Community Profiles


Located 40 kilometres outside the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Sunbury lies in the North-West region of Victoria. Sunbury itself is the traditional area of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and is home to several important Aboriginal archaeological sites. Defined as a developing region, Sunbury’s population, which currently sits at 36,000, is predicted to double in the next 25 years. The development in the region has created a diverse age demographic. Newer young families now join together with generational locals to call Sunbury home.

The community itself is known for its strong social fabric and culture of supporting community. Sunbury citizens are always ready and willing to put up their hands. A prime example Sunbury’s commitment to building a strong and healthy community is the creation of their neighbourhood kitchen designed to supply those in need with a meal. When this social initiative started, three people were turning up for weekly meals. Now 170+ come down every week, and not just for the meals but also for the conversations and community connections they make.  Another of Sunbury’s community assets is their passion of history and commitment to restore and maintain their historical landmarks particularly ‘Jackson’s Hill’.

Within Sunbury there is a cluster of two ABCDE Learning Sites – West Sunbury and Goonawarra. West Sunbury has a more central location to the town centre. Goonawarra is located on the outskirts of town in an area that was originally used for social housing.  Both ABCDE Learning Sites are located in communities which have neighbourhood houses that are regarded as the hub of activity in each area and share the same vision to build a healthy, strong and connected community.

Key Organisations:

Learning Sites Mission:

West Sunbury
To build a neighbourhood vibe within a community that don’t see themselves as a ‘West Sunbury’ community.

To get citizens passionate about a community often seen to be the “down and out” place to live.

Some Quick Facts for Sunbury:

  • Sunbury has a population of 36,000
  • 39% of households in Sunbury are couples with children
  • 15.1% of Sunbury residents are born overseas
  • An estimated 500 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people live in Sunbury.

Click here to view a short film introducing some Goonawarra residents.





Located south of Adelaide, the City of Onkaparinga is home to some of the nation’s best beaches and wine areas. It is South Australia’s most populated local government area.

The City of Onkaparinga is named after the Onkaparinga River, which spills from a steep gorge across the central plains to meet the coast at Port Noarlunga. The word ‘Onkaparinga’ means ‘the woman's river’ and is derived from the language of the Kaurna people – the Aboriginal people of the area.

The Community Connections Team at the City of Onkaparinga embeds asset based community development approaches in all aspects of their work. The purpose of their work is to support the development of community leadership and capacity building, creating sustainable outcomes in relation to quality of life by working together with individuals, community groups, human service organisations and businesses. They facilitate processes where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.

The Community Connections Team core work supports people to identify what they care about enough to act upon. They are in a position where they are able to bring together a variety of people for conversations over periods of time. This approach often results in the formation of friendships, network development, skill development and confidence building.

The Community Connections Team believe that everyone has strengths and resources to contribute and any resident participation is valuable. Through their work, the community is empowered to improve quality of life for themselves and others through coordinated approaches like connecting with each other, identifying assets and opportunities, understanding the issues, setting goals and identifying who else needs to get involved. The nature of this approach is inclusive, and they work in a manner that allows every resident in the community to participate.

For more information:

Key Organisations:

Learning Sites Mission:

We want to create strong communities across our region where people can take a lead role, participate in and contribute to our city. Our involvement with the learning sites initiative is to support the development of community leadership and capacity building, creating sustainable outcomes in relation to quality of life by working together with individuals, community groups, human service organisations and businesses.

Some Quick Facts for the City of Onkaparinga:

  • Area – 518 square km.
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD – 28 km.
  • Coastline – 35 km.
  • Population 170,000.
  • Sections of the City of Onkaparinga (mostly situated around Noarlunga Centre as traditionally this has had a concentration of public housing) are recognised within Adelaide as being highly disadvantaged and have become the target for new initiatives addressing social disadvantage.

City of Onkaparinga – Neighbourhood Development Program

This is an excellent link that describes the overarching framework within which City of Onkaparinga have set up their ABCDE Learning Sites initiative.  Also included is an amazing set of video case studies which capture some of the projects, how they have been instigated and their benefits. Well worth checking out.



Bass Coast Shire is home to beautiful beaches, world class events including the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and amazing natural attractions including the Penguin Parade and Koala Conservation Sanctuary. Our tourism website will give you an insight into our beautiful coastline, which alternates between rugged cliffs and endless beaches. Holiday towns which bustle during warmer months and exude an away-from-it-all ambience at other times. All within an easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne.

