Our history and future

In the past

1988  Yarrabah Aboriginal Council commissioned a community health assessment and the development of a 5-year plan . 

1989  A Health Committee was formed

1980s When Yarrabah community members were fighting for self-determination, they saw the need for Aboriginal health to be in the hands and care of their own people and the concept a community-controlled health organisation was born.

1991 The Health Committee  was incorporated and became the Yarrabah Health Council. With funding for infrastructure from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and funds from the local Guyala Canteen operated under the Yarrabah Aboriginal Council (YAC), the Yarrabah Health Council was able to deliver its own Rheumatic Fever Project with the employment of one full-time and two part-time health workers. 

1995 Queensland Health funded a Suicide Prevention program.

1997 Feasibility study into the Health Council becoming community-controlled. The leaders and directors of the Health Council continued to lobby the government and philanthropic organisations to fund the vision. 

1999 Smithkline Beecham and the Department of Health and Ageing provided funding for the delivery of a Social Emotional Wellbeing Service and to employ an Office Manager and Finance Officer. 

2000 Yarrabah Health Council changed its name to Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation.

During the next few years up until 2006, Gurriny began to grow and was able to deliver health promotion programs, an outreach pharmacy service in partnership with a pharmacy from Cairns, and a patient transport service for Yarrabah clients to attend medical clinics in Cairns. A youth crime prevention project commenced, and soon after a nutrition health worker joined the number of services operating through Gurriny. 

2006  Deed of Commitment signed between Gurriny, Yarrabah Aboriginal Council, the Gunggandji People, the Department of Health and Ageing, and Queensland Health to progress the vision of building a new primary health care facility for the Yarrabah people. At this time, clinical health services were being delivered primarily by Queensland Health and a local GP practice.

2009 Gurriny delivered its first primary healthcare service from the old community health building on Workshop Street in the main township area. Gurriny employed an Indigenous Health Worker, a Clinic Practice Manager, and a General Practitioner with funding from the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH). 

2010 Gurriny co-located with Queensland Health and Queensland Ambulance Service to the new purpose-built, primary healthcare facility at Bukki Road, Mourigan. The site was chosen to accommodate the growing community along the southern corridor and for health services to be at a central location for better accessibility. 

2014 On 1 July all healthcare services to Yarrabah people were transitioned across to community-control under Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation. This meant that Yarrabah people could be better involved in the strategic direction and decisions for improved healthcare and how it was going to be delivered in our community. This movement also came off the back of Yarrabah having the highest rate of suicide in a short timeframe compared to anywhere else in the world at the time.

2020 Gurriny has grown considerably in size and capacity since transition to community-control in 2014, with staffing more than doubling from 37 to 95.

2021 Gurriny opened a state-of-the-art clinic in Workshop Road, Yarrabah. This new clinic significantly increased the access of our services to the community.

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation (GYHSAC) is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service delivering Primary Health Care Services within the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire. 

  • The Health Service was the first community-controlled health organisation in Australia to deliver primary health services in an Aboriginal Community. 

  • A Board of Directors, that includes members of the Yarrabah community governs the organisation. 

  • Gurriny is a member of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) alliance and Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC).

  • The original and early role of the Yarrabah Health Committee was to provide a community voice for health care and deliver a rheumatic heart program, this was later expanded to include a life promotion program. 

  • Today the core business of Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services is to provide a culturally sensitive, multipurpose primary health care service for the community with the primary focus being on preventative health care including strategies that target early intervention.
In 2020, Gurriny operates multiple clinical services and programs that address health issues in Yarrabah, employing up to  100 staff,  70% of whom are locals of Yarrabah.

READ MORE: Governance - Our Board & Membership 

Today, and everyday, at Gurriny our core values underpin everything we do.