Australia’s newest urban precinct created for purpose-led organisations and social enterprises is set to open this year in Darlinghurst under the stewardship of the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
Built in 1927, the historic former Church of Christ, Scientist at 262 Liverpool St has served a diverse range of purposes but will now fully realise its potential as a broader public space for the first time.
The building, which has been architecturally restored and reimagined while honouring its significant heritage value, will open in November as a home for not-for-profit organisations and philanthropy to come together to tackle social problems and break cycles of disadvantage in Australia.
It will house not-for-profit tenants and a social enterprise incubator, as well as a new service model called the “Goodcierge” by social enterprise Two Good Co. Two Good Co, which started out as a soup kitchen in Kings Cross, not far from our new home, has grown into a business employing women who have survived domestic violence and has successfully won the tender to run the precinct’s café, catering and concierge services.
The precinct will be renamed Yirranma Place – literally translated to ‘a place where many create’ – indicating the Foundation’s goal for the precinct to be a place of creative and innovative engagement to address intergenerational disadvantage in Australia.
The naming followed engagement with local Gadigal elders, Aboriginal groups and language experts and is aimed at creating a sense of place, history and respect for Aboriginal people, while also contributing to the project of revitalising the Gadigal language.
CEO Glyn Davis AC said the Foundation wanted to do much more than create a new home for itself when it purchased the site in 2019, and had set out with a vision of creating something more meaningful and permanent for the area.
“Yirranma Place is the definition of partnership, plurality, and the value of diversity,” Professor Davis said.
“Whether people come for coffee, to view the art or explore the digital exhibitions, meet with tenants or attend a seminar, we believe the precinct will become a focal point for innovative and creative solutions to intractable social problems.
“We see the precinct as a real hub for local people, and we’ll be encouraging local school and community groups to use the open space.
“Yirranma Place will be a contribution to the Australian for-purpose sector, a place where a diverse cross section of people dedicated to breaking cycles of disadvantage can belong and work together on new ideas that bring hope for change.”
The inner-city location holds strong ties for Two Good Co, which has evolved significantly since founder Rob Caslick and his friends first wheeled out their barbecue a decade ago to grill up a feast for homeless people. From its neighbourhood beginnings, Two Good Foundation has become a thriving social enterprise providing food, support and training to survivors of domestic violence.
“Moving into Yirranma Place is a fantastic opportunity for us to show how this model could have far-reaching impact in the collective fight to break cycles of disadvantage,” Mr Caslick said. “Training, empowering and employing vulnerable women is the reason we are doing this.
“We see our partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation as a springboard to showcase this replicable model to other organisations who want their office catering and café service to make a real difference. We’re particularly proud of our new Goodcierge service, which will bring an extra touch of warmth and empathy to the excellent service that will make visiting and working at Yirranma Place a special experience.”
The building will include shared spaces for community use and a public gallery showcasing contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and design.
As part of the vision for a collaborative space for philanthropic and for-purpose organisations, there will also be incubator and office space available for social enterprises.
The building works have included restoring the original pipe organ, which will be played several times a year as a way of maintaining links with the building’s significant heritage, and integrating accessibility measures and modern amenities such as end-of-trip facilities.
About the Paul Ramsay Foundation
We seek to identify and partner with individuals, communities and organisations working to break cycles of disadvantage and create an Australia where people can realise their potential.
The late Paul Ramsay AO established the Foundation in 2006 and, after his death in 2014, left the majority of his estate to continue his philanthropy for generations to come.
His commitment to good works has allowed us to support the for-purpose sector with grant commitments of more than $600 million made since 2016 across more than 120 grants, to partners committed as we are to achieving lasting change.
Media Contact: Pia Akerman, 0412 346 746