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Accolades flow at Bourke St anniversary dinner

Accolades flow at Bourke St anniversary dinner

Accolades flow at Bourke St anniversary dinner

9 October 2019

The 125th anniversary celebrations of the work of The Salvation Army in Bourke St, Melbourne, honoured the power of “love in action”.

By Barry Gittins

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp welcomed attendees to The Salvation Army’s 125th anniversary dinner at 69 Bourke Street on Friday, 4 October, saying that “this place has become absolutely synonymous as a centre of hope for so many Melburnians”.

“Nobody is judged or dismissed; there is always a caring response,” she added.Major BrendanNottle has built a strong partnership with local police.

Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson, Australia’s territorial leaders, received a limited-edition framed commemorative stamp and stamped envelope from Australia Post Group CEO and Managing Director Christine Holgate to mark the occasion (the stamp is based on a line drawing of the building, from an 1895 issue of The War Cry).   

The programs run at Melbourne Project 614, headed up by Majors Brendan and Sandra Nottle, “represent how The Salvation Army began and why we exist”, said Commissioner Robert Donaldson.

A speech by Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and video messages from the late-General Eva Burrows, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and broadcaster and Collingwood Football Club President Eddie McGuire, stressed a history of love in action.

Author, broadcaster and Salvation Army historian John Cleary reported that in 1894 The Salvation Army paid 19,000 pounds to the YMCA to purchase the building, which had cost 40,000 pounds to build. John emphasised the missions achieved and the building’s direct proximity to the Victorian and first federal parliaments, on Spring Street, as well as to Little Bourke Street’s opium dens and brothels.  Celebrations included a cake cutting and music from the Salvo Big Band.

“If the 927,000 bricks in this building could speak,” said Brendan, “they would say the same social issues the Army faced back then – homelessness, addiction, loneliness, social isolation and family violence – are still with us.

“People are broken and we are not going to give up on them.”

The hundreds of people present were entertained by the Salvo Big Band, and master of ceremonies Denis Walter. 

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