18th April, 2010

Annual Luncheon

Our 2010 Melbourne Gala Luncheon took place on Sunday, 18 May 2010 at Zinc at Federation Square in Melbourne overlooking the Yarra River. The 200 guests were greeted with traditional and contemporary Irish music by band ‘Kaiti Hill’. The wonderful warm and sunny Melbourne weather was a lovely setting for the event.

Australian Ireland Fund Director, Mary Waldron was the luncheon chair and Master of Ceremonies for the day. Other Australian Ireland Fund Directors present were Ted Johnson, Kevin Luscombe AM and Executive Director Teresa Keating. A special mention was made of guest Professor Anthony Costello, Director of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre at Epworth Hospital who recently was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).  Other special guests included Ciaran Davis, new CEO of Australian Radio Network and Gene Geoffrey, Director of Creativity, Soundhouse who spoke to guests of the wonderful work Soundhouse has been able to do with the help of the Australian Ireland Fund.

Mary Waldron took the opportunity to give an update on the activities of the Australian Ireland Fund and the projects of integrated education we are supporting in Northern Ireland. Mary mentioned that whilst progress has been made in bringing political peace to Ireland with Unionists and Nationalists now sharing Government, the Ireland Funds are seeking to bring reconciliation to the two communities by addressing the continuing prejudice and division in Northern Ireland, with a particular focus on Ireland’s young people. 


Also, as our supporters know, the Australian Ireland Fund has provided funding for a number of Australian projects including SoundHouse, a Melbourne initiative. There are two of their plug and play music in a box outreach kits based in the Nerve Centre in Derry. They were first developed for use in remote areas to give children and adults access to technology to allow them to perform, enjoy, compose and create music. In addition to those Outreach Kits there is a fully equipped SoundHouse at Hazelwood Integrated College, an emerging SoundHouse at Slemish Integrated College and eight special access kits in Ireland north and South.

Mary also made mention of the Funds next projects, in association with Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, headed by Mr. Andrew Penfold, to provide quality education for disadvantaged indigenous young Australians through the provision of scholarships at a number of leading schools. The Federal Government has recently announced funding support for that group in the amount of $20 million which enables the Fund to receive dollar for dollar supplementation for the funds that we contribute, thus effectively doubling the number of scholarships for young people that we can provide. We will also support those young people and their schools with mentoring programs.

Guests were entertained by Dublin Born, Irish Australian singer–songwriter, Damien Leith, winner of the Network Ten 2006 music contest Australian Idol.

The Live Auction

Conducted by our wonderful supporter and auctioneer, Gerald Delany of Kay & Burton.

  • ·A Hamilton Island Escape with Jetstar Airways to the new Hamilton Island Luxury Yacht Club Villas. This package includes two return flights from Melbourne to Hamilton Island with Jetstar Airways. Then enjoy a 5 night Magnificent Vacation to the new Hamilton Island Luxury Yacht Club Villas
  • The ‘Sydney Package’ which includes a cruise on the stunning 60ft Yacht "Sydney" for you and 11 others, a two night stay for two people in the vibrant and elegant Four Seasons Hotel and a $500 gift Voucher to dine at the renowned Guillaume at Bennelong Restaurant at the Sydney Opera House
  • An Australian Radio Network Advertising Package
  • A sumptuous and indulgent six course dègustation menu for 30 people at Level 89, Eureka Tower designed by renowned Melbourne chef, Raymond Capaldi
  • A Foundation Member Package for the new Melbourne Rebels Membership at the new AAMI stadium for the Melbourne Rebels first year. This package also includes a signed Melbourne Rebels Rugby Jersey
  • A trip of a Lifetime to Dublin with Etihad Airways including two Pearl Business Class tickets to Dublin, 2 nights at the magnificent 5 Star luxury Sheen Falls Lodge and a week’s Class C car hire in Ireland courtesy of AVIS.

Guests then relaxed with dessert and Irish coffees and again enjoyed the music of ‘Kaiti Hill’ as guests stayed on to mingle and enjoy the atmosphere of such a great day. 

Thanks To Our Sponsors

Etihad Airways, Australian Radio Network, Paul O’Brien, Eureka Level 89, Sydney Yachts, Mix 101.1 and Gold 104.3, Hamilton Island Yacht Club and Villas, Sheen Falls Lodge, Jetstar, Avis, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Leon L'Huillier and the Melbourne Rebels, Bannisters, Guillaume at Bennelong, Australian Rugby and We Love Rugby, Diageo, Guinness, Rydges Hotels and Resorts, Waterford Crystal, Setanta Wines, ZINC at Federation Square, Peppers Moonah Links Resort, Scotchmans Hills, Harrigans Irish Pub and Hunter Valley Gardens, Moonee Valley Racing Club, RACV, David Egan Galleries, TasteIreland, Suntory Australia, Magners, Tullamore Dew, Irish Mist, Carolans, Gerald Delany and Kay & Burton, Ted Johnson, Kevin Luscombe AM, Mary Waldron, Sunbeam.

Thank you so much to all our sponsors and supporters – Quite simply our work would not be possible without your help.