Australia’s largest specially designed community precinct for social purpose and philanthropy officially opens today at Yirranma Place, also the headquarters of the country’s largest charitable foundation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
A clear investment in the future of social purpose, Yirranma Place at 262 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, is a dedicated space for people from across the social purpose sector and the community to find ways to work together to achieve positive social change by breaking cycles of disadvantage in Australia.
Yirranma Place was purchased by the Foundation in 2019 to be a lasting home for social purpose in Australia. Yirranma (yeer-rahn-ma), a Gadigal word meaning ‘many creation’ is a name carefully chosen through extensive consultation with, and approval from, local Aboriginal leaders and organisations. Yirranma Place shall be ‘a place where many create or engage’.
Barkandji Elder Uncle Badger Bates, who designed the steel gates at the building’s main entrance said: “Yirranma Place is about bringing everyone together, and the gates will bring people in. I want to encourage Aboriginal people and other people to walk past the gates, see the creation stories, look up at the ceiling art and encourage them to go into the building… A person could be lonely but when they touch those gates, they’ll get a different feeling about themselves. And that will inspire them… I hope the gates will inspire a lot of young people to have a go at what I wanted to achieve.”
Professor Glyn Davis AC, CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said that the vision behind the investment in this historic building was one of an evergreen collaboration space for people working to achieve social change to work together and explore ways of addressing entrenched social issues in Australia.
“This is an investment in the future of social purpose. With Yirranma Place, we have created a collaboration space that welcomes the full breadth of Australian society.
“We want people to arrive curious, create collectively, and leave inspired. It’s about bringing people together who have social purpose front of mind, are curious to find ways to improve their world, and are willing to work on creating change.
“By dedicating a space to this collaborative style of work, we hope Yirranma Place will incubate inspiration for change for generations to come.”
The building can host up to 76 additional Yirranma community members including not-for-profits and social enterprises. An additional 20 desk spaces exist in the Social Enterprise Incubator space. Along with the Foundation, Two Good Co are the first tenants to join Yirranma Place, launching a unique “Goodcierge” service and employing women who have survived domestic violence in the precinct’s café, catering, and concierge services.
“Achieving positive social change is not something the Foundation – or anyone – can do alone,” Professor Davis said. “We need to form partnerships, alliances, and collaborations. Over time, we hope Yirranma Place will become known as the foundation on which we build our work together for social good.”
Originally built in 1927 as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Yirranma Place includes shared spaces for community use and a public exhibition space showcasing contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and design. The Foundation has invested in the building as a major heritage restoration project, ensuring the building will survive and thrive for generations to come.
The Foundation looks forward to welcoming community members into the building with public events to include a lecture series featuring the artists of the collection, and one on the history of Darlinghurst, and recitals with the building’s historic organ.
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