In 2014 the WA Training Initiative Award was presented to Fairbridge Western Australia Inc, celebrating the organisation’s achievements and dedication to training, education and personal development for at-risk young people.
2015 has been an equally exciting and momentous year for Fairbridge, with the opening of a brand new recording studio, named after internationally-renowned musician John Butler.
The John Butler Studio was built by participants in the Aboriginal Construction Training Initiative, a program that has been running for over 15 years and sees young people graduate with a traineeship in building maintenance or apprenticeships in carpentry or painting.
Fairbridge CEO Mark Anderson said the organisation is committed to sustaining change in the lives of children through a range of formal partnerships and government funding.
“We are passionate about the long term development of young people and see music as a tool to inspire and enrich the lives of young people to help them reach their full potential,” Mark said.
“This studio is a celebration of the achievements of those involved in building it and also a celebration of John’s life, his music and what he has brought to us.”
On 10 April 2015, John Butler and a bevy of talented local musicians, including Raksha (winners of the 2014 ‘The Quest’ youth song writing competition), Grace Barbé and Mama Kin, put on a show to celebrate the launch and naming of the studio at Fairbridge Village in Pinjarra. A recording of the performances was broadcast live on Pirate 88 FM Radio.
Mark Anderson said Fairbridge historically names their buildings after people who have made a significant contribution and inspired others to follow their passion.
“John shares his heart and soul through his music and inspires others”, said Mark.
“He has a deep respect for Australian history and a shared appreciation of reconnecting with land, which aligns with what we do at Fairbridge.”
Although John Butler was born in California, he and his family moved to Pinjarra in Western Australia when he was 10 years old. At the studio launch, John shared his memories of playing on the banks of the Murray River and forming a close friendship with a local Aboriginal family who shared stories with him about the land and shaped how he sees the world today.
“It is extremely humbling to be standing here today,” said John.
“It’s a bit surreal. To come here and see the studio named after myself, I can’t even put that into words. It is a massive honour and privilege. I’m very proud to be involved. This is awesome.”