Sunday, September 8, 2013

100 Story Building* launch

A great deal of people have crazy, beautiful dreams, but very few of them have the tenacity or enthusiasm to actually realise them. Yesterday, many years of hard work came together in one glorious moment when the 100 Story Building's actual building was launched.

I remember Lachlann Carter and Jenna Williams sitting at my kitchen table several years ago, fresh out of Melbourne Uni, telling me their dreams of starting a writing centre for kids inspired by the Valencia 826 model Dave Eggers had begun. Yesterday the doors to that centre were finally opened. Standing amongst the crowds of people who had turned up for the launch, I felt as proud as a mother hen.

Here are a few highlights of the launch in photos:

Lachlann gave a tour of the building, which you can see mapped out on this builder's blueprint below.

He explained that the other 99 stories were still in construction and while they were accessible through this trapdoor in the ground, it was still a dangerous work in progress so warned people to steer well clear.

Other than strange noises and smells coming from below, the only sign of the other residents were the occasional note they left each other on this pin-board.

Out front, storyteller extraordinaire, Bernard Caleo, entertained the crowds with a traditional Japanese tale on chalkboard, and did a tremendous job, especially as he was competing with the noise of the Ethiopian new year festival only 500 metres along.

Soon it was time for the formal proceedings. We heard first from Lachlann, then after the Welcome To Country...

we listened to a radio play put on by students...

then heard from the delightful Alice Pung, fellow ambassador and board member.

Co-founder, Jess Tran, cut the ribbon around the bookcase to declare the building officially open, only to discover it  swung open to hide a secret room - and access to the bank vaults next door! They left the money in the vaults for now, but handed out lucky-dip books to the kids instead...

who then went back to the activities set up for them...

which included drawing comic strips...

and pitching story ideas to the editorial team of Early Harvest including the brilliant and beautiful Davina Bell, wearing her bespoke paper editorial glasses.

It was a truly beautiful launch, so much love in one small building, and such a testament to all the hard work that Lach, Jess and Jenna have put in over the years. I know they have an extraordinary future ahead of them.

I couldn't be prouder to be associated with such a fine bunch of people.

* Now with 100% more building!