A VENUE FOR VICTORIA
From Federation 1901 to 1931 the House went national, as it became the official residence of Australia’s first Governor-General… and the State Governor was sent off to Stonington Mansion in Malvern. From 1934 until today, the complex continues to be: the residence of the Governor; the primary venue for the Governor’s constitutional, ceremonial, community and international engagement activities; and the workplace of the Office of the Governor.
‘For nearly 150 years, Government House Victoria has been the backdrop of important constitutional ceremonies and occasions, where significant charities have been founded or fostered, where the War effort has been advanced (via Red Cross packing stations in the Ballroom), where schoolgirls (from Mac Rob High) were educated during the Depression, and where many, many thousands of good Victorians have been thanked, congratulated and awarded,’ details the Governor.
‘The State Apartments have long been opened up to the community and it is important that we are providing opportunities to broaden the reach and diversify our engagement – whether by welcoming people who have never visited before, through tours and receptions, or by working with different community organisations to showcase Victoria’s vast array of artistic talent and intellect with free performances and lectures,’ she continues.
Since 2015, The Governor and Mr Howard have hosted a number of ‘firsts’, from overnight school camp-outs to mark VicHealth’s 30th anniversary, a trailblazing International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia reception in 2017, to a youth iftar dinner during Ramadan, and more. ‘Tony and I do find it particularly gratifying when we see the magnificent Ballroom being used for events that many years ago, never would have been contemplated, such as a blood bank with the Red Cross, or a circus workshop for newly arrived children with Circus Oz, a yoga class for International Yoga Day, or a rock concert for teenagers who need support,’ highlights the Governor.
This was my very first visit to Government House. From the high-tech bollards at the entrance to the perfectly-racked gravel that I reluctantly drove on and the countless palatial velvet furnishings I was dying to stroke, it was hands-down (*and behind my back) an unforgettable visit. The morning was a visual-feast/crash-course on our State’s rich history. Most excitingly, though, the more recent initiatives I discovered taking place at the House are continuing to keep us ‘on the map’, embarking on a progressive path into the future.
Victoria’s Government House and Grounds will also be open to the public as part of Open House Melbourne on July 27th, 2019, as well as on January 26th each year.
Tours of the Government House Gardens are held on the third Thursday of each month, find more information here.