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Funder Highlight: The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has supported several critical projects at the Convent. The Convent board and team are very grateful for the Foundation’s support and flexible approach to philanthropy.  

The ACF welcomes new Chief Executive Officer Peter Walton. “I am delighted to join Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and look forward to working with our wider community in helping Melbourne be more resilient, sustainable and inclusive for all.” 

Cork Oak Path Restoration Works (2023)  

The Cork Oak Path is a valuable part of the Convent’s history. A community fundraising campaign, support from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation  and the Abbotsford Convent Foundation with low bono support from Williams Boag Architects has meant we have now completed the restoration of this vital pathway. Once reopened the path provides direct access to, and from, the Birrarung. Heritage architects, Williams Boag Architects are working with Project builders, dbg Projects on the path restoration. Exploratory works uncovered large lengths of the original spoon drains and path boundaries and they have now been restored. We expect work to be completed by April 27.  The restoration and conservation of the historic Path and spoon drains will enhance the character of the place, provide a vital link to the river, and improve visitor access and safety.  

Infirmary Conservation and Reuse Project (2022)   

Previously closed and in disrepair, support from LMCF enabled and low bono support from Williams Boag Architects, the part restoration and adaptive reuse of the Infirmary building (one of the last remaining spaces to be restored at the Convent), making it available for public use. The two rooms and adjoining foyer that were restored are now being used as a creative teaching space by the Australian National Academy of Music. The restoration stabilised the rooms and prevented further deterioration, preserving the history of the building, to enable them to now serve a new purpose as a space for artistic expression and learning. The success of the Convent’s restoration work to date, including this project, demonstrates how we so successfully manage our heritage restoration for new uses that make such a positive impact on the community. There is still more to restore and significant ongoing work to maintain our incredible 11 buildings and we are always seeking new partners to help us with this very large, important, and never-ending task.   

Bishop’s Parlour Foyer Tessellated Tile Conservation Project (2021)  

One of the largest projects of its kind to be undertaken at the Abbotsford Convent requiring an expert team, the Bishop’s Parlour Foyer Tessellated Tile Conservation Project, saw 10,000 + tessellated foyer tiles removed, cleaned, repaired, and re-laid onto a newly designed concrete slab. The original slab was in poor condition (subsiding and cracking in several areas) and tiles in those areas were heavily damaged. Once the slab was removed, extensive soil testing was carried out and a new slab design was approved. The entrance circumference landing tiles were removed, cleaned, and re-laid; and a drainage point was installed.  The Bishops Parlour Foyer project was supported through philanthropic grants from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation’s  Eldon & Anne Foote Trust, the Copland Foundation alongside an in-kind partnership with FDC Construction & Fitout. 

Regenerate Fundraising Appeal (EOFY 2021)  

The Re:generate Appeal was focussed on helping the ACF navigate the next chapter of repair and community regeneration and to flourish in the new COVID normal. Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation contributed to the community fundraising appeal and their gift enabled ACF to announce a stretch target of $100,000 resulting in donations of $110,000 from the community.   

‘Sustain the Convent’ Initiative (EOFY2020)  

Generous community support received through our ‘Sustain the Convent’ fundraising appeal in mid-2020 went towards covering the ongoing essential extra costs the Convent incurred as a direct result of the pandemic—including heightened site-wide cleaning regimes and increased security—as well as assisting us to support our tenant community. For this appeal, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation contributed with a generous COVID-19 Emergency Response grant. This vitally needed support inspired us to double our original community fundraising goal —and we were thrilled to announce that we surpassed our stretch target of $120,000 by 30 June with the support of many generous people.  

Abbotsford Convent Master Plan (2019)  

It was a long road to get to a completed Master Plan and, at the inception of this very important project, our partnership with LMCF helped us complete the critical first phase, supporting us to prepare critical documentation for Expression of Interest and Request for Tender, public advertisement, formation of Project Team and Project Management procedures, selection process for appointing a Lead Consultant and Contract management.    

Since then, we have received generous Commonwealth funding support through the Federal Department of Industry, Science and Resource’s Australian Heritage Grants program, and with ACF investment, we have now completed the Master Plan and an Investment Logic Map, Business Case and Case for Support. We are now working towards a Capital Campaign and seeking investment for this next phase.    

The new Master Plan establishes a clear framework for future restoration and conservation works on-site, and precinct usage, with far-reaching benefits across the Convent precinct and beyond. Without LMCF support at the earliest stage we would not have been able to build support for the creation of this plan.