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The Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation aims to support and strengthen communities across Melbourne and rural Victoria by enabling the establishment of educational opportunities, building leadership skills, addressing health and environmental concerns as well as identifying ways to enhance the cultural life of all Victorians through the arts. The Trustees source potential projects and take a close interest in the progress of each, encouraging partnerships and building on projects’ successes.


Hugh Dean Thomas Williamson was born in Ballarat, Victoria in 1901. His father was a mechanic. He joined the Ballarat Banking Company aged 16 beginning a career in banking, initially in regional Victoria, and which culminated in his appointment in 1954 as General Manager of the ANZ Bank, a position he held until his retirement in 1961. He laid much of the groundwork for the ANZ Bank’s strong performance over subsequent decades. He served as President of the Bankers’ Institute of Australasia from 1955 to 1961, the year he was appointed CBE.

Thereafter followed a busy second career in retirement holding positions on various boards and committees bringing to them his business and life experience. He was involved with many organisations including the Royal Melbourne and Freemasons  Hospitals, the Salvation Army, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, and was honorary treasurer of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust. He was a founding Trustee of the William Buckland Foundation and this became a model for his own philanthropic legacy.

A “man of the people” Hugh took a strong interest in the lives of all he came across particularly admiring those who made the most of what life had handed them. He was known for his hard work, common sense, dislike of waste of any kind and his commitment to the betterment of the broader community of Victoria and, in particular, Ballarat.

Hugh Williamson died in 1985. Under the terms of his will the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation came into being in 1986 with a corpus of funds of more than $4 million. He appointed his friends Denis Tricks AM, Martin Carlson OAM, Malcolm Menelaus and Harry Carrodus as founding Trustees together with a representative of ANZ Executors and Trustee Company Limited . He gave little direction to the Trustees except that they not forget Ballarat and that grants made can only support initiatives within Victoria. Under the wise and careful stewardship of the founding Trustees, the corpus of the Foundation grew enabling a large and wide-ranging group of organisations and projects to be supported. The current Trustees are committed to building on this legacy, and remaining true to Hugh Williamson’s hopes and expectations for the Foundation he created.


Founding Trustees

Denis Tricks AM

With a career in stock broking with Wm. Noall & Son, Denis Tricks knew Hugh Williamson through Hugh’s own interest in the stock exchange. Denis served with him on the Building Committee of the Arts Centre and succeeded Hugh as Honorary Treasurer of the Arts Centre. Denis was also on the Audit and Finance Committees. His interests were broad, including his ownership of a cut flower growing and exporting business in Gippsland. He was also Chairman of the Wildflower Advisory Committee for the Australian Government’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Denis Tricks served as Chairman of the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation until his retirement in February, 2015

Martin Carlson OAM

A career in arts administration brought Martin Carlson and Hugh Williamson together, through their joint membership of the Victorian Arts Centre Building Committee. With a background as an educator in Australia and overseas, and with a keen interest in the performing arts and design, Martin brought to the Foundation an encyclopaedic knowledge of the arts scene in Melbourne. As Chairman, Denis Tricks described, he was ‘innovative, bright, the spark of all of us…with great integrity’.

Martin Carlson took the role of Chairman on Denis Tricks’ retirement in February, 2015, a position he held until his retirement in 2021.

Harry Carrodus

The Trustee who knew Hugh Williamson the longest, Harry Carrodus met Hugh in 1948 at the Bank of Australasia (later to become ANZ). Harry later became his secretary and Hugh became his mentor. He gave Harry a key piece of advice as to how to get on in the bank: ‘being on the front line, meeting people and fostering customer relations.’ Denis Tricks speculated that Harry was chosen by Hugh because he was ‘a lovely man with a soft heart – generous and kind and the throbbing conscience of the Trust.’

Harry Carrodus served as a Trustee of the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation until his retirement in March 2014.

Malcolm Menelaus

A surgeon, paediatrician and scholar, Malcolm Menelaus spent most of his career at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital where he was Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon from 1982 to 1990. A man of many interests, Malcolm painted, enjoyed working on his property and sailing. Malcolm knew Hugh through his father, a banker, and father-in-law, Hugh’s GP.  They became steadfast friends. In his last twenty years, Hugh called in on Malcolm and his family every Sunday, always at 5 pm.

Malcolm Menelaus served as a Trustee of the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation until his death in September 2000.


Stephen Newton AO

Following an extensive career in Education where he served as Chair of State and National sector organisations, and as a school principal for twenty five years, Stephen Newton chose to make his next contribution in the community welfare sector. He is a past Chair and member of the Board of Anglicare Victoria and currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and as a Director of the Epworth Medical Foundation. He became an advisor to the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation in 2012, was appointed a Trustee in 2014, and became Chairman of the Foundation in 2021.

