We are a proudly Tasmanian, not-for profit organisation dedicated to providing a number of solutions that change lives for the better.
Colony 47 is an independent, proudly Tasmanian charity.
From our pioneering beginnings in 1973 until today, Colony 47 has been at the forefront of identifying and addressing the complex needs of socially isolated and vulnerable Tasmanians. We know from experience and research that the roots of disadvantage run deep in our community. We help individuals and families develop solutions and find support to build better lives.
Colony 47 delivers integrated services to help individuals and families stay housed, access education, develop skills, find employment and build meaningful family relationships. We have expertise in providing effective support to people such as homeless young women, long term unemployed, humanitarian entrants, or people with persistent and severe mental illness.
Since Colony 47 opened the doors of Tasmania’s first drop in centre 40 years ago, we have evolved to become a sophisticated charitable organisation. Colony 47 is enterprising and innovative – we strategically pursue opportunities to enhance our capacity to meet the needs of disadvantaged Tasmanians in an ethical and entrepreneurial manner. This includes our social enterprise, Start Fresh Services, a competitive cleaning and maintenance business creating employment opportunities for people with a disability.
We believe that better outcomes come from working together and Colony 47 partners with a growing number of businesses to increase opportunity. $2 for Change is a fundraising partnership between Colony 47 and Tasmanian restaurants and cafes. Colony 47’s Big Christmas and Winter Appeal are made possible by the generous support we receive from the Tasmanian community. Colony 47 has also established Foundation 47 to secure the long term sustainability of our services to deliver the best outcomes for Tasmanians in need.
Colony 47’s team of talented and dedicated staff, our committed volunteers, our generous corporate partners and all those who generously donate their money and time are helping us to achieve our vision of creating a fairer community and eliminating poverty.
With your help, we can open doors for people together.
In 1971, a group of young people in the Hobart suburb of Glenorchy identified the need for a centre that catered for young people who were disadvantaged socially, economically, educationally and culturally. Under the guidance of Jim Colville the group began planning and fundraising to establish a community centre.
It was envisioned that the centre would provide a place where young people could meet in a relaxed atmosphere and have access to counselling, referral and information, as well as opportunities for community participation and belonging.
Finding a building to house the centre proved difficult, but after a long search it was located in the old Davey Street Congregational Church in Hobart. In December 1973, Jim Colville and his group of enthusiastic young people began to renovate the building themselves.
Colony 47 opened with $4,000 generated from fundraising activities. The name Colony 47 was made up of two parts; the 47 refers directly to the building at 47 Davey Street, while Colony described the strength of a group of individuals drawing together to support those facing what often seemed to be a hostile environment.
By late 1974, the centre was open seven days a week. It provided the focal point to engaging young people. Soon, other programs were added: counseling, literacy, a toy library for people with disabilities, skills development programs for employment, support and assistance in finding accommodation.
The social and political climate of the mid-70s was such that Colony 47 was subject to hostility from the community, the police, church groups and funding bodies. On several occasions, Jim Colville came close to being charged with “running a house of ill repute” because young people “who may commit crime” were gathered in the one area.
Fortunately, Jim Colville and his team ignored the negativity and continued on with their work, assisting young people within the community.
Today, Colony 47 operates from six sites in greater Hobart and Launceston, employs over 120 people and operates services in the areas of housing support, mental health, support for individuals and families, strengthening community networks and education and employment.
In 2017 the Board, employees and stakeholders of Colony 47 engaged in a review of its strategic plan. The review involved workshops, surveys and stakeholder research to establish its future Vision, Purpose, Values and Goals. As a result, Colony 47 is able to launch its Towards 2020 plan as a guide for its future investment and development.
Foundation 47 was established in 2012 to promote positive social change in Tasmania by raising and managing funds for a wide range of programs delivered by Colony 47. If you are looking for an effective way to give back to the Tasmanian community, think of us first. It provides a mechanism to fund programs and initiatives that do not attract government funding and for raising much needed funds for those Tasmanian who are marginalised or disadvantaged. Foundation 47 is committed to: Maximising our community and donor impact through strategic grant making resulting in measurable difference and bold leadership. Accelerating our asset growth by attracting new donors and creating a closer relationship with existing donors. Delivering operational excellence. Being recognised as the trusted leader in philanthropy and community investment in Tasmania.