Ten years ago today, the Wheeler Centre held its first public event – a Gala Night of Storytelling. With a sold-out audience at Melbourne Town Hall, we heard 12 reflections about the stories that make us who we are. Now, a full decade later, those stories are part of our own foundation.
Like many worthwhile things, the Wheeler Centre began simply: as a conversation and an idea. In our short lifetime, we've grown in all kinds of surprising ways. Best of all, we’ve grown with the city from which we emerged – a community of discussion, debate and careful thought.
Since opening our doors in 2010, the Wheeler Centre has hosted more than 2,400 events and 4,200 speakers. More than 380,000 people have attended our events, predominantly in Melbourne, but also across Victoria – from Wangaratta to Sale, Aireys Inlet to Mildura, Bendigo to Warrnambool and Red Hill to Geelong – and around Australia. More than 70% of these events have been free.
Throughout this year, as we mark our birthday and the turning of a new decade, we’d like to celebrate with you. We’ve been lucky to talk with you about almost every topic, in insightful, useful and often entertaining ways. As we revisit our extensive archive of talks, podcasts and writing, we’ll invite you to revisit some of our key stories and provocations; to join us in asking what’s changed, and what changes are around the corner.
Our aim has always been to energise writing and publishing in Australia – from individual writers and small literary organisations to libraries, publishers, booksellers and readers – and to build connections between words, ideas and actions.
If there’s something we’ve learned in ten years, it’s how restlessly and responsively the tone and rhythm of public conversation changes. We’re here to talk, sure; but also to listen. We’d love to hear about your discussions with and around the Wheeler Centre over the past decade, too: if you’d like to share your thoughts on social media, we’ll see you on #WheelerCentre10.
Thank you, as always, for your company.