Susan Hughes

Susan began her career as a solicitor but most of her working life has been involved with schools in a variety of roles including parent representative and school council member. She has volunteered in various legal and consumer representative roles. She has a strong interest in creating opportunities for young people to embrace their potential. She has been a Trustee since 2011.

James Garde

James is a financial adviser specialising in mergers & acquisitions and corporate finance. He spent in excess of 30 years with PwC in Melbourne and London and subsequently was the Executive Director of a significant Australian family office. He is an experienced executive and non-executive director across various industries including retail, property, media, financial, and children’s disability services. James was appointed as a Trustee in 2021.



Who we fund

The Foundation funds organisations and projects in the areas of: the Arts; Education; the Environment; Health and Community Wellbeing; Leadership and Community Development; and Local and Regional Development. Provision is made for support at times of particular need such as responding to natural disasters and other emergencies or significant issues and events such as the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The approach of the Trustees is to engage strongly with those individuals and organisations which receive support.

Here are some examples of projects and initiatives we fund


2021 Grants

Grant recipientProjectDescription
Melbourne Indigenous Transition School364 Church Street Alumni Boarding HouseContributing capital funding for the renovation of the new MITS Boarding House which will house MITS alumni supporting them to successfully complete their education in Melbourne.
Melbourne Recital CentreMaking WavesSupporting MRC & Virtual Schools Victoria to address the significant lack of specialist learning and performance opportunities for student composers, especially those living in outer-metro and regional Victoria.
Mornington Peninsula FoundationContinuing the Elevate pilotHelping to extend by one further year a trial within Western Port Secondary School (WPSC) to implement Oakwood school practices to retain students of a similar cohort at Western Port Secondary College and thereby improving engagement and retention of students at risk of exiting the system.
Museums VictoriaFirst Peoples Cadetship ProgramFunding to support the creation of pathways and opportunities for Koorie youth across the museums, cultural heritage sector, and back on Country, whilst connecting with First Peoples cultural material and knowledge held within museum collections across Australia.
University of MelbourneEnhancing First Nations Discipline Expertise at Science Gallery MelbourneFunding to enable employment of First Nations professional in the area of Media and communications, Digital experiences, Curatorship, or Collections to help ensure that First Nations knowledge and representation is embedded within the operations of the Gallery.
Yarra Valley ECOSSECOSS Crops for Community programFunding to support the employment of a horticultural trainer and a disability worker to enable ECOSS to engage people with an intellectual disability in their programs for growing, cooking and preserving food for sale at events or donation to other community groups in the region.
Health & Community Wellbeing
AlkiraOpening the world to all abilitiesHelping to replace aged and basic computer equipment and facilities to enable greater accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities.
DoGood VolunteersTwelve & Thirteen ProgramsContributing to the cost of employing a Program Manager on a full time basis to enhance the programs’ ability to educate program participants about social justice issues and to deliver more benefit to the programs’ charity partners.
Habitat for Humanity, VictoriaCrib Point ProjectSupporting an affordable housing project that will help people experiencing disadvantage to own their own home on the Mornington Peninsula.
International Specialised Skills InstituteInnovation in Ageing International FellowshipsProviding funding for the awarding of 2 Fellowships per annum designed to stimulate improved quality of life for older Australians by supporting practitioners to access to global best practice and disseminate this information across the aged care sector.
Royal Melbourne HospitalJune Allen AwardsProviding funding for an additional award in 2021 to enable nurses at Royal Melbourne Hospital (especially those who have been involved in frontline care during the pandemic to undertake further study, travel overseas (as appropriate) and to make a significant contribution to patient care and treatment at the RMH.
The Queen’s FundAssisting women in crisisSupporting The Queen’s Fund to financially assist and empower single women and children in Victoria who are in distress, crisis or emergency situations.
The Salvation ArmyFamily Support worker for BridgehavenProviding parenting support and skill development, alongside the Bridgehaven AOD treatment program to assist women in their recovery journey and enable them to make more successful transitions back into the community.
YoorallaA picture is worth a thousand words: Snaps and Stories to measure goal attainment by people with disabilityFunding for the cost of developing the Snaps and Stories application will help people with disability to overcome the barriers and challenges they face in establishing and achieving meaningful goals.
Youth Live4LifeImplementation of Live4Life in the Bass Coast & South Gippsland ShiresSupporting the implementation and embedding of a successful community grown, evidence-based model for improving youth mental health and reducing suicide across rural and regional communities.
Leadership & Community Development
Local & Regional Community Development
Birchip Cropping GroupRegenerative Farming forumSupporting a 2021 farming forum, in Birchip, with leading industry panellists which will seek to provide an industry consensus on the definition on “regenerative farming”.
Birchip Cropping GroupHugh D.T Williamson- BCG Research scholarshipsInvesting in young agriculturalists to support their research capability, and to build a human capital resource base that has skills to support the sustainability of Victoria’s farmers into the future.
Responding to natural disasters and other emergencies
Bug BlitzBug Blitz field events for bushfire-affected schools
Regional Leadership Australia (Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs Secretariat Inc)Gippsland Regional Community Leadership Program project: - East Gippsland Tool Drive IISupporting the communities of East Gippsland to heal and grow following the devastating Black Summer bushfires through the implementation of a regeneration project developed by the local communities for those communities.

