What’s better than a coffee that tastes good? A coffee that does good.
Swinburne's newest space on campus, Yarrwinbu, (‘enjoy’ in Woi Wurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation) is home to a social enterprise, Co-Ground, which will open on 9 August.
Students, staff and visitors will find it on the bottom floor of the AR Building, next to the Astronomy Lecture Theatre and opposite the Moondani Toombadool Centre.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Engagement, Professor John Evans says that beyond incredible specialty coffee and affordable eats, the café will be a thriving social enterprise for our local Indigenous community.
“I am proud of Swinburne’s deep and meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” says Professor Evans.
“The launch of social enterprise, Co-Ground – in our newly named space, Yarrwinbu – will open up new development and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. It establishes a culturally safe place for all people to come together and – as the name ‘Yarrwinbu’ suggests – enjoy the coffee, the food and the beautiful Indigenous mural that tells the story of the land and the Wurundjeri People.”
Good coffee beyond the tastebuds
Swinburne has long wanted to bring an Indigenous café to campus.
Co-Ground have come to the table to help make this dream a reality. They are a social enterprise where 100% of profits generated support local and global projects to improve access to education, employment, health and sanitation.
For this latest venture, they will work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to fund training, leadership and employment programs that provide the space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to connect, gain skills, confidence and self-determination.
The hospitality training and mentoring program will take place both within the new café and off-site. It will be run in partnership with Indigenous partner organisations.
The café will prioritise Indigenous employment, Indigenous suppliers, and will stock Indigenous products where possible.
It will also support Swinburne’s Indigenous events calendar.
A place for community
The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation guided the creation and naming of Yarrwinbu as a unique culturally safe place on campus that brings everyone together to share stories and enjoy amazing coffee. From the suggested names, Swinburne Indigenous staff voted, and an overwhelming majority chose ‘Yarrwinbu’, which means ‘enjoy’ in Woi Wurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
As you enter Co-Ground, you are greeted by a stunning mural called ‘The Birrarung Bend’ covering the entire wall alongside the entrance, painted by Yorta Yorta artist, Mandi Barton.
“I’ve drawn from the local area, Wurundjeri country, to represent the land as a meeting place for the Swinburne community to come together to share stories and enjoy a feed,” says Mandi.
“The artwork features the bend of the Birrarung (Yarra) River, with Swinburne represented by the large circle central to the painting. The lines represent meeting places and people passing by.“