That’s a wrap for laundry’s 130th birthday celebrations

By Wendy Shaw

A glittering line-up of chefs, community leaders and stakeholders joined Blueline Laundry staff in a celebration of the end of the social enterprise’s 130th birthday year in Hobart earlier this month.

The event included a cooking demonstration and a special meal as part of ‘Plate with a Mate’, on Mate Day, 8 May.

The Governor of Tasmania, Barbara Baker, the Archdiocese of Hobart’s executive director, Chris Ryan, and Speak Up Stay Chatty founder Mitch McPherson as well as chefs Ainstie Wagner from Government House and Andre Kropp from Wrest Point, were among more than 100 people who attended the event, including about 70 Blueline staff members.

The event was an initiative of Eat Well Tasmania, highlighting the physical and mental benefits of healthy eating and social connections.

Social inclusion is a key pillar of Blueline’s ethos. The laundry employs 260 people at sites in Launceston and Hobart. Some 35 per cent of the workforce are people with a disability, and 35 per cent are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Some workers have experienced, trauma, hardships and marginalisation.

Archdiocese of Hobart’s Vicar General, Fr Shammi Perera, Governor of Tasmania Barbara Baker, the Archdiocese of Hobart’s Executive Director, Chris Ryan, and Blueline CEO Mike Sylvester at a special lunch marking the end of the 130-year celebrations for the laundry. Photo: Sumit Shrestha

Blueline’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Sylvester, thanked everyone who contributed to the event’s success and said it was a happy note on which to end a year of celebrations and 130 years of existence.

“It has been the support of the Tasmanian community, government and our customers right across the state that has allowed us the privilege of employing thousands of marginalised Tasmanians for 130 years,” Mr Sylvester said.

“Human beings are social by nature and the Church promotes healthy engagement in society.  

“Blueline is proud to deliver programs and events that enhance social inclusion, mental and physical wellbeing and build capacity for social engagement in our community and acknowledge that its obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person.”

The celebration year began with a Government House reception. Other highlights included the commissioning of indigenous artwork inspired by the history of the laundry that features in commemorative work shirts, a combined festive awards party in December for staff from both sites, and the launch of a new commercial cleaning arm to the business.

Blueline Laundry is an entity of the Catholic Church in Tasmania and a registered charity.

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