2022 Grants

Grant recipientProjectDescription
Arts Centre MelbourneMaintenance and upkeep of The Hugh Williamson RoomA contribution towards the costs associated with the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of The Hugh Williamson Room at Arts Centre Melbourne.
A is for AtlasDining Room TalesFunding for the delivery of four Dining Room Tales (DRT) events in communities in Victoria’s west. DRT is a ‘global-local’ social art practice centred on food that seeks to connect diverse audiences and build healthier, more empathetic communities.
River Nile Learning CentreFacility fit-outFunding for the fit-out of new premises.
River Nile Learning CentreSocial Worker roleSupporting the employment of a social worker to support the wellbeing and ongoing education of the students attending RNLC.
Sovereign Hill Museums AssociationFirst Nations Cultural OfficerSupporting the engagement of a First Nations Cultural Officer to develop and deliver museum education programs and build cultural competency amongst Sovereign Hill Museum workers. The Officer will also support the Museum’s programming team to develop and deliver First Nations programming for the public.
The Salvation ArmyHugh Williamson Scholarship FundSupporting education and training opportunities for young people in Melbourne’s west/north.
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden FoundationKitchen Garden Program community supportStephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation Kitchen Garden Program community support Funding to support the employment of a Community Engagement Officer to provide specialised assistance to regenerate and activate
kitchen garden programs throughout Victoria.
McClelland Sculpture Park + GalleryEnvironmental Systems ManagerFunding to support the employment of an Environmental Systems Manager to lead key landscape restoration and renewable energy projects over the next three years as McClelland pursues its ‘art with nature’ focus.
Sovereign Hill Museums AssociationSustainability RoadmapFunding for the development of a Sustainability Roadmap to address three key drivers of the future direction of Sovereign Hill – becoming a “Net Producer” of energy by 2030; having a well-articulated and actionable Biodiversity Plan at
Narmbool; and meeting the expectations of growth in their education commitments into the future.
Health & Community Wellbeing
AlkiraOpening the world to all abilities projectContributing funds towards the installation of wheelchair lift to support all abilities access to Alkira’s new computer hub facility.
Epworth Medical FoundationBrookes Nursing and Midwifery Academy at EpworthContributing funds towards the development and establishment of the Brookes Nursing and Midwifery Academy at Epworth to better develop and retain nurses and midwives in the health workforce.
Global Gardens of PeaceVASS ProjectFunding towards the design and construction of a ‘forest food garden’ at Yooralla’s Ventilator Accommodation Support Service.
Global Gardens of PeaceOperational fundingContribution towards the annual operating cost of this voluntary organisation that builds gardens for vulnerable communities.
Royal Melbourne HospitalJune Allen AwardTo enhance patient care and treatment in Victoria by supporting the education and development of nurses at Royal Melbourne Hospital through the June Allen Award that was established by Hugh Williamson during his lifetime.
The Queen’s FundAssisting women and children in crisisSupporting The Queen’s Fund to financially assist and empower women and children in Victoria who are in distress, crisis or emergency situations.
The Salvation Army (Hobsons Bay Corp)Just BrassSupporting the creation of opportunities for children and young people in the Laverton area to learn a musical instrument and have their personal, social and spiritual development needs attended to.
The Salvation Army (Hobsons Bay Corp)Refugee supportContribution towards the work of supporting people to be released from refugee camps in Turkey, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, and Lebanon, to reunite with their families and settle in Australia.
WallaraInclusive Jobs HubContribution towards the cost of building Wallara’s Inclusive Jobs Hub at Sages Farm for the purpose of scaling up Wallara’s capacity to create work pathways and paid jobs for people with intellectual disability.
Leadership & Community Development
Local & Regional Community Development
Clunes Neighbourhood HouseClunes former Free Lending Library: Planning works prior to renovationContribution towards the cost of the Planning works prior to renovation of Clunes former Free Lending Library
Responding to natural disasters and other emergencies
Greater Shepparton Lighthouse ProjectSupporting families in Greater Shepparton to recover from the floodsFunding to support the community impacted by recent floods. The GSLP team is working directly with impacted families to navigate existing systems, advocating for access and essential changes to services, providing individual support to families and filling the gaps of what is currently available.
Regional Leadership Australia (Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs Secretariat Inc)

