Our Story

Our Focus

The Fairley Foundation is a place-based funder, focused on supporting programs in Greater Shepparton. We empower grassroots community programs that contribute to making Greater Shepparton more liveable, culturally rich, educationally successful and supportive of diversity.

The Foundation provides advocacy and financial support for innovative programs that enhance access to education, culture and the arts, resulting in:

  • more children and young people engaged in education and / or work;
  • a thriving arts and creative community with broad access to inspirational music and dance education;
  • events that enhance liveability and celebrate creativity, such as the Shepparton Festival
  • intercultural understanding and greater tolerance of difference; and
  • recognition of the culture and talents of our Indigenous communities.

Our grants program supports initiatives within these aspirations.

Our History

Since 1965

As one of the Founders and subsequently Managing Director of Shepparton Preserving Company Ltd (SPC), Sir Andrew created what by the mid-1960’s was the largest fruit canning complex in the Southern Hemisphere. He was equally committed to the civic prosperity of Shepparton and its governance. He became the first Mayor of Shepparton in 1927, and the first Mayor of the City of Greater Shepparton in 1948.

In creating the Sir Andrew and Lady Foundation, he specified that the Foundation should principally be for the benefit of people and communities of the Greater Shepparton area.

Over nearly 60 years, the Foundation has been recognised as a trusted voice in the Shepparton community, influential in many areas of local life, including through the establishment of the Greater Shepparton Foundation. It has played an important role in enhancing outcomes in education, employment, the arts, health, sport, cultural diversity and social justice.

Inspiring Leaders

Since 1997

The Fairley Leadership Program, established by the Fairley Foundation in 1997, has been one of the most successful regional leadership development programs in Australia.

Carefully designed to develop and maximise an individual’s capacity for community leadership, the year-long Program offers opportunities for local leaders from all walks of life within the Goulburn Murray region to build their skills, knowledge, resilience and capacity as leaders.

The Program provides a mix of learning environments, encouraging the development of a vigorous network of community leaders in a model which has been replicated many times since it was established, across Australia and the Pacific.

​An evaluation found that Fairley Leadership Program alumni were more likely than other members of the community to take on roles in school boards, council, as well as commercial and government leadership.

Established with funding from the Fairley Foundation, the Program is now run by Goulburn Murray Community Leadership. The Fairley Foundation continues to show a strong interest in the progress of participants and trustees have endorsed continued use of the Fairley name for the Program.

Founder and Philanthropist

Sir Andrew Fairley (1884-1965) was a prominent Victorian business figure and respected civic leader in Shepparton for much of his long life. Andrew Walker Fairley arrived in Shepparton as a small child in 1884, after his parents immigrated to Australia from Grangemouth in Scotland with their six young sons. After completing his schooling in Devonport, Tasmania, he joined the family business, Fairley’s emporium in Shepparton and later established a profitable rural and real estate partnership with his brother John Frederick (Fred). An active sportsman, he was a keen shooter, early motoring enthusiast and talented lawn bowls player.
At the age of 37 Fairley joined the board of the struggling cannery then known as the Shepparton Fruit Preserving Company (SPC). A few years later, having been appointed chairman and managing director, Andrew Fairley said he would make the rescue and development of the business his life’s work. And that is what he did. At the helm of SPC he displayed rare gifts in finance and marketing and showed particular concern for employees in every part of the cannery. Many of them were left a generous personal legacy in his will.
When he was knighted in 1951 Sir Andrew was recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in fruit canning and a major figure in Australian primary industry. By the time he died at the age of 81 – and still serving as the company’s leader – he had turned a modest factory in a weatherboard shed into a cannery with an international reputation; the SPC brand was familiar around the world.
Sir Andrew travelled extensively on behalf of SPC and the Australian fruit canning industry. He was also a long serving Commissioner of Victoria’s State Electricity Commission (SEC). For more than 30 years Sir Andrew was married to Neta (formerly Mineta Stewart) and as the couple had no children, the bulk of his considerable estate was used to establish the Fairley Foundation, to assist the people of Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley.
Sir Andrew also played a major role in the development of his adopted hometown and was the first Mayor of the Borough of Shepparton and the first Mayor of the City of Shepparton. After his death, a gallery space in the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) at its former site, was named after him in recognition of his significant contribution to the development and housing of Shepparton’s art collection. His portrait, by the late Sir William Dargie, hangs in the Museum.
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Board of Trustees

Carmel Johnson

Deputy Chair

Get Involved

Contact Toni Lalich, our Executive Officer, and found out about how you can partner with the Fairley Foundation.

