The annual ISES Melbourne Gala Dinner is the chapter’s feature event of the year and this year it was held in the wonderful, iconic, Myer Mural Hall.
report and social pix by Trevor Connell
I first visited the Mural Hall some years ago to see an exhibition and was struck by the beauty and potential of the place then. In February of this year I was part of the AIME media tour that inspected the renovated but not yet reopened hall.
The approach to the venue is interesting in itself. Through the (very loud) Myer cosmetics section on the ground floor to the lift, then through rows of beds to the pre-function area. This then makes for a nice segue from the brightly lit store to the hall itself. The pre-function area is modern and comfortable with funky furniture that, although modern, reflects what is in store.
Following the pre-function drinks it was into the Mural Hall itself, where two long tables were placed down the centre of the room and beautifully decorated by The Big Group along with floral arrangements by Amos & Smith.
Owner of The Big Group, Bruce Keebaugh gave guests a background of the Mural Hall and an update of what they have invested in the new incarnation.
The 10 murals that line the walls have an estimated value of $2M each and are considered by the National trust to be the finest examples of Art Deco in Australia.
The Big Group commissioned tableware to reflect the history of the building.
The venue reopened on 2nd April 2011 and there have been 25 events held there since then – it is now THE venue for high profile events.
The Michael Milburn Lifetime Achievement award this year went to Harry the Hirer’s, Rick Jamieson.
Rick was unable to attend the dinner and the award was accepted on his behalf by Gabriel Robinson
This is an edited extract from his acceptance speech.
The underlying message was one of gratitude and humility, particularly in the context of being honoured with an award named after a dear old colleague of Rick’s in Michael Milburn.
Rick is very thankful for the opportunities that have come his way through the hard work that the business has invested throughout its 30 years of operation.
The business has grown from a two man, backyard operation that hired the odd army tent, plastic chair and table to, what is today, a 500 person strong multifaceted and modern business that plays a significant role in the Australian event and exhibition industries.
Most importantly, he is very proud of the contribution the business has made, in conjunction with other industry leaders, towards establishing Melbourne as a world leader in sporting, cultural and one-off extravaganza events.
A good example of this is an event such as Melbourne cup. When Harry’s began its involvement at Flemington, the Birdcage was filled with cars, busses and picnic rugs; food was loaded out of car boots and you could see the horses gallop only metres away.
Now look at the Birdcage in its modern format – arguably the most opulent level of corporate entertainment in the world. The transformation is profound.
Our industry, via the direct actions of many, is renowned for its progressive outlook, innovative approach and most importantly, stand-out ability to consistently deliver events to a world-leading standard – Rick does stress this point – we truly are, world leading.
The success of Melbourne’s event industry and Harry the Hirer, Rick is quick to point out, is due to the support of many that have worked alongside him, from the very early days, to build an industry that demands, yet rewards, the highest quality of service and workmanship.
Rick has often spoken with me about the success of the business: he makes a point of continually reinforcing his conviction that the business has got to where it is today as a direct consequence of the people we employ.
It is the quality of the people and their energy which will bring success – employ people that are fun to be around, that you enjoy seeing every day, that you can have a laugh and a drink with, that you enjoy working with shoulder to shoulder late into the night – get the right people and the work will come.
Entertainment for the evening featured a nice swing band Dirty Martini during dinner and DJ Treason to follow. MC Charles Kovess kept the event clicking along.
The food was divine – Entrée of smoked ocean trout with pickled onions, salt and vinegar crisps and rocket mayonnaise.
Then a Champagne Sorbet followed by Herb-roast chicken on parsnip skordalia with silverbeet, glazed carrots and rosemary jus.
A roaming dessert was served in the pre-function area – Candied pear tarte tatin; baby chocolate and mascarpone mouse layer cake and Lemon curd tartlet.
And was accompanied by Maison de Grand Esprit ‘Les Petites Vignettes’ Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV (Burgundy, France) – available exclusively to on-premise and fine wine retail. Distant Cousins Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, NZ) – available to on-premise and independent retailers. St Huberts ‘The Stag’ Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)
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Venue: Myer Mural Hall
Catering and table décor: The Big Group
Lighting & Audio: Harry The Hirer
Wines: Treasury Wine Estates
Floral arrangements: Amos & Smith
DJ equipment: Select AV
MC: Kovess International
Band: Dirty Martini
Photography: Soul Impressions
About the Myer Murals
For 71 years hundreds upon thousands of Australian shoppers and international tourists have marvelled at the murals located in the Myer Mural Hall of our Melbourne store, but few know the story behind the murals.
The murals’ creator artist Napier Waller was born in country Victoria and lived in Melbourne for most of his life.
Following the loss of his arm while serving in the First World War, Waller spent time in England having to learn how to remaster the arts of sketching and painting, using his left arm.
As a testament to the artist’s strength and determination he was able to re-learn his craft and he returned to Melbourne having overcome a major obstacle.
His ability to create beautiful public works that concentrated on medieval subjects and classical themes led to the artist being commissioned to create art which could be enjoyed by the general public.
Sidney Myer, the founder of the then Myer Emporium commissioned the artist to create the murals, which act as a tribute to women and their achievements throughout history.
The huge Myer murals took approximately one year to complete and were painted at Waller’s studio at Fairy Hills in Ivanhoe and then transported to the Mural Hall in Melbourne.
The ten murals which line the 150 foot long, 60 foot wide, and 24 foot high hall are a celebration of influential figures in the areas of art, history, opera, literature, dance and fashion.
Sidney Myer did not live to see the works as they were competed only a few months after his death in 1935.