Fryer in the news: Five-pound gift to UQ makes philanthropy top 50 list

Portrait of Lieutenant John Denis Fryer

A 1927 donation of just five pounds and five shillings to The University of Queensland has been listed among 'Australia's Top 50 Philanthropic Gifts' of all time.

The donation led to the development of The University of Queensland's world-renowned Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature, and is one of two University of Queensland features in the top 50 list.

The Mayne Bequest that has underpinned UQ's School of Medicine for the past 75 years is also on the prestigious list that celebrates Australia's most significant philanthropic achievements from the 1800s until today.

Both donations are in the running for an Australian Top 10 list that will be decided by public voting open until 28 October.

In 1927, UQ's Student's Dramatic Society honoured the memory of their late Vice-President, World War I veteran Jack Fryer, with a small gift to establish a library that has become a cultural treasure benefiting thousands of people.

Established in 1927 to assist the study of Australian literature, the Fryer Library continues to support scholarship and research through its extensive holdings of publications and manuscripts of some of Australia's leading writers.

The library's archives include almost 100,000 volumes of publications, along with manuscripts, rare books, research theses and other special collections.

James Mayne and his sister Mary Mayne bequeathed their entire estates to The University of Queensland in 1939 and 1940 respectively, enabling UQ to become a leading provider of medical education and research in Australia.

The Top 50 list was compiled after an extensive public nomination process led by a working group of philanthropic organisations including the Myer Family Company, The Myer Foundation and Sydney Myer Fund, Pro Bono Australia, Philanthropy Australia and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne University of Technology.

UQ Advancement Manager Ms Ruth O'Hanlon said both the Fryer Library and the Mayne Bequest were examples of how gifts of different sizes could have profound impacts.

"On one hand we have a gift of just over five pounds that led to the creation of a culturally important library that hundreds of researchers from around the country use every year," she said.

"On the other hand we have a generous bequest that has helped train leading doctors who have made positive and meaningful contributions to Australia and the world.

"The gifts demonstrate how big a difference people can make with a donation or by including a charity or research institution in their will," Ms O'Hanlon said.

Myer Family Company Head of Philanthropic Services Peter Winneke said the Top 50 list highlighted the fact that philanthropy was not about the dollar amount of the gift, but the long-lasting impact the gift could have.

"Philanthropy can be a powerful change agent, and a family foundation can be an extraordinary educational tool for the next generation," he said.

Other philanthropic gifts to make the Top-50 include those that led to the redevelopment of the Museum for Contemporary Art, the creation of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research building, and the establishment of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Human Rights Law Centre.

via UQ news online

You can read more about this story on the ABC news website.


Last updated:
4 May 2016