Literally millions of Australians look for love (or lust) online. Dating app Tindr, boasts 15 per cent of Australians use its services. While, matchmaker site eHarmony claims they are responsible for 11,000 Australian marriages since 2007.
Three years ago, Murriwarri woman, Belinda Poole decided to use social media to help connect mob from around the country to find friendship and maybe even love...
She created and became the administrator for the Facebook group Aboriginal Connect is a dating/yarn site, a safe and inclusive space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to come together, share stories and find other singles.
Poole says it's something that she felt was needed in uniting people who share the same culture, values, ideals and dreams. "I wanted to try bring our people back together and talk about love, friendship and Aboriginal issues past and present."
In the three years since the group was created, Aboriginal Connect has been steadily growing in numbers and now hosts almost 5,000 members, a number that rises daily.
Poole who runs the group with the help of three other admins, says the good thing about the page is that it is inclusive, respectful and people are up front about what they are looking for.
"It’s more so on the forum a social friendly yarning space. Everyone respects each other and treats everyone with kindness," Poole told NITV.
"But in saying that I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. I do hear about quite a few friendships that have evolved via private messaging, but not all of them as some people prefer to be discreet!
"I do have married couples in the group that also like to just get involved in the yarns. The members that are single often validate that they are here to find their true love/soul mate. The members that are married also make it clear that they are here for the yarns. I also have gay/lesbian members in the group. We are all here to find the same thing and that’s true love and our life long soul partners!"
"I wanted to try bring our people back together and talk about love, friendship and Aboriginal issues past and present."
Poole says that members give overwhelmingly positive feedback and appreciate the space to connect. This is evident when looking at the page's feedback. Poole says that she knows of many relationships and friendships that have formed as a result of meeting on the page.
"I do know of at least four successful relationships over the time the group has been active. I also know of a few failures as the members who break-up tend to come back to my group and begin their search for love again. It warms my heart when I hear of relationships that have success in love in my group" she says.
"Think I have found my life partner because of your site, she is gorgeous and a beautiful person, a deadly lady to be with! " wrote one Aboriginal Connect member.
One member, who wishes to be anonymous, recently contacted Poole to express gratitude over finding, who she believes is, her life partner through the page:
"I originally met (my partner) on your page when it was Koori Konnect Dating Site, about 5 years ago. We were strong in contact at first but my job had me distracted for a while and we lost contact. One weekend months later, I bumped into him at the shop and we had the best conversation. It went for that long we ended up having dinner the same day! From that day onwards we fell in love and 4 years later this year we have a beautiful baby together who is going on 2, and we’re looking to get married also 😊
So thanks heaps sis for having your site up I wouldn’t have met my Mr Right otherwise x
P.S you’ll get an invite to our wedding when it happens also!"
WIth the group growing steadily, the next phase for the Poole and the administrators will be organising meet-ups and dating events such as speed-dating.
For information on Aboriginal Connect head to the Facebook page here.