This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Brilliant Initiative Nurturing Peace + Prosperity At Victoria's Government House

Gardens

The first female Governor of Victoria in the position’s 163-year history was appointed in 2015. Taking up the role, Linda Dessau AC decided that she wanted to start a personal project to support women.

The Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden, (named for our State motto), is the result,’ begins the Governor. ‘Created on the same site where in the past there had been a kitchen garden, it is in itself a beautiful place, but it is really what happens in the garden that matters…’

27th June, 2019

The Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau AC, started the Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden Program when she was appointed in July 2015. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The Governor worked as a magistrate in the Children’s Court and the Melbourne Magistrates Court before serving as a Family Court judge from 1995 to 2013. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2017, for service to the Victorian community.Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Women from migrant and refugee backgrounds visit Government House to take part in activities such as cooking, gardening and handicrafts. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

More than 240 women from 30 different backgrounds have taken part since it first began. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

They gather lunch ingredients before touring Government House and joining the Governor and her husband for lunch. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Horticulturist, Suzie, helps the women to plant, pick, and care for the vegetables and herbs that grow in the garden, and also maintains the beautiful veggie patch throughout the week. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The women laugh among each other like close friends as they gather lunch ingredients and pose for selfies. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘My hope is that, during my term as Governor, I will be able to reflect the values within our broader Victorian community and share the message of our State motto – Peace and Prosperity – with all Victorians,’ tells the Governor. ‘The kitchen garden program is just one part of that work.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Since her appointment as governor in 2015, the Governor and Mr Howard have become patrons to more than 160 community organisations. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘Being the first female Governor is just one sign of changing times,’ says the Governor. ‘I am pleased that the gender of future Governors will be an unremarkable feature’. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
Thursday 27th June 2019

‘In hosting these women in Victoria’s Government House, we intend to send a clear message to them that they are welcome in Victoria’ – Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau AC.

Each Monday, a group of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds visits Victoria’s Government House to take part in activities such as gardening, cooking, and handicrafts. They enjoy lunch with the Governor Linda Dessau AC and her husband, Anthony Howard QC, as well as tours of the buildings that have defined our state and country since 1876.

Run in partnership with Community Hubs Australia and the Scanlon FoundationThe Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden Program welcomes women from different Community Hubs each term. More than 240 women from 30 different backgrounds have taken part since it first began in 2015.

The program provides an opportunity to spend the day in an inclusive environment, build social connections, develop English-language skills, and grow in confidence. You can easily see how this initiative has fostered greater connections among the local communities, and also between the women and their home city.

‘Often the one thing that initially connects the women is the need to connect with others. This program is a small way in which my husband Tony and I can contribute to those important connections, and a sense of belonging for the women we welcome,’ explains the Governor, who is conscious that many participants hail from countries where they may have not felt safe nor welcome.

When I visit, it’s the last Monday of term and the women, originally from Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Vietnam among other countries, laugh with each other like close friends. They gather salad greens for lunch and huddle for a few prize selfies in-between – the back-drops of the Italianate Government House, lush Royal Botanical Gardens, and Melbourne’s skyline demand it really!

The energy is electric as I chat with some of the women, and I feel it in my cheeks as I subconsciously mirror their wide smiles. Later, over tea in Government House’s State Dining Room and the lunch table inside The Cottage, several women, unprompted, choose to speak of their pasts, hopes for the future, and express gratitude for the gathering.

‘In hosting these women in Victoria’s Government House, we intend to send a clear message to them that they are welcome in Victoria as a part of our vibrant and multicultural community,’ adds the Governor, who on Tuesday had her term extended until 2023 by the Queen. ‘We encourage everyone to be involved in their own communities, in whatever way they are able, to pass on this message of unity.’

Find out more about the Governor’s Peace + Prosperity Kitchen Garden Program, here, as well as myriad ways Community Hubs Australia is supporting migrant and refugee women to overcome social isolation, here.

Tomorrow, we will take you on a virtual tour inside Victoria’s Government House! The House and grounds will also be open to the public as part of Open House Melbourne on July 27th, 2019.

This Week

Studio Visit

Di Lunedi’s Nostalgic Ceramics Serve Up A Slice Of Coastal Italy!

Step inside the Northern NSW studio of De Lunedi's Elise Eales, who creates one-off ceramic pieces inspired by her love of Italy's seaside.

A ‘Little Big House’ Designed For The Whole Family

A Melbourne family home by Maike Design where the priorities of parents and children take equal billing.
Amelia Barnes
  19 hours ago

Design Eye

Creating A Timeless Interior, With Jean-Pierre Biasol

Melbourne interior designer Jean-Pierre Biasol reveals how interior spaces can outlive trends, thanks to careful furniture selections.

Homes

A Victorian Coastal Family Home Inspired By A Famous Alpine Village

The Jan Juc family home of artist Ingrid Daniell and designer Clifton Daniell.

