Victorian Aboriginal Health Service - VAHS

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) has been providing holistic health services and caring for community for over 50 years.

VAHS Vision: Creating and inspiring healthy Aboriginal people and families through quality, effective community health services, education, and training. VAHS will achieve this with a flexible approach that is innovative, embraced by community, and sets a standard as a Centre for Excellence for Aboriginal Health internationally.

VAHS Purpose: To achieve the best possible health and social and emotional wellbeing outcomes for our people.

VAHS Principles:

  • Aboriginal Community Control
  • Holistic Health
  • Wellbeing and Healing
  • Self-Determined Health
  • Cultural Integrity

VAHS Values:

  • Respectful and Caring
  • Collaborative and Inclusive
  • Accountable and Responsible
  • Learning and Sharing
  • Honest and Trustworthy
  • Strength in Diversity

For more information on VACCA’s vision and principles see our Strategic Plan 2017-2022.

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Image: VAHS Fitzroy Office. Source: The Citizen


Following concerns regarding poverty, high mortality rates, burden of disease and ill health Aboriginal leaders, including Aunty Alma Thorpe and Uncle Bruce McGuiness, established the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service in July of 1973.

First, there was a community meeting held to discuss plans for the establishment of the VAHS building and they began providing services from 229 Gertrude St Fitzroy. The following year, a dental surgery joins the range of services VAHS provides.

Since establishing in 1973, VAHS has been embedded and connected to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for five decade – VAHS CEO Michael Graham

Following this VAHS went on to host a national workshop, endorse a halfway house, assist mob in Port Augusta in setting up their own health service, and moved to a larger property - 136 Gertrude St Fitzroy. In the 80s VAHS were faced with possible closure and staff worked without pay to ensure community still had access to their necessary services. There was also a change of funding bodies with VAHS now sitting under the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. The 90s saw VAHS move location again, this time to 186 Nicholson St Fitzroy where they continue to operate today.

For more information see About VAHS.

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Image: VAHS Logo. Source: VAHS Facebook

VAHS Today

Today VAHS operates out of several locations – Fitzroy, Preston, Epping, and the newest location, St Albans. They provide a range of programs and services, including Medical, Dental, Counselling, Women’s and Childrens Programs, Men’s Programs.

For 50 years VAHS has been looking after mob with community even calling it a ‘home away from home’. VAHS operates as the oldest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in Victoria, and second oldest in the country, and remains dedicated to ‘delivering culturally safe and life-saving health care to ensure thriving, healthy communities.’

For more information see our website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.