SOLID GOLD

LUCY TURN­BULL DE­VISED A FUNDRAIS­ING DIN­NER FOR THE SYD­NEY CHIL­DREN’S HOS­PI­TAL IN 1997 – ONLY A MEET­ING WITH THE TRUMPS COULD MAKE HER MISS THE 20TH AN­NIVER­SARY.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - MOTORING - STORY MI­LANDA ROUT K PHOTOGRAPHY NICK CUBBIN

Lucy Turn­bull had a good rea­son to miss this year’s Gold Din­ner. The pres­ti­gious an­nual event to raise money for the Syd­ney Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal was mark­ing its 20th an­niver­sary and it was def­i­nitely some­thing to cel­e­brate. Un­for­tu­nately it clashed with meet­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and First Lady Me­la­nia in New York. But that hap­pens when you are mar­ried to the Prime Min­is­ter.

“I think we had to go,” Turn­bull tells WISH, laugh­ing. “But I was very sad to have missed out on the 20th an­niver­sary as it was a real land­mark and a sen­sa­tional even­ing. It raised a huge amount of money and that is just fan­tas­tic.”

Held at Car­riage­works in Eveleigh, in Syd­ney’s in­ner-south, the din­ner did in­deed raise a huge amount of money – $2 mil­lion from the 450 guests who at­tended the black-tie event. There was the $1500-a-ticket en­try price, an auc­tion of do­nated goods from the best fash­ion and travel brands across the world (Louis Vuit­ton, Dior, Pas­pa­ley and Emi­rates among them), and MCs Lisa Wilkin­son and David Camp­bell man­aged to ca­jole $20,000 pledges from the at­ten­dees.

It took the to­tal money raised by the Gold Din­ner for the hos­pi­tal to $25 mil­lion over the 20 years – a large sum by any mea­sure. “It has been a won­der­ful achieve­ment,” Turn­bull says. The for­mer Syd­ney Lord Mayor con­ceived the event in 1997 when she was chair of the Syd­ney Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion. She, along with fel­low foun­da­tion board mem­bers Lyndi Adler and Skye Leckie, wanted to cre­ate a sig­na­ture din­ner for the hos­pi­tal.

“We de­cided we needed to have a reg­u­lar event to give the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal more recog­ni­tion and the fund­ing ca­pac­ity to do the great work it does,” she says. Adler was the first chair of the Gold Din­ner com­mit­tee and Turn­bull says the “orig­i­nal vi­sion” was very much hers. “She wanted to make sure peo­ple would have a great night as well as raise money for a good cause,” says Turn­bull, now an event am­bas­sador.

And so from the very be­gin­ning the Gold Din­ner has be­come known for its in­cred­i­ble venues as well as its spec­tac­u­lar food and wine (or more aptly, cham­pagne). The first one was held at Bar­ford, a her­itage-listed pri­vate home in Belle­vue Hill in Syd­ney’s east­ern suburbs (re­port­edly on the mar­ket with an ask­ing price of $60 mil­lion). In 2004, it was held in a mar­quee in Hyde Park that ac­tu­ally en­closed the land­mark Archibald Foun­tain. That was Turn­bull’s favourite: “Not ev­ery­one loved the idea be­cause it en­closed [the foun­tain] but to have the Archibald Foun­tain as the fo­cal point of the room was pretty spe­cial.”

This year was no dif­fer­ent. Car­riage­works was trans­formed by painted foil back­drops with spec­tac­u­lar im­ages pro­jected on them. “All the din­ners have been amaz­ing,” says Turn­bull. But what about her event in New York and the First Lady? “She was ab­so­lutely charm­ing, a lovely per­son. She was ter­rific. We were there for only 36 hours so it is a bit of a blur now but it was a great visit.”

The din­ner at Car­riage­works, amid painted foil back­drops, had Lisa Wilkin­son and David Camp­bell as MCs, above right, and art dealer Justin Miller as auc­tion­eer, right.

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