Indigenous art donation unveiled at the aboriginal health college

The cerony was attended by a crowd of dignitaries and also featured a donation to the AHC of a large piece of Indigenous art from the Holden family and the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI).The artwork titled Journey Tracks to Sacred Sites by Indigenous artist Mr Tony Scorby was unveiled by eritus Professor Brian Layland. Fittingly, the cerony was held in the Layland Auditorium of the college confirming Layland’s long-term commitment to, and direct involvent in, aboriginal eye care in Redfern and rural and rote NSW.Many mbers of the extended Holden family, including matriarch Ms Yvonne Holden, were present. The local federal mber, Mr Matt Thistlethwaite, Mr Paul Lynch a former Labor state minister for Aboriginal Affairs and current state shadow Attorney General, and Mr Tony Burke, the shadow minister for the Arts and Multiculturalism, were also in attendance.The MC for the event was Mrs Christine Corby OAM, Chair of the Board of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) and CEO of the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS).Meanwhile, CEO of the BHVI Professor Kovin Naidoo, represented the donor and outlined the current involvent of the BHVI with the AHC. A proud claim by the AHC is that it is a place where Aboriginal health education is in Aboriginal hands. Naidoo raised the continuing issues of ‘quality of life’ and life expectancy among Indigenous peoples and restated the BHVI’s role in providing good vision for all.


Christine Corby Peter McKenzie            Sandra Bailey Brian Layland

Naidoo was followed by Ms Sandra Bailey, CEO of the AH&MRC of NSW, who has been involved with Aboriginal health for 31 years. Bailey has been particularly active in trying bridge the cultural gap between peoples.eritus Professor Layland then regaled the audience with stories of his involvents with Holden commencing at City University in London in January 1969 where Holden was completing a PhD. Later they were involved with optometric politics as NSW AOA (as it was then) councillors.However, it was cyclone Tracy’s devastation of Darwin in 1974 that really got the ball rolling. Then Whitlam government Minister for Social Security, Mr Bill Hayden, contacted Layland about the number of Darwinians who were without spectacles, and therefore handicapped and less effective in the restoration of the city.Hayden knew Layland through the national AOA’s lobbying to get optometry into the proposed Medibank universal health insurance sche. Layland and Holden went to Darwin to address the probl. For the first time, they were also confronted by a significant number of Indigenous people and the probls they confronted on a daily basis.Eventually, Holden met with Corby and Bailey in Redfern as part of the WHO’s Vision 2020 initiative. That meeting resulted in an eyecare initiative that commenced in Decber 1999 in Walgett at the local AMS. Eyecare commenced at the Redfern AMS soon after.Following the presentations, Layland unveiled the artwork and Corby thanked the Holden family and the BHVI on behalf of the AHC. The artwork is now a permanent feature of the AHC.