The Governor of Victoria's speech for the Dafydd Lewis Trust Scholarship 75th Anniversary.
The Right Hon The Lord Mayor Sally Capp
Lord Mayor of Melbourne & Patron of Dafydd Lewis Trust
Mr Andrew Fitzpatrick, Chair, and the Trustees of the Dafydd Lewis Trust Scholarship
All distinguished guests
First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this afternoon.
Tony and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House to mark this important milestone.
Not every organisation achieves a 75th birthday. And certainly not every scholarship. It takes clever and careful stewardship across several generations.
And so we were particularly keen to celebrate with you the good work and the enduring legacy of the Dafydd Lewis Trust Scholarship.
I was curious to learn more about the man behind the legacy.
What was it that prompted a businessman who migrated to Australia from Wales in the late Nineteenth Century to dedicate his estate to be held in perpetual trust to provide scholarships for boys?
Quite simply, Dafydd Lewis was concerned about the plight of boys who were, as he had been, deprived of an education due to a lack of financial resources.
Well, thanks to his generosity and vision, since the scholarships were first offered in 1943, the Dafydd Lewis Trust has empowered more than 1100 young men.
Eleven hundred young men – whose circumstances may otherwise have prevented them from attending university – have been able to pursue higher education and receive the benefits from expanded career opportunities.
Generations of men whose lives have thus been changed. Who have been steered into successful careers. But also enabled to contribute more broadly to public life.
Tony and I both understand the transformative effects of education. Our shared backgrounds in the criminal and family courts – more than eight decades between us – inform us that there is no greater path forward from disadvantage than through education.
Education is a powerful disruptor, that enables people to surpass the expectations placed on them, and to overcome hurdles otherwise placed in their way.
It is wonderful to know that in 2018 alone, 50 scholars are being supported in their undergraduate studies through this program.
And it is heartening to see so many former scholarship holders with us, knowing how much they have helped to support these scholarships, as well as their ‘sister’ scholarships.
The Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship Foundation – aptly named for Dafydd Lewis’s wife – offers a number of scholarships for women to study at the University of Melbourne.
Thank you to the Chair, Andrew Fitzpatrick – a former scholar himself – and all former Chairs, to current and former Trustees, and to all those who have helped to ensure that Dafydd Lewis’s generosity and vision have reaped their far-reaching benefits across the past 75 years.
We wish the Trust a very happy birthday, with many more to come.