The Australia-Pacific Centre for Initiatives of Change operates out of a 100-year house in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak. ‘Armagh’, once the home of the Cecil McKay family, was gifted to Initiatives of Change in 1956 to use as a base for our peace-building work. The building is a residence for a small live-in community, office premises for a few Melbourne-based staff, and a platform for community-based peace building initiatives.
'Be the change'
The community at Armagh has a mix of families, couples and singles in residence at any given time. Living in community is a chance for us to deeply encounter ‘the other’ in the form of people from different backgrounds, with different beliefs, faiths and world views. We believe that a just, sustainable and peaceful world must start with ourselves and our day-to-day relationships with family, friends and neighbours, based on common standards of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. The community at Armagh seeks to model a way of living grounded in this belief.
If walls could talk...
Depending on the time of year, visitors to Armagh may find children playing in the garden, asylum seekers cooking food in our catering kitchen, a meditation group sitting in silence, equipment for a film screening being set up, or a training session for youth leaders under way! The building itself has played a role in many meetings as a warm and intimate venue for IofC’s mission of ‘building peace across the world’s divides.’ That work can happen in meetings for 100 people or in one-on-one conversations, as well as in all sizes of groups in between.
Over the years, Armagh has been the place where, for example, South Sudanese diaspora groups have convened across tribal boundaries, where Cambodian and Vietnamese youth have jointly organized meetings, and where music, theatre and magic have delighted visitors of all ages.
Armagh has a special link with Indigenous Australia, as many people in the IofC Australia network, past and present, have worked in or closely with First Nations communities. It stands on the land of the Wurundjeri nation, to whose elders we pay our respects.
A platform for peace
In keeping with IofC’s mission of trust building and peace building, we also open Armagh for use by other groups with similar or complementary aims. You may be a community-based organization, an industry body, an NGO, or even just a group of friends with a common purpose. Talk to us if you’d like to use Armagh and can help cover costs of maintenance and use. We apply a sliding scale of user fees.
Armagh offers many inviting and peaceful spaces for meetings, quiet reflection, dinners, music concerts, film screenings and celebrations. A large ballroom and associated meeting and reception rooms may be accessed in various combinations or as part of a whole package. The options also include gardens, a tennis court, and a barbecue area.
IofC Australia is also represented by other homes and centres located across the country. To get in touch with IofC near you, drop us a line via this page.