By Rose Madder
Her Excellency The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and Judge Anthony Howard hosted a reception at Government House Victoria to mark the 20th Anniversary of the volunteer program at TJC on Tuesday 21 May 2019.
Volunteering Australia celebrated thirty years of National Volunteer Week which opportunely coincided with The Johnston Collection Volunteer Guides and The Friends of TJC celebrating twenty years of volunteering – a significant milestone of volunteering both for our organisation and for our nation’s volunteers.
The theme for National Volunteer Week 2019 was ‘Making a world of difference’ and without our volunteers we would not be able to do what we do, nor would we have achieved so much to date. This ‘making a world of difference’ is more meaningful as we see our volunteer guides sharing our stories with visitors who come and experience The Johnston Collection, giving a very special character to TJC, a warmth of welcome, real hospitality making all our visitors feel comfortable. It comes from the heart. The volunteer guides and all those thousands of visitors have benefited with their sharing stories, creating conversations and inspiring visitors with their knowledge, inspiration and enthusiasm.
Volunteers who, amongst so many things, work diligently to back up and support the care of the collection and work towards making our exhibitions and programs happen and their commitment has underpinned our events through enthusiasm and dedication on so many levels.
The Friends of the Johnston Collection also turn 20 this year with the establishment of the first committee. This group has consistently done amazing work to develop a convivial social program of events and through these have raised substantial funds which have supported The Johnston Collection in the many necessary behind the scenes expenses as well as support of programs and exhibitions, restoration projects and building works.
The Ambassadors are an invited group of individuals who have made significant contributions and have a special relation with TJC. They have volunteered their services to TJC through representing The Collection to others, donating objects from their own personal collections and advising on and supporting various aspects of The Johnston Collection.
The OPENING DOORS committee, a group of volunteers who work with the Board of Trustees to provide vital support and growth of William Johnston’s endowment, so that we can continue to benefit future generations of visitors.
The strong connection between Government House and The Johnston Collection was established in February 1990 following a discussion between Tom Hazell, then Secretary to the Governor of Victoria and the board of Trustees. This relationship established a long-term association with Government House, Victoria for the use of collection objects, especially the use of the ‘Calcutta suite’ in the apartments and in the more public spaces.
Supporting the ongoing training and celebrating the contribution of all the volunteers through various events and activities is The Marjorie May Kingston Trust. This gives our valued volunteers a time to share their experiences and their friendship. Undoubtedly, without our volunteers we would not be able to provide access to a world of artistic creativity and present stories relating to William Johnston’s extraordinary gift to the people of Victoria.
Thank you to all our volunteers for their support of The Johnston Collection.
This article was originally published in fairhall, issue 27, July 2019, pp 30.