Andrew Fairley AM


Andrew Fairley is a Commercial and Equity Lawyer at Hall & Wilcox in Melbourne. He has a long involvement with the philanthropic sector as both an advisor and trustee. He has been Chair of the Fairley Foundation since 1999 and is a great nephew of Sir Andrew Fairley. 

He is also Deputy Chair of the Mornington Peninsula Foundation. He is a past Chair of both the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, and the Luke Batty Foundation. 

He is Chair of Qualitas Limited, a listed funds manager with assets under management of $6.2B. He is also a Director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. He is the Consul General for Finland in Victoria. 

Carmel Johnson

Deputy Chair

Carmel Johnson has been living and working in the Goulburn Valley for more than 35 years. During this time Carmel has primarily worked in fundraising and community relations roles, and with her Special Education qualifications, served as the inaugural Principal of Verney Road Special School and later as Manager at Connect GV in Shepparton.

Carmel’s current role is Development Manager at SAM (Shepparton Art Museum).  Prior to joining SAM, Carmel led the GV Health Foundation for thirty years to ensure that the community of the Goulburn Valley was well served. Carmel was the inaugural Chair of the Shepparton Arts Festival and serves on a number of corporate and community boards. Carmel is Deputy Chair of the Foundation

Terry Campbell AO


Terry Campbell AO is a great-nephew of the late Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley, for whom the foundation is named. Terry is Senior Chairman of Goldman Sachs, the global and investment banking firm. He is also Chairman of Australian Foundation Investment Company (AFIC) and Mirabooka Investments Limited.

He is a supporter of corporate social responsibility through contributions to community and charitable organisations. He is also a strong advocate of Australian Business Participation in the Arts, and is the Vice Chair of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation.

Jim Freemantle AO


Jim Freemantle, a grandnephew of Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley, is a Company Director and former banker.

He has been the Chair and Director of a number of public, private and Government organisations over the past 15 years with a particular interest in the not-for-profit sector.

James is passionate about supporting people with disabilities, specifically through the provision of affordable housing and employment opportunities.

Dr Fiona Phillips


Fiona is the daughter of Rosemary Hopkins (nee Fairley) and was appointed a Trustee in December 2013.

Fiona has taught in and through music in a variety of educational and community settings in regional Victoria. Her work with Early Years and Primary School practicing and pre-service teachers is significant and she currently holds the position of Associate Lecturer in Arts Education at Deakin University, Geelong.

Her research and scholarship has focused on the ongoing practices of exploring new pedagogies, to inform and facilitate change in Arts Education (Music) within a located, cloud-based and virtual teaching and learning environment. She loves to sing and help others find their voice.

Andrew Mott


Andrew Mott has been involved in music education for 30 years with experience in both regional and metropolitan schools and across numerous government and independent school music programs. He undertook a two year stint in Michigan, USA, completing a Masters in Music. In recent years, he has served as Director of Music at Blackburn High School and as the Head of Music, Caulfield Campus, Caulfield Grammar.

He has a particular interest in the development of music ensemble performance and has worked in all areas across symphony orchestras to jazz big bands. In 2008 Andrew conceived and staged the 80th birthday celebrations for Australian jazz luminary, Don Burrows, which was filmed by ABC TV. He has also served as a member of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Music Board and on the AMEB Examinations Advisory Board, representing government schools at various times. He continues to be active in the field of Australian music education and creating opportunities for young musicians.

Georgina Fairley


Georgina has been practising Architecture for six years, following completion of her Masters of Architecture in 2010. Her current focus is on design for community and learning in both metropolitan and regional areas. With interests ranging across a wide range of subjects, Georgina keenly seeks ways to engage with the world around her, from further education and attending local events to volunteering.

Cate Fairley


Cate Fairley is the founder and Managing Director of I’ara Support Co-ordination located in Deniliquin NSW. 

She has a longstanding passion for supporting vulnerable people in regional communities and has extensive experience in the provision of disability services. She also has a background in working with disadvantaged young people and formal qualifications in psychology.

Cate had previously been Board Secretary to the Melbourne Fashion Festival Board, where she developed an understanding of governance and board management. Cate brings expertise in social disadvantage, disability services and complex behavioural management to the Fairley Foundation Board. She was appointed to the Board in 2022.  

Anna Turnbull


Anna Turnbull is a Goulburn Valley community-member, appointed trustee in 2019. She is a communications specialist with a Bachelor of Arts (political science). Working initially in newspapers as a reporter, she has gone on to develop her knowledge of the water industry and natural resource management through various media and communications roles in the Shepparton region.

Her past board roles include the Rodney Neighbourhood Steiner Kindergarten and Shepparton Arts Festival. Anna is a current board member for the Greater Shepparton Foundation.