Those who live in Bass Coast will describe a vibrant art and sporting culture, the many volunteers and community groups, and the value these groups bring to the Shire. Council works alongside many community groups to help bring initiatives and projects to life. The Sustainability Festival, Landcare tree-planting, Friends of the Hooded Plovers, new Wonthaggi netball courts and the newest event on the social calendar, the Wonthaggi Laneways Festival are all prime examples of this.

Bass Coast Shire Council signed up to be one of the first Australian ABCDE Learning Sites after a visit from global ABCD practitioners Peter Kenyon and Cormac Russell in 2016. Community members and Council staff enjoyed the opportunity to participate in an ABCD Community Building Masterclass, talking about what makes Bass Coast a great place to live and how residents could make it even better. The success of this day led to a call from participants to continue this conversation further, hence the development of the Bass Coast Community Builders Network.

In 2017, the Community Builders Network will focus on supporting and enabling our existing community strengths: our local people and projects. This will happen by way of partnerships, support from Council staff and a range of learning and networking opportunities as requested by the community. Click here to see the Bass Coast Community Builders Network 2017 Learning Calendar. 

Bass Coast Shire Council respectfully acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which the Shire stands, the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung people.

Key Organisations:

Bass Coast Community Builders Network

Learning Sites Mission:

To engage with a border range of people in the community by delivering projects that a responsive to local needs and providing community groups with a variety of participation options which are flexible.

Some Quick Facts for the Bass Coast:

  • Currently the fastest growing area in regional Victoria, the estimated residential population for Bass Coast in 2015 was 32,033 people; although in peak season the population is almost triple that. This represents an 2% increase from the 29,614 people that were usually resident in Bass Coast on Census Night 2011.
  • The median age of people residing here is 45 years.
  • The age group with the most population is 60-64 years (2,394 persons).
  • Our most populous town is Wonthaggi (6,879) followed by Inverloch (4,960).
  • The average household size for the Shire is 2.2 persons.
  • The traditional industries of agriculture and tourism are complimented by growing construction, retail, health, education and emerging technology sectors.


The City of Whittlesea is located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and is one of Melbourne’s largest municipalities, covering nearly 500 square kilometres. The majority of the population live in the urban areas which are made up of well-established suburbs and a significant and rapidly expanding growth area. The rural areas are characterised by farming, forested areas and historic township communities. It is home to a higher than average number of families and young people and one of the most culturally diverse municipalities in Victoria with 34% of residents born overseas.

The City of Whittlesea is an ABCDE cluster with two distinct Learning Sites:

  • Mernda 1000 Voices Learning Site takes a place based approach. As a capacity building initiative, the project aims to work with community members to capture the aspirations of local residents and bring people with similar interests together in order to plan and action their ideas.  The 1000 Voices initiative is a partnership project with local residents, City of Whittlesea and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The Community Building Team (CBT) comprises several committed residents who are keen to engage and connect with the broader community to create a place of belonging for all.  It is the first time many of the CBT have been engaged in such an initiative.

Key Organisations:

City of Whittlesea

The Brotherhood of St Laurence

  • Green, Connected & Active Learning Site takes an interest based approach. It aims to facilitate linkages between community based conservation groups and community gardens across the municipality, enabling greater opportunities for community capacity building, sharing of resources and information and the potential for joint initiatives and future projects. Each community group involved in the project is unique and at different stages of development. They meet in their own space and undertake a variety of activities under their own governance structures.  This project also facilitates activity at the interface of different departments within the City of Whittlesea (Sustainability, Parks and Open Space, Community Inclusion, and more).

 Learning Sites Mission:

Mernda 1000 Voices: The vision was created by the Community Building Team.

To work with the Mernda community to learn about what people care about, how we want to connect with others and what we are all willing to contribute to build a community that we are proud of.

Green, Connected & Active:

To build a network of “green” community groups that want to connect with each other to share and build upon experiences, resources and ideas.

Some Quick Facts for the City of Whittlesea:

  • One of the most culturally diverse municipalities in Victoria.
  • The Wurundjeri Willum people are the traditional owners of the land and the municipality has the 4th largest ATSI population in Metropolitan Melbourne.
  • 2017 population is just over 209,000 and is the 4th fastest growing local government area in Victoria, forecast to grow by 69% in 20 years.