News

Find Timeless Timber Furniture At Mark Tuckey’s Workshop Sale

Australian furniture brand Mark Tuckey are holding their biggest clearance sale yet, with up to 60% off!
Sponsored

On The Market

A Luxuriously Modern Home For Sale In Sydney's Forest Lodge

This new home has everything from smart-home features to solar and an electric car charger, alongside a dreamy outdoor entertaining area!
Christina Karras

On The Market

This Designer’s Family Home Hides A Rooftop Terrace, And It’s For Sale

The Melbourne house of owner-designer Dan Gayfer is on the market, but this Edwardian's sweeping extension is full of surprises.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Style Meets Sustainability In Armadillo’s New Melbourne Showroom

Melbourne design lovers will be happy to hear beloved rug brand Armadillo have opened a new showroom in Fitzroy!
Christina Karras

News

Shop Zenn Design + Christopher Blank’s New, Must-Have Bedside Tables

It’s time to elevate your bedroom with this sleek new collection of solid timber tables.
Sponsored

Architecture

A Playful Renovation + Extension Of A 1910s Edwardian Weatherboard Cottage

This once lacklustre Edwardian cottage has been given new life thanks to a renovation and extension by Architect George Meek, of Studio Meek...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With A Rising Star In The Australian Ballet, Riley Lapham

We went behind the scenes with professional ballerina Riley Lapham as the company brings their 'Don Quixote' to the stage!
Christina Karras

Homes

Artist Gemma Leslie’s 1880s Mediterranean-Inspired Family Home

The historic home of artist Gemma Leslie and Mike Chambers is a little slice of Tuscany... in Melbourne!
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Interiors

A Sunny Bondi Terrace Renovation With A Candy-Pink Bathroom!

The interiors of this family home now feature an all-pink bathroom and olive green features, inspired by the owners' personal style!
Christina Karras

News

An Inspiring Photography Exhibition By Catherine Opie Is Coming To Heide

Heide Museum of Modern Art is hosting the first major Australian showcase of renown American photographer Catherine Opie.
Sponsored

Studio Visit

The Sculptural Fabric + Metal Works Of Architect-Trained Artist, Annie Paxton

Melbourne based Annie Paxton creates mesmerising sculptural works made from silk, fabric, aluminium, steel and chain mail!

Similar Stories

Creative People

'Refugee Camp In My Neighbourhood' Launches In Sydney

An immersive event bringing together community members from refugee backgrounds, who act as 'tour guides' in a simulated refugee camp. 
Elle Murrell

Interiors

An Unforgettable Tour Of Victoria's Government House

Victoria's Government House is both the residence and the workplace of the Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau AC. Today, we take a tour!
Elle Murrell

Creative People

Many Hands Come Together To Support Women From Refugee Backgrounds

Melbourne social enterprise Merchant Road launches a new initiative to improve employment opportunities for women from refugee backgrounds.
Elle Murrell

This Week

A ‘Little Big House’ Designed For The Whole Family

A Melbourne family home by Maike Design where the priorities of parents and children take equal billing.
Amelia Barnes
  19 hours ago

Homes

A Victorian Coastal Family Home Inspired By A Famous Alpine Village

The Jan Juc family home of artist Ingrid Daniell and designer Clifton Daniell.

Shopping

Style Meets Sustainability In Armadillo’s New Melbourne Showroom

Melbourne design lovers will be happy to hear beloved rug brand Armadillo have opened a new showroom in Fitzroy!
Christina Karras

News

Shop Zenn Design + Christopher Blank’s New, Must-Have Bedside Tables

It’s time to elevate your bedroom with this sleek new collection of solid timber tables.
Sponsored

Homes

Artist Gemma Leslie’s 1880s Mediterranean-Inspired Family Home

The historic home of artist Gemma Leslie and Mike Chambers is a little slice of Tuscany... in Melbourne!
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Interiors

A Sunny Bondi Terrace Renovation With A Candy-Pink Bathroom!

The interiors of this family home now feature an all-pink bathroom and olive green features, inspired by the owners' personal style!
Christina Karras

On The Market

This Designer’s Family Home Hides A Rooftop Terrace, And It’s For Sale

The Melbourne house of owner-designer Dan Gayfer is on the market, but this Edwardian's sweeping extension is full of surprises.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

The Sculptural Fabric + Metal Works Of Architect-Trained Artist, Annie Paxton

Melbourne based Annie Paxton creates mesmerising sculptural works made from silk, fabric, aluminium, steel and chain mail!

Studio Visit

Di Lunedi’s Nostalgic Ceramics Serve Up A Slice Of Coastal Italy!

Step inside the Northern NSW studio of De Lunedi's Elise Eales, who creates one-off ceramic pieces inspired by her love of Italy's seaside.

News

Find Timeless Timber Furniture At Mark Tuckey’s Workshop Sale

Australian furniture brand Mark Tuckey are holding their biggest clearance sale yet, with up to 60% off!
Sponsored

On The Market

A Luxuriously Modern Home For Sale In Sydney's Forest Lodge

This new home has everything from smart-home features to solar and an electric car charger, alongside a dreamy outdoor entertaining area!
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With A Rising Star In The Australian Ballet, Riley Lapham

We went behind the scenes with professional ballerina Riley Lapham as the company brings their 'Don Quixote' to the stage!
Christina Karras

News

An Inspiring Photography Exhibition By Catherine Opie Is Coming To Heide

Heide Museum of Modern Art is hosting the first major Australian showcase of renown American photographer Catherine Opie.
Sponsored

Design Eye

Creating A Timeless Interior, With Jean-Pierre Biasol

Melbourne interior designer Jean-Pierre Biasol reveals how interior spaces can outlive trends, thanks to careful furniture selections.

Architecture

A Playful Renovation + Extension Of A 1910s Edwardian Weatherboard Cottage

This once lacklustre Edwardian cottage has been given new life thanks to a renovation and extension by Architect George Meek, of Studio Meek...

Similar Stories

Creative People

'Refugee Camp In My Neighbourhood' Launches In Sydney

An immersive community event, spanning workshops, exhibitions and guided tours of a simulated refugee camp. 
Elle Murrell

Interiors

An Unforgettable Tour Of Victoria's Government House

This is one especially insightful 'home tour'!
Elle Murrell

Creative People

Many Hands Come Together To Support Women From Refugee Backgrounds

Melbourne social enterprise Merchant Road launches a new initiative to improve employment opportunities for women from refugee backgrounds.
Elle Murrell

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net