2023 Grants

Grant recipientProjectDescription
Melbourne Recital CentreLearning and Access ConsortiumSupporting the Recital Centre’s broad suite of Learning and Access programs
Western Edge Youth ArtsCommunity Edge EnsemblesSupporting the delivery in each of 2023, 2024 and 2025 of a community youth theatre program that is open to any young person across Melbourne's western suburbs aged 13-30 years, especially those from diverse and multicultural backgrounds, and those experiencing structural disadvantage.
National Gallery of VictoriaThe Fox: NGV ContemporaryContribution to the capital campaign to establish The Fox: NGV Contemporary
Neil Porter LegacyOperational & program costsFunding to support enhanced careers education in South Western Victoria (the shires of Warrnambool, Corangamite, and Moyne).
Olympic Village Primary SchoolKoondee Ngarrngi programSupporting the delivery of a formal program that enables First Nations students to connect with the community and learn about traditional practices, as well as their people's history and culture as a means of enhancing school attendance, learning and wellbeing outcomes.
River Nile Learning CentreRNLC Classroom ExpansionFunding for minor renovations that will enable the expansion of classroom space to accommodate a growing number of students.
Sovereign Hill Museums Association"Williamson (Indigenous) garden" in the Wadawurrung Cultural Precinct.Previously-approved grant funds reallocated towards the development of an Indigenous garden and gathering space in the Wadawurrung Cultural Precinct being constructed at Sovereign Hill with the purpose of embedding First Nations perspectives in the history shared at Sovereign Hill.
Dolphin Research InstituteWilliamson Research Fellowship programTo enable the DRI to employ and support one or more Research Fellows from 2023 to 2026, to maintain and develop the Institute's Core Research Program whilst supporting the development of early-career scientists.
Wetlands Environmental Taskforce Public FundPlanting of 400 trees at the Heart MorassSupporting the health of the Heart Morass wetlands ecosystem by enabling the planting of 400 trees on the property. This grant was made in commemoration of the 400th meeting of the Foundation’s Trustees
Hub Foundation Castlemaine‘YIMBY’ – Yes In My Back YardFunding for the scaling up of the YIMBY composting and community strengthening iniative.
Whittlesea Community ConnectionsNugal Biik SeedsSupporting the establishment of a nursery social enterprise to produce native seeds creating environmental benefits and employment pathways.
Health & Community Wellbeing
Clunes Neighbourhood HouseMobility access ramps for the Clunes Former Free Lending LibraryFunding for the installation of mobility access ramps at the Clunes Former Free Lending Library to enable full access to facilities for the whole community.
Combined Churches Caring MeltonBudgeting programContribution to the costs of running a budget education program to support the Foodbank’s clients’ financial mobility and to assist the organisation identify those most in need of further assistance.
Habitat for Humanity VictoriaCrib Point ProjectAdditional funding in support of the Crib Point affordable housing project.
Horses for HopeSubsidy FundTo fund or subsidise participation in the equine therapy program for those in financial need.
Jean Hailes for Women’s HealthImproving health and wellbeing for women in the westSupporting the development and distribution of resources in multiple languages to enhance health literacy and health outcomes for women in Melbourne’s west.
Orange Sky AustraliaLaundry Pod/s in regional areas of VictoriaFunding for the establishment and/or operation of a Laundry Pod/s in regional areas of Victoria.
St Kilda MumsImplementing the St Kilda Mums Volunteer RoadmapAssisting with the implementation of the organisation’s new Volunteer Roadmap with an initial focus on growing the volunteer workforce and increasing its efficiency.
WintringhamHousing Support & Outreach WorkerFunding to support older people in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region through a Housing Support & Outreach Worker role.
Leadership & Community Development
Regional Leadership Collective (VRCLP Secretariat)2024 scholarshipsSupporting the development of leadership and community capacity in regional Victoria by providing funding towards the participation of 10 local community members in the 9 regional community leadership programs operating in Victoria in 2024 (1 per program + 1 Denis Tricks Scholarship).
Local & Regional Community Development
Ballaarat Mechanics InstituteRepairs to the Hugh Williamson FoyerFunding to repair damaged walls in the Hugh Williamson Foyer of the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute building.
Ballarat Foundation United WayBallarat Community Hub – Hugh Williamson HouseSupporting the redevelopment of a building in Ballarat’s CBD to create a community hub for the benefit of the wider Ballarat community.
Responding to natural disasters and other significant issues


The Foundation does not have an open grant round process. The Trustees prefer to be active in the community and to build relationships with people and organisations undertaking work in the areas of focus for the Foundation.

    © 2022 The Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation