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Opening Night: Above and Beyond


Event Status

Join these Australian cultural icons as they reflect on the moments that shaped them – going above and beyond in their careers, personal lives and creative endeavours.

About the Event

Spring Fling is back! To open the 2023 series, join writer and disability activist Hannah Diviney, tennis champion Jelena Dokic, award-winning author Melissa Lucashenko, prominent campaigner for the Voice Thomas Mayo, and Zimbabwean-Australian singer, actor and writer Rufaro Zimbudzi, as they reflect on a moment in which they’ve transcended the everyday, followed by a very special musical performance by celebrated singer-songwriter Emma Donovan.

These iconic guests have all gone above and beyond in their personal and professional lives – from fighting for a fairer world on the page and in pop culture to driving change on the tennis court and in Parliament. In this intimate evening of storytelling, reflection and music hosted by Patricia Karvelas, we’ll hear what it means to keep reaching for the stars.

Refresh your perspectives and lift your spirits at this special evening at the Melbourne Town Hall, where we’ll launch Spring Fling’s interstellar 12-day program of talks, panels and performances.


Accessible toilets available

Assistive Listening

Auslan Interpreted

Registered Assistance Animals welcome

Wheelchair accessible

Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

About the Bookseller


The bookseller for this event is Readings.


About Spring Fling

Spring Fling returns in 2023, and this year we’re going Above and Beyond.

We’re looking further, delving deeper, and asking bigger questions with outstanding thinkers who are reshaping our world and envisioning extraordinary futures.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian State Government.


Spring Fling


Hannah Diviney

Hannah Diviney is one of the most impressive new young faces and voices in the public eye. The multi hyphenate is a writer and a disability advocate (her biggest work includes the wildly successful petition encouraging Disney to create a disabled Disney Princess and making international ... Read more

Jelena Dokic

Jelena Dokic was a prodigious tennis player who made the quarter-finals of Wimbledon at the age of just 16. She was heralded as Australia’s greatest tennis hope since Evonne Goolagong. She had exceptional skills, a steely nerve and an unrivalled fight on the court. At 17 she reached the semi-fin... Read more

Emma Donovan

Highly celebrated, ARIA-nominated, award-winning Indigenous singer and songwriter Emma Donovan has been touring the country for over 20 years, performing soulful songs and sharing powerful stories with audiences around the globe. Emma first appeared on the stage with her renowned family band The Don... Read more

Patricia Karvelas

Patricia Karvelas is a prominent Australian journalist, beginning her professional career at the ABC and SBS 20 years ago. She currently presents Radio National’s flagship radio current affairs programme RN Breakfast. Patricia co-hosts the ABC’s popular weekly political podcast, The Party Room... Read more

Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie (Aboriginal) author of Bundjalung and European heritage. Her first novel was published in 1997 and since then her work has received acclaim in many literary awards. Killing Darcy won the Royal Blind Society Award and was shortlisted for an Aurealis award. Her sixth n... Read more

Thomas Mayo

Thomas Mayo is a Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man. He is the National Indigenous Officer of the MUA. Thomas is a signatory of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and has been a leading advocate since its inception in May 2017. He is the Chairperson of the Norther... Read more

Rufaro Zimbudzi

Rufaro Zimbudzi is a Zimbabwean-Australian singer, actor and writer. Her passion for the creative arts has allowed her to openly express the fusion of cultures she was brought up on in the diaspora, as she strives to be the representation she never truly saw growing up. Rufaro is a musical theatre u... Read more


Melbourne Town Hall

90-120 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.