As Chair of the Rippon Lea Endowment fund, Noel Martin has been in charge of capital for some of Rippon Lea's most important conservation works and significant building projects.

This is Noel Martin’s story.

I am responsible for the funding of both property conservation improvements and the establishment of an education program at Rippon Lea Estate. I have been part of the Trust since 1998.

The Start of the Rippon Lea Endowment

In 1998 the then trustees of The Andrews Foundation, a philanthropic trust, met with Peter Sweeney, then CEO of the national trust to discuss the possibility of the establishment of an endowment fund for a national Trust property. Thereafter took place a series of meetings which led to a sum of $5 million being granted by The Andrews Foundation into a new endowment trust to ensure the preservation of the Rippon Lea Estate.

The Fund was to be entitled the Rippon Lea Endowment Fund. Noel Martin, Dipen Mitra, Robert Pomeroy from The Andrews Foundation and Simon Molesworth and Reg Brownall from the NT were to be appointed as directors of a newly formed trustee company to be known as Rippon Lea Endowment Fund Limited.

The moments I most remember

The evening of presentation of the cheque in the ballroom at Rippon Lea where the late Mr. Ron Andrews presented a cheque to Simon Molesworth, then chairman of the NT was a significant moment.

I remember with sadness the recent Tree Planting ceremony on the front lawn of Rippon Lea in October 2015 held in memory of and in recognition of the invaluable role played by Dipen Mitra (who died in December 2014) as director.

One exciting time I climbed to the roof of the mansion with then CEO Martin Purslow to view the enormity of the roof replacement to the house , examine the detail craftsmanship involved and to enjoy the vista from the roof that is seldom offered to anyone.

People I most remember

Simon Molesworth (continuing), Reg Brownall, Diane Weidner, Graeme Blackman as my fellow directors and Peter Sweeney, Stephen Hare and Martin Purslow as CEOs .

I feel this have been significant accomplishments

The many building and grounds restorations made to Rippon Lea; the return of the windmill and the commencement of the children’s garden; the innovative approaches to tackling heritage issues .

The funding of the education program which under the direction of Martin Green has been an astounding success with many primary and secondary students visiting the property.

What I have gained from the Trust

It has allowed me to be involved in the heritage protection of the Rippon Lea Estate which to date has been provided with $5.3 million from the Endowment Fund.\

The partnership with the Trust has given to me the opportunity to be involved in the conservation, restoration and development of the Rippon Lea Estate which has afforded to me a great sense of satisfaction to know this world heritage site is being properly preserved and further opened to the community at large as a reminder of the great achievements of Melbourne in the 19th century.

The Trust’s Most Important Achievement

In my case the ensuring of the preservation and conservation development of the property as one of Australia’s great heritage sites by a partnership between philanthropy and heritage.