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Aboriginal Medical Service
21 Jul 2014
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The Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) was established in Redfern from 1971. It was the first Aboriginal community controlled health service in Australia, and it is now a key Indigenous community organisation, from which most Aboriginal medical services around the State of New South Wales have stemmed. The AMS pioneered the concept of Aboriginal community-controlled health care, and as part of its broader objectives, the AMS aims to improve the health standards in Aboriginal communities across Australia.


The project had distinctly co-operative beginnings. Its foundation was led by Mum (Shirl) Smith, Ken Brindle and Chicka and Elsa Dixon. It was set up by Gordon Briscoe, Dr. Ferry Grundseit, the late Dr. Fred Hollows and Shirley Smith, who were all concerned with the serious health problems of Aboriginal Australians in Sydney. Its growth was encouraged by Redfern parish priest Fr Ted Kennedy.

 The Sisters of Mercy donated the property in which the Aboriginal Medical Service had been established to the Redfern Aboriginal community in 1978. The service now provides medical, dental, aged care, drug and alcohol services to around 55,000 patients each year. The modern centre was designed by Merrima company, and built on the donated land adjacent to the St Vincent's Roman Catholic community including the church, presbytery, convent and school built around 1887.

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