The Gindaja Treatment and Healing Centre in Yarrabah, the only Aboriginal community controlled Alcohol and Other Drugs residential service in Far North Queensland, has undergone a significant operational and physical transformation over the past 40 years.

The Yarrabah community first identified the need for a local service that would provide support for Yarrabah people who were battling with alcohol and drug dependency in the late 1970s to early 1980s.

Gindaja first started operating in an original single level building, built by the local Yarri people. It still stands today as the training room for the Gindaja team.

Today, Gindaja has 17 beds at its Residential Centre and another 10 beds as part of its Step Up supported accommodation program. Overall, Gindaja supports approximately 80 clients a year.

Gindaja has received capital works funding to upgrade the Centre, which is a 10-minute drive outside of the main township of Yarrabah and sits on approximately 10,000sqm of land.

The new Learning and Wellbeing Centre, which is still under construction but nearing completion, supports about 175 clients in its day programs. While this service has operated for the past 15 years, it is the first time it has had its own building.

Gindaja’s new Learning and Wellbeing Centre.

Gindaja now has more than 50 staff (most of whom are local Yarri people, with only three non-Indigenous staff); its own client programs, which have been created and written by staff; and five service areas (residential and day based).

Gindaja also auspices the Yarrabah Justice Service which has been operating from within its residential centre. The Service will move into its own office space later this year.