Our return to Fairwater for our Sydney Garden Party on Sunday 6th November 2022 was a day to remember and a very fitting final celebration for our 35th Anniversary year. The sun was shining as we came together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company, reflect on the past 35 years and look forward to the years ahead at this very special place.
On arrival guests enjoyed welcome cocktails and the sounds of the Sydney Youth Orchestra before moving into lunch.
Our Executive Director Teresa Keating welcomed all our guests and introduced our MC for the day – the incredible Catherine Murphy ABC Sports Reporter who welcomed to stage Amarley Bron an AIEF Scholarship recipient to do Acknowledgement of Country. We were then officially welcomed by our Chair Yvonne Le Bas who acknowledged guests with a special mention to Mike and Helen Cannon-Brookes, Ambassador Tim Mawe and Consul General Rosie Keane. Our Board Members including Dr Tom Moore, Patrick Tuttle and Ray Wilson, Frank Curran. Gallagher Hotels, Capital Investments, Inagh Foundation, Glen Dimplex and all our Table Captains that took Gold, and Silver tables.
Yvonne shared highlights from the past 35 years of The Ireland Funds Australia, the 242 projects we have supported with over $15 mil focusing on Education in particular integrated education and scholarships, Community Development in Ireland and Australia. In 2022, we made 12 grants totalling $2 million which supported 6 projects in Ireland and 5 in Australia and humanitarian aid for the Ukraine.
Yvonne shared that we were continuing our journey to carbon neutral events this year again supporting Carbon Positive in Australia to reduce carbon emissions and help regenerate select native species that support natural ecosystems and wildlife, In Ireland we are working with Home Tree who are planting 200 trees on behalf of the Sydney Garden party these trees will support a regenerative ecosystem and the tress will live out their natural life.
Yvonne then had the absolute honour to present Dr Stanley Quek with the illustrious Bird and Bell Award recognising his outstanding contributions made to the Ireland Funds. Here in Australia the award has only been presented twice before to the Late Lady Mary Fairfax AC, OBE and Charles Curran AC.
We were all entertained by our surprise guests Marco and Maria, Italian Wine makers – who delighted us all with their most incredible voices and we all finally realised that they were more fabulous Opera singers than wine makers. Our live auction followed and created much bidding and excitement with all items selling! We thank our very generous sponsors Coolmore Australia, Michelle and Andrew Penfold, Glen Dimplex, The Merrion Dublin, Castlemartyre Resort, Sheen Falls Lodge, Trinty Townhouse Dublin, The Star, Alloggio and Australian Radio Network and our Auctioneer – Paul Grech.
Our raffle was hotly contested, and we greatly appreciate all of the participation our lucky winner won a sailing experience on Charles Curran AC Yacht Sydney and a lunch or dinner at Olio – we thank our generous sponsors Charles Curran, AC, Capital Investments and Dr Stanely Quek.
With formalities over, guests were invited to move down by the water to cap off the day and enjoy the sunshine, DJ tunes and the most stunning view of Sydney Harbour.
An incredible day and so special to be back at Fairwater with so many friends of The Ireland Funds Australia celebrating, enjoying, and coming together to make a difference and to help those that need us now more than ever before.
With special thanks to our hosts the Cannon-Brookes and to all our sponsors.
Photos: Nerida O’Neill / O’Neill Photo Graphics