Unlocking the Potential of the Future

The Foundation has grown out of a community organisation, the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne. This organisation identified over a number of years, the gaps that existed in the services available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in regard to educational opportunities in Melbourne and across Victoria.

These gaps are addressed in the purposes of the Foundation, for it is clear that, notwithstanding the existing services available, a particular effort is needed to financially assist and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to achieve the highest possible academic results consistent with their non Aboriginal peers.

The achievement of a successful and culturally appropriate academic experience, and the subsequent accompaniment of growth in self-esteem, provides the future potential to radically alter the systemic and generational disadvantage currently being experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Foundation Launch

On Saturday, August 4 2001, Aboriginal children’s Day at 11am at the Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, the keeping Koorie Kids in Catholic Education was officially launched by Archbishop Denis Hart.

The two Co-Patrons of the Foundation, Professor Joy Murphy Wandin and Emeritus Archbishop Sir Frank Little were in attendance with the Trustees of the Foundation; John Arthur, Melissa Brickell, Pat Fitzgerald, Kevin Messer, Carol Messer, Vicki Walker, with an apology from Joyce Smith.

The 110 guests included Elders and members of the Aboriginal community of Victoria, the Director of CEO Melbourne, members of religious orders, members of the clergy, general public and State Government. Mr Alf Bamblett, Director of the Aborigines advancement League, was the Master of Ceremonies and Joy Murphy conducted the Welcome to Country and the ceremonial smoking of the Foundation Trust Deeds.


Members of the Birri-on-lakidjeka dance troupe performed, and Troy Brickell accompanied the ceremony with the didgeridoo. There was a general atmosphere of excitement and positive achievement that this long-held dream of the members of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry and the Binnap Partners was coming to fruition.

Vicki Walker spoke of the Foundation as being a community response to a strongly expressed community need; this aspect of community was extended by Archbishop Hart who spoke of the Foundation now being a responsibility of the Catholic community of Victoria.

Kutcha Edwards sang the song, The Gift, a song that had been written in collaboration with Koorie students from the northern region of the Catholic schools of Melbourne. It is a beautiful song, capturing the spirit of reconciliation and the essence of the GIFT that our children are to the whole community.

Alf Bamblett emphasised the fact that the Koorie community has a high proportion of its population under 10 years of age offering much scope for the Foundation into the future! The Foundation now moves into its next and most important phase: that of building up its revenue base so that it can be a positive empowering factor in giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families a choice in educating their children well into the future. Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne, 6 August 2001.


It is the intention of the Opening the Doors Foundation that the Indigenous youth of Victoria will be proud of what it does in offering them an educational opportunity that will make a real and tangible diffierence in their lives.


The Foundation covers the extra costs associated with schooling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families where costs are not otherwise funded by government or other educational funding sources, such as school uniforms, books, school camps and other school associated costs.


The Opening the Doors Foundation was launched on 4 August 2001 – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day by Archbishop Denis Hart at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.


In 2008 the Opening the Doors Foundation received a grant from the Brotherhood of St Laurence to create a DVD to showcase the work of the Foundation in the Victorian community. It lets the people who receive funding, or those involved in ways such as community Elders or Koorie Educators give their view on the importance of the Foundation. So whether you are considering donating, thinking about applying, a regular donor or supporter watch the video

So here's a few examples of how your generous donations make make a difference:

$800 funds a secondary students booklist for a year
$750 dresses a student in their winter uniform
$500 covers extra tuition for VCAL subjects
$450 provides musical instruments and/or lessons
$300 sends a student on school camp
$200 provides a calculator for a secondary student
$100 provides a new pair of school or gym shoes
$80 supplies a student with a new school bag
$20 buys a school hat


The office of the Opening the Doors foundation is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung People of the Kulin Nations. Opening the Doors Foundation acknowledges the traditional owners of ancestral lands across Australia. Respecting Elders past and present and local Aboriginal Custodians.


Phone 03 9443 9070



434 St Georges Rd
Thornbury VIC 3071




Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website may contain images of deceased persons

© 2018 | Opening The Doors Foundation