Community Foundation History Book commended at Victorian Community History Awards

The Mirboo North & District Community Foundation is delighted that ‘From Rural Health to Community Strengthening’ was recognised with commendation at the 2023 Victorian Community History Awards from a field of 168 nominations.  

Two individuals, a woman on the left and a man on the right, are smiling and holding a commendation certificate and a book titled "FROM RURAL HEALTH TO COMMUNITY STRENGTHENING: The History of the Mirboo North & District Community Foundation". They are standing in front of a digital screen displaying a message of congratulations and thanks for contributions to the state's history, likely at the Victorian Community History Awards ceremony. The woman is wearing a green dress and the man is in a smart suit with a patterned tie. The mood is celebratory and proud.

Celebrating a Milestone

At an awards ceremony at the Melbourne Arts Centre last Friday, February 2nd, the 148pp history book, which tells the origin story of the Community Foundation, was commended in the Small History Publication category.

The Victorian Community History Awards have been running since 1999 and are organised by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in partnership with the Public Records Office.  Their aim is to celebrate community history projects which are dedicated to telling local stories which help all Victorians to better understand their past.

‘We are absolutely thrilled that From Rural Health to Community Strengthening has received a commendation.  This publication, written by Dr. Julie Fenwick, tells a story of which we are very proud,” explains Robert Kiddell, Chair of the Mirboo North & District Community Foundation.  “And it also offers insight to other communities on how to build capacity and community through a perpetual community foundation structure’.

A Story of Community and Growth

The beautifully designed book tells the origin story of the Mirboo North & District Community Foundation, a place-based perpetual charitable organisation set up in 2010 with $5 million.  In the 13 years since its inception, this Community Foundation has grown its perpetual fund to $8.3 million, distributed more than $1.6 million to the district, received more than $1.2 million in donations and built a medical centre facility for a bulk billing medical practice.   However, the story really began 90 years ago, with the creation of the Mirboo North Bush Nursing Hospital in 1932.

“The book captures the story of a self-reliant and service minded regional community over 90 years,” says Dr. Julie Fenwick, author.  “It is not just the organisation’s origin story but a story of what shapes and forms a strong community, both through the eyes and voices of 27 local individuals and the extensive records of the Mirboo & District Historical Society and other sources.”

“This book not only honours the community efforts in the area around Mirboo North over the last 90 years,” concludes Rob “it also empowers the community today to understand its challenges and to seize future opportunities.”

Continue Supporting a Legacy

There are a number of ways to access this publication:  four copies are available through the MyLi – My Community Library organisation (Mirboo North, Leongatha and Korrumburra libraries); there are copies for sale in the Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s shop in Melbourne CBD, The Artspace in Mirboo North and you can purchase a copy directly from the Mirboo North & District Community Foundation ($20 donation plus postage) by emailing