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Speech given by the Governor at a Reception for the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation Centenary Celebration.


First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we gather – the Wurundjeri and Bunurong People of the Kulin Nation – and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and to Elders of other communities who may be with us.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House to celebrate 100 years of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Although the celebration of a centenary is recognition of a long history, for some of us, it doesn’t seem as long as it used to! Many of those decades are well within memory.

That said, I don’t believe any one of us here this evening has first-hand memories of 1923, and certainly much has changed since then: both for the city and for the Foundation.

Melbourne’s population was just over 861,000 people.  Shopping in the large-scale stores of Myer and Coles was still considered a novelty and the espresso coffee that our city is famous for did not appear in any café or restaurant.

As an aside – but from my perspective, an important one – I also note that Essendon won the Premiership in 1923, beating Fitzroy 63-46 at the MCG.

But, 1923 was a difficult year for the city. Quite apart from several days of chaos when more than 600 constables from the Victorian Police Force went on strike, Melbourne was still struggling to re-integrate the returned soldiers of World War I.

It was in that context that Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Sir John Swanson, launched the Foundation, as a hospital fund to support the vulnerable of post-war Melbourne,

Like all successful organisations that can claim longevity, the Foundation has evolved since then.

While health remains an important priority, the Foundation has successfully adapted its focus to meet the changing needs of Greater Melbourne.

As current and past board members, staff, supporters and donors, you are all part of the philanthropic community with a record of success in providing help where it is needed. And, together, you have built what is believed to be the nation’s largest community Foundation.

I especially want to commend you for your key initiatives in housing, employment, sustainability and your successful emphasis on the next generation of philanthropists.

A centenary provides an opportunity to look forward as well as back.

Melbourne, as you know, is Australia’s fastest growing city. And, equally, as you know, that is likely to make the Foundation’s work even more pressing.

Thank you to each one of you for your contributions towards continuing and extending Sir John Swanson’s vision.

Thank you to our current Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, as Honorary Patron: someone who brings great energy and commitment to the task.

Thank you and congratulations to the new Chair, Paul Bird, and the new Deputy Chair, Janina Gawler. I am conscious that Board members are amongst our most important volunteers, making a huge commitment of time and skills.

Thanks too to the volunteers who sit on the Foundation’s Grant Advisory Panels.

And thank you to Dr Catherine Brown OAM, CEO, and the Foundation’s hard-working staff.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the ongoing support of the Foundation’s donors.

I’d like to pay particular tribute to Mrs Anne Foote and her late husband Mr Eldon Foote QC for the lasting impact of the Eldon and Anne Foote Trust, through their extraordinary generosity.

Thank you to each one of you for working towards a safer, kinder and more sustainable Melbourne.

And, finally, Happy 100th Birthday to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.