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Thorne Harbour Country

Thorne Harbour Country provides support, counselling, rapid HIV testing, resources and information around LGBTIQ+ wellbeing, HIV, Hepatitis C and sexual health across the Loddon Mallee. Operating out of the Community Hub, Thorne Harbour Country provides a safe place for the LGBTIQ+ community to connect and access information resources and referral services.

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Country life can be both rich and rewarding for LGBTIQ+ people, with many communities embracing and celebrating diversity. However, for some LGBTIQ+ people and people living with HIV (PLHIV), rural, regional and remote areas can mean being at higher risk of stigma and discrimination.

Thorne Harbour Country aims to celebrate and support the many communities and community initiatives that embrace and support LGBTIQ+ people and PLHIV whilst also responding to the identified barriers, working towards a more supportive and safe space for all.

Thorne Harbour Country Office
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The Thorne Harbour Country office is located at 58 Mundy Street in Bendigo. Drop in from 9am–5pm Monday-Friday. We offer a safe and supportive space for LGBTIQ+ people and PLHIV. Some of our current services and supports include:

  • Professional counselling for LGBTIQ+ people and PLHIV
  • One-on-one peer support for gay, bi and queer men (including trans men) around HIV, sex and sexual health
  • Information and referrals for our LGBTIQ+ communities
  • LGBTIQ+ social inclusive morning tea group (located locally)
  • 3-monthly BBQ for PLHIV and their allies
  • Queer Borrowed Books - our lending library of books and DVDs
  • Open Closet - recycled clothing swap
  • LGBTI Q-Time - a safe space to ask all your LGBTIQ+ related questions (located locally).

We also provide a space for LGBTIQ+ and PLHIV groups to use as a safe meeting place. This is offered free of charge and is available to all LGBTIQ+ and PLHIV groups in the area. To make enquires about using the space for your group, please get in touch by contacting us using the information below.

To get in contact with Thorne Harbour Country please phone us on (03) 4400 9000 or email us.

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Thorne Harbour Country offers a professional and affordable counselling service for our LGBTIQ+ communities and anyone affected by HIV. Services are offered across the Loddon Mallee either face-to-face at our Community Hub in Bendigo or via telephone or online platforms. Outreach support may be available depending on the circumstances.

Our fees are based on a sliding scale depending on income, however no one will be turned away due to a lack of funds.

Our counselling service offers help with a range of issues, including:

  • Sexuality and gender identity
  • Coming out
  • New or recent HIV diagnosis
  • Living with HIV and/or Hepatitis C
  • Relationships
  • Intimate partner and family violence
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Alcohol and other drug issues
  • Self-esteem
  • Grief and loss
  • Emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • Trauma
  • Sexual health education

Thorne Harbour Country counselling is part of our broader counselling service and has a specific focus on the needs of LGBTIQ+ people and those affect by HIV living in regional and remote areas. To make a referral or to read more about our broader counselling services click here.

Local Drug Action Team
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Thorne Harbour Country is leading the way with their Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) project specifically targeted at working with the LGBTIQ+ communities in Bendigo. Funded by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF), Thorne Harbour Country partnered with headspace Bendigo, Bendigo Community Health Service and YSAS to work with LGBTIQ+ community members to design a range of digital resources to prevent harms associated with alcohol and other drug use in the community. The resources predominantly focus on targeting LGBTIQ+ people but have a more universal message that speaks to the whole community.

Currently, rates of harmful alcohol and other drug use amongst LGBTIQ+ Australians are disproportionally high. For LGBTIQ+ people living in regional and rural communities, the risk of harmful use is even greater.

There are many reasons why people use alcohol and other drugs, ranging from managing stress and hardships to celebrating one’s identity and connecting with social supports; however, when the harms outweigh the positives, the impact this can have on a person’s life can be significant.

Thorne Harbour Country acknowledges the support of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Logo

and the following community partners/organisations:


Bendigo Community Health Service Logo

headspace Bendigo Logo

HEY partners logo

Please find a copy of our recently produced SMART resource available for download here.

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Thorne Harbour Country offers a number of Peer Education Services which are run by and for gay, bi and queer men including trans men, men who have sex with men and those who identify as non-binary. Current services include our PRONTO! Rapid HIV Testing Clinic, the ‘Sexperts’ Program as well as a number of workshops and events that are run throughout the year.

Workshops run periodically throughout the year and are styled in such a way that enables people to make new friends in a safe environment.

Some key topics covered in workshops include:

  • Coming Out
  • Sex and Pleasure
  • HIV and Sexual Health
  • AOD Recovery
  • Internalised Homophobia
  • Relationships and the LGBTIQ+ Community
  • General Wellbeing

We are always on the lookout for new topics and workshops which might suit the community, so if you have ideas or if you’d like to volunteer please feel free to get in touch. To get in contact with us on (03) 4400 9000 or email us.

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Across the Loddon Mallee there are a number of excellent initiatives and projects that Thorne Harbour Country supports, collaborates and participates in. From large community events like the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford and the Bendigo Queer Film Festival to more smaller and local events.

Thorne Harbour Country also offers support to new and established community groups who are interested in running supportive events or programs for the community. Although Thorne Harbour Country is not able to get involved with every suggestion we can support with:

  • Idea generation and brainstorming
  • Practical ways to work within a community setting
  • Grant application advice and writing
  • Grant auspicing

Check out all our upcoming events on our calendar or our Facebook.

If you have an idea for a community event in the Loddon Mallee that you feel supports the LGBTIQ+ community or PLHIV we would love to hear from you. To get in contact with us, please phone us on (03) 4400 9000 or email us.

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Thorne Harbour Country provides information, resources, and training. Call our office to access support during business hours. We also have a broad range of printed and online resources that we can deliver or post out for those who cannot make it into the service.

If you have any questions or simply would like to know more information about a topic please feel free to get in touch. To get in contact with Thorne Harbour Country please phone us on (03) 4400 9000 or email us.

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Volunteers play an important role in the delivery of Thorne Harbour Country ’s programs. We are always on the lookout for people who are interested in helping out.

Some roles that volunteers can get involved in include:

  • Event Support
  • Peer Education
  • Community Engagement
  • Administration
  • Project Specific Opportunities
  • Sexperts

If you are interested in volunteering contact one of the members of the Thorne Harbour Country team to find out what opportunities are currently on offer. To get in contact with Thorne Harbour Country please phone us on (03) 4400 9000 or click here to register your details with us.

Volunteer with us!


Thorne Harbour relies upon your continued support