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How vaccine mandates crushed an Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Victoria

Eric, a Gamilaraay man, moved to Yorta Yorta country for fruit picking work back in the day and one of the local elders, Uncle Les Saunders, discovered Eric paints pictures and pulled him under his wing. This friendship led to collaboration and emplacement for Eric, and helped establish a hive of cultural activity in the region, aided by Angie and Mandy, a Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman. Over many years, Eric, Angie and Mandy worked together to build the profiles of numerous local Aboriginal artists and develop an important cultural hub recognised across Australia and around the world. But then the vaccine mandates came into force in late 2021. This is the story of loss and dismissal, and the crushing of a vibrant Aboriginal cultural centre.

You can listen to the audio-only version here:


Many apologies to those who have been waiting for captions on our videos. Please know we are working on it and we’ll start to include them shortly.

A big hearty thanks to Angie, Eric and Mandy for offering their story, and to Miles for his two-camera magic, once again.

We look forward to bringing you Part 2 shortly. In the meantime we welcome your comments, your shares and your support so we can continue to help share these important untold stories. If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like to be alerted to Part 2.

Signing off with autumnal love,
Patrick, Meg, Blackwood and Zero


  1. Cooked Chook says:

    Guys that was heart rending stuff. The cruelty and wilful ignorance in the face of all the available evidence just beggars belief.
    People are scrambling for a fourth shot of a vaccine that is tuned for s variant that no longer exists, in sheer terror. Not these people, they are brave!

    Some ethical considerations I came across the other day put together by a bloke called Madhava Setty.

    1 -Covid Deaths are Presumed or correlated, but vaccine deaths must be causally proved.

    2-VAERS / DAENS databases used to interrogate myocarditis, but declared unreliable in relation to vaccine deaths.

    3-Relative risk used to determine vaccine efficacy, absolute risk used to downplay risk of adverse events

    4-Randomised control studies required for early treatments, but not for boosters.

    5-FDA used Immunobridging to justify Pfizer shots for kids, but rejects antibodies as indicative of immune protection from Covid.

    6-Causation must be proven for vaccine injuries, correlation suffices for proving efficacy.

    1. Thanks CC, we were also moved by Eric, Angie and Mandy’s story. Only a rigorous, transparent and independent 4th Estate with multiple prongs would thoroughly investigate these six important considerations you’ve quoted here. We think it’s a combo of embarrassment, saving face, peer pressure or having to defend one’s militancy/fervency in joining the mob on mandates that stops so many from ‘fessing up to the systemic abuse of rights that is still largely invisible in the nation-state of Australia.

    2. Many artists in Victoria have had their arts careers crushed without any job-keeper or job-seeker. I have a genuine medical exemption, but was still vilified for it ! 40 years (next January) I founded the Open Studio programs in Australia, & our program was the first one to start through the Shire councils in Australia. So I was unceremoniously booted out after putting in decades of honorary hours, weeks, years in design, organising, mentoring & coordinating. I’m on 2 art boards for the Shire, & have done that since 1977 in an honorary capacity but still not allowed into the Shire offices without an updated medical certificate.

      1. Thanks for sharing a little of your story here, Ona. So many highly principled people who have served their communities for decades have been treated appallingly over this time. Many friends are still economically shafted by the Andrews government, but we’re sure the 10th booster is more effective than the 9th. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s profits soar, but nothing to see there, right? Because of what we have witnessed in this pandemic we will never touch a single needle made by Pharma again, not even tetanus (we will use homemade megadose Vit C instead), our trust in public health officials has bottomed out to zero. Sending much love and solidarity.

  2. Kate Beveridge says:

    Thank you for sharing this guys. A big thankyou to Angie, Eric and Mandy for you courage and strength. I wish you well.
    Regards Kate

    1. Thanks Kate, hopefully we’ll do a follow up video after they’ve been to the federal court. Stand by for Part 2 next week, where we hear from human rights scholar, Anna who is working with Eric, Angie and Mandy and a lawyer to prepare their case.

  3. Joshua says:

    Thank you for sharing this story xx

    1. Joshua says:

      Also thanks for the audio version, perfect for an off grid bush hermit like me with little reception.

      1. Glad the audio is helpful, Joshua. 🙏🏽

    2. Our pleasure, Josh.

  4. SueS says:

    Breaks my heart hearing people’s stories of the boot squashing their faces to the gravel. But mends it too — I still can’t get my head around the complicity, two years later and trying to find helpful ways to ease the rage. I think hearing others’ stories is one of those ways and I’m so glad I’ve found your blog in recent months so I can sit around the digital fireside. A big hug to all the brain-minced holding their own ground.

    1. Thanks Sue, yes in the colonial outpost countries like Oz, NZ and Canada, where we haven’t really developed a culture of criticality to address big geopolitical issues, we have been found wanting. These three countries are probably the most kidult, capitulating to the paternalistic state at the sound of a giant (coordinated) boo. Oh, the human rights ground we’ve given away bc of this lack of criticality is so alarming.

  5. Alison King says:

    Such an important story to share. Thank you Eric, Angie and Mandy for sharing your experience. And, a big thank you to Artist as Family. Keep doing what you do. X

    1. And a huge thanks to you dear Ali for your generous contribution so their story could be told. x

  6. Katherine says:

    It’s heartbreaking to be removed from work, livelihood and community. I could really relate to this story as such a similar thing happened in the small Steiner community preschool I worked for. The parent management committee fired several of us too, no negotiation of unpaid leave or alternative roles were considered. These were the parents of children in our care. It was a devastating betrayal and a shock.

    It’s even worse to see this happening in Indigenous organisations where there should be an understanding of the harms of segregation and discrimination. Thanks for telling this story.

    1. Thank you for sharing a little of your story here, Katherine. We hear your betrayal and shock. Anna, a human rights scholar supporting Eric, Mandy and Angie with paralegal representation, may be useful to listen to in part 2 (now published). Sending much love and solidarity.

  7. Al says:

    Thankyou for sharing this story.
    A really great interview. A terrible story of the deeply unjust treatment of these three lovely people but also very inspiring seeing their conviction and courage.

    1. Thanks Al, yes unjust treatment, absolutely. Thank you for seeing it and not turning away. So much unseeing is occurring at the moment.

  8. Annabella Bray says:

    Would love to hear some follow up on this story now the mandates have been lifted in Victoria. Will the court case go ahead? Will the art centre re-employ Eric, Mandy & Angie? Do they even want to go back after the way they’ve been treated? All power to everyone involved ❤🖤💛

    1. Thanks Annabella, we aim to follow up with Angie, Eric, Anna and Mandy at some point. We got the impression back then when we filmed their story they couldn’t go back to the art centre they’d raised from the ground up because of the way they were treated by the board. But they were hoping to be compensated and to start their own independent gallery. We hope this wish progresses.

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