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160 years worth celebrating

Posted on August 15, 2014

Andrew Carter, our Managing Director, was invited to speak at the Government House celebrations this week marking the 160th anniversary of Melbourne City Mission. Hosted by The Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC, Governor of Victoria and Mrs Elizabeth Chernov, the event saw 150 people celebrate MCM’s work including past and present board members, government officials, staff and volunteers, donors and corporate partners as well as three generations of descendants of Dr John Singleton, the founder of Melbourne City Mission.

As Chairman of Melbourne City Mission, Andrew spoke of the organisation’s humble beginnings and its continued commitment to serve the most disadvantaged in our community. He also spoke of the MCM’s resolve to overturn barriers to participation and inclusion to achieve a more equitable society.

In the beginning, the Missioners as MCM’s workers were known back then, connected with women and children living in precarious housing – canvas tents – on the banks of the Yarra, and worked with them to find more suitable and stable accommodation. They rolled out an alternative education model – the ‘ragged schools’ movement – for children who were living in poverty and who were completely disconnected from mainstream education. Missioners also worked with the sick and the dying, with people with disabilities and with people at the margins of society.

Today, the original foundations of that work are reflected in contemporary responses to homelessness through programs such as the Frontyard and Detour, in early childhood development and in MCM’s innovative education re-engagement model – The Melbourne Academy.