.

Gillawarra Clinic 1980

Photo from left: Dr Reese William Researcher – World Health Organisation on Aboriginal Peoples and Diabetes, Aunty Janice Paulson – Nurse Aid, Uncle Jimmy Morris, Aunty Pamela Davis-Saunders – Nurse Aid.

Aunty Shirley was the spokesperson for Purfleet, she spoke of the needs of the Purfleet community. “A medical service, for the kids who had sores and scabies, and our own shop so we could keep the money in our community.” Back at Purfleet, meetings were held in the old preschool to inspire and motivate people to fight for services. Aunty Elsie Allen was secretary to Alice Briggs and spent many long hours at meetings and writing letters to government departments and politicians.

Sister Rennee Harper and Alice Briggs had discussions with Manning River District Hospital and in the late seventies Dr Paul Cooper started practice three days a week at Purfleet. Mrs Pat Davis – Hurst as community nurse was on hand to liaise with the Aboriginal community and the service.

From humble beginnings, Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre now employs over 100 staff in the area, and has 4 divisions dedicated to help our Aboriginal community.

It is important to not forget the people who had this vision and made it happen. We thank them for creating a lasting legacy, we acknowledge and respect our Elders past and present for fighting to get us to where we are today, we will keep going from strength to strength, this is our mob, and this is our way, and we are here to stay!

Official Opening of Biripi AMS – 1986

Photo from left: Bob Davis (CEO), Aunty Gwen Troutman (Receptionist), Aunty Barbara Clarke OAM (Chairperson) Longest standing board member, Aunty Eunice Briggs (Elder) – Aunty Alice Briggs Mother. On the plaque at front: Biripi Medical Centre dedicated to the late founder Alice Briggs. Officially opened by Matron Martin (Mc Mullen) on the 28th June, 1996

Purfleet Baby Health Centre established in 1973, was a dispensary clinic and is still in use today for Biripi services.

Gathering near the Jacaranda tree which is a site of significance to our Biripi people it is located on the grounds at the Clinic this photo was taken in 1987

Photo from top row: Sonny Paulson, Jason Saunders, Pastor Russell Saunders, and Carmen Saunders
Middle row: Peter Smith, Richard Donovan Jnr, Gloria Donovan, Bob Davis, and Haley Davis
Front row centre: Brandon Troutman and Gillian Donovan

I would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present We respect and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on this land.

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

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