3 mins read

Now More Than Ever: Indigenous Allyship at Peter Mac

New Peter Mac RAP Allies Network

In an important step toward reconciliation, Peter Mac has established a new Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Allies Network. This will complement the inaugural First Nations Employment Strategy, which was launched at the end of 2023.

What We Do

The RAP Allies are a group of passionate staff who are knowledgeable about Peter Mac’s Reconciliation commitments and interested in advocating for greater cultural safety in their work areas. Their role is to amplify the voices of First Nations staff and patients, raise awareness of cultural safety, advocate for change and celebrate significant events and milestones.

The Allies Network met for the first time in March, inviting Uncle James Williams from Peter Mac’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee to speak to his vision for Reconciliation. Everyone had a fantastic yarn with James, and this year, the RAP Allies are taking an active role in collaboratively preparing for National Reconciliation Week.

Our Plan of Action

During National Reconciliation Week, we’ve planned activities across Peter Mac’s six campuses. These will explore what it means to Acknowledge Country and highlight the history and importance of this protocol.

Want to learn more about the First Nations Employment Strategy or RAP Allies Network? Check out Peter Mac’s Diversity and Inclusion Careers page.

RAP Artwork Scrubs

To symbolise Reconciliation, we’ve also worked with Aboriginal artist Marcus Lee and Aboriginal-owned manufacturer The Thread Group to create custom scrubs. These provide the perfect way for staff to literally wear their respect and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their sleeves.

Aboriginal artist Marcus Lee's artwork for Peter Mac scrubs












The background of the artwork depicts a possum skin cloak that is laid out, showing the possum pelts sewn together. The five outer coloured forms represent the bringing together of the five language groups of the Kulin Nation. These interconnecting shapes and the radiating line work within symbolise the communication lines between patients and staff, with staff listening to their patients. Pathways lead to the centre of the design, symbolising Peter Mac as the gathering place.

This concept visually expresses Peter Mac as a culturally safe place, providing a sense of belonging, understanding, compassion, warmth and empathy for first Nations people experiencing cancer, and their families.

Launch of New Men’s Possum Skin Cloak

Male First Nations patients can now be wrapped in the wings of Bundjil when they are receiving care at Peter Mac and The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

In a very special smoking ceremony, The Royal Melbourne and Peter Mac recently welcomed a new possum skin cloak featuring a striking image of Bundjil the wedge-tailed eagle, creator of the Kulin nation’s lands and people.

The cloak is a joint project between Peter Mac and the Royal Melbourne Hospital and was funded by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).

It was made by First Nations patients and their family members along with Uncle James Williams from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, Colin Darcy from Cancer Council Victoria, Grady Walsh from RMH, Zarayn Knight from Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Natashia Ellis-Corrigan who facilitated the two-day workshop.

The new cloak joins one that was previously made for women. Both cloaks are now housed in the main atrium at Peter Mac, ready for use by patients. The cloaks are available to all Aboriginal people to wear or place over their beds while receiving treatment. Possum skin cloaks hold deep cultural and symbolic significance, serving as a connection to Country and community.

Find out more about this project by visiting the National Indigenous Times and RMH News websites today!

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