October 14th, 2013
Assessing Australia’s top 50 philanthropic gifts of all time was always going to be fiendishly difficult. After all, how to compare the £6000 donation that launched Melbourne’s Austin Hospital with Bob Brown’s decision to use $49,000 in prize winnings to establish Bush Heritage Australia? Or the six different donations that went towards establishing the Human Rights Law Centre with the undisclosed amount Lonely Planet founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler put into founding the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne? Put together by a consortium including the Myer Family Company, the Myer Foundation, Sidney Myer Fund, Pro Bono Australia, Swinburne University and Philanthropy Australia, the first such list will be launched in Melbourne on Monday. Prioritising impact over crude dollar value, Australia’s Top 50 Philanthropic Gifts gives a snapshot of the wide range of causes supported in Australia since the 1880s, from affordable housing and indigenous education to the development of a bionic eye and a centre for women’s mental health, to art to the Parkes telescope made famous in the film The Dish.
By Katrina Strickland
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