Posts in: Media

MEDIA RELEASE: Renew Australia and Creative Geelong funded to support CBD revitalisation

23 March 2018 | Posted in: Media, News

Renew Australia and Creative Geelong Inc have received Victorian Government funding via Creative Victoria for $250,000 over two years to breathe new life into vacant spaces in Geelong’s CBD

Creative Geelong will receive $100,000 to develop and expand the impact of its Makers Hub in Centrepoint Arcade and Renew Australia will receive $150,000 to deliver the Renew Geelong program. Both projects have received matched funding from the City of Greater Geelong.

According to Renew Australia Manager Angela Simons, Renew Geelong is a new initiative by national social enterprise Renew Australia that will activate vacant spaces by incubating short-term uses by creative enterprises and independent local businesses on rent-free basis via a rolling 30-day license.

“Renew Australia are excited to be working alongside the local community and property owners to activate otherwise vacant space in the Geelong CBD. With the support of Creative Victoria and the City of Greater Geelong, the Renew Geelong project will provide opportunities for creatives, and not-for-profits and social enterprises, to trial an idea while activating otherwise vacant space. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Creative Geelong to reimagine the use of otherwise empty space,” Ms Simons said.

Renew Australia will shortly begin the process of securing vacant spaces through agents, property owners and developers and will be seeking expressions of interest from creative enterprises in the coming months.

Creative Geelong’s Makers Hub project has fast become a valued collaborative space for Geelong’s creative community. It includes a range of co-working, workshop, makerspace and studio facilities for use by creative practitioners and community groups, and delivers opportunities for people of all ages to develop their skills and ideas.

President of Creative Geelong Jennifer Cromarty said the while the Makers Hub has been operating for six months, the extra support from Creative Victoria will enable an acceleration of the impacts, increase outreach and further develop the offer.

“The opportunity to work alongside a national organisation of Renew Australia’s calibre is a huge boost to Creative Geelong and its burgeoning community. We are greatly encouraged by Creative Victoria’s belief in our purpose as we work towards realising Geelong’s community vision of Clever and Creative,” Ms Cromarty said.


Media Release: The Docklands Art Collective – Rent-Free Space For Creatives!

19 June 2017 | Posted in: Media, News, Uncategorized

HARBOUR TOWN MELBOURNE AND RENEW AUSTRALIA LAUNCH The Docklands Art Collective – Rent-Free Space For Creatives!

Harbour Town Melbourne is delighted to announce its partnership with not-for-profit social enterprise Renew Australia. Together, the two organisations are bringing an exciting new initiative – The Docklands Art Collective – to the Docklands based shopping centre.

The Docklands Art Collective invites expressions of interest from makers, creators, artists, community groups and local enterprises to utilize space for art and cultural events and activities within Harbour Town Melbourne – absolutely rent-free.

As part of the partnership, Harbour Town Melbourne has provided Renew Australia with just over 1,200 square metres of vacant space on Level 1 that will form a shared hub for artists, start-ups and other creative talent to brainstorm creative ideas and concepts, free from the pressure of expensive overheads like rent.

Since 2011 Renew Australia has implemented a number of similar programs throughout Australia, including Docklands, to great acclaim; Harbour Town Melbourne sees the partnership as a great opportunity to invigorate the Docklands precinct during the highly anticipated $150 million redevelopment of the Centre.

Harbour Town Melbourne’s Marketing Director, Kelly Jensen, is delighted at the prospect of continuing the success of the initiative in the area. “We have absolutely no doubt this exciting partnership will create another incentive to visit Harbour Town as it continues to undergo major transformation. We look forward to inviting Melbourne’s most creative to join the Docklands Art Collective and this unique creative hub”.

Renew Australia’s Manager, Angela Simons, agrees. “Typically, one of the biggest hurdles for any of our projects is finding property owners willing to lend us sufficient space. Thanks to the generosity of Harbour Town Melbourne, not only do we have a chance to create a really vibrant and dynamic area within the Centre, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase how readily the Renew model can be adapted to fit the needs of spaces undergoing redevelopment and make them viable and relevant throughout this process.”

The Docklands Art Collective is the brainchild of Renew Australia and is modelled on his highly successful Renew Newcastle project first unveiled in 2008. The DIY urban renewal scheme aims to fill empty buildings and spaces to bring new life to under-utilized and under-appreciated precincts, while simultaneously providing emerging artist and performers with a forum for showcasing their talent.

Renew Australia is currently seeking emerging artists, creative, performers, and local enterprises to submit expressions of interest ahead of the potential tenants’ site inspections taking place on 27 June followed by 1 July 2017. Applications should be submitted by contacting Angela Simons, Renew Australia +61 3 9882 0785 or via email [email protected]

Reinvigorating the Warracknabeal Court House

28 March 2017 | Posted in: Media, News

Warracknabeal Court House (image supplied by Warracknabeal Historical Society)

Image supplied by Warracknabeal Historical Society


Breathing new life into the historic Warracknabeal Court House: 

Calling all community members interested in participating in the project.

Working Heritage has embarked on a new project with Renew Australia to reactivate the historic Warracknabeal Court House.

The Court House, which has been vacant for some time, was in operation for 98 years from 1891 to 1989 after which it time it was used as a meeting space for the Warracknabeal Historical Society.

Angela Simons from Renew Australia says, “With the continued success of the Jack’s Reloaded project [the activation of the decommissioned Jack’s Magazine in Maribyrnong], Renew Australia are pleased to be partnering with Working Heritage on another the project that seeks to reimagine the use of our heritage buildings.”

Ross Turnbull, Executive Officer of Working Heritage says, “The Warracknabeal Courthouse is a great heritage building with a lot of character. It has been underutilised for too long but we think it can become a valued resource for Warracknabeal and beyond. We look forward to seeing a really diverse and interesting range of proposals for use of the building.”

This initiative will help to bring life to the historic Court House and encourage people to spend more time there. It will also demonstrate the potential future uses for the heritage-listed site and provide the opportunity for new businesses and community initiatives to test their ideas at minimal cost.

Working Heritage will work with Renew Australia to place creative and community enterprises and projects into the disused Court House; helping to make the site active, while ensuring the property is looked after for years to come.

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Angela Simons, Renew Australia 9882 0785 or via email to [email protected]

Ready to apply? Click here to complete an Expression of Interest.

Media Release: Portland (Vic) Shop In A Box Committee Gets Rolling

9 February 2017 | Posted in: Affiliate Program, Media, News

Renew Australia’s newest affiliate – the Portland Shop In A Box project – has taken further steps towards its goal of reactivating the Portland CBD through temporary uses of empty shops – supporting entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and artists.

Working as a Committee For Portland sub-committee under the Revitalise Portland banner, an eight person team has been set to manage and grow the project.

Shop In A Box is now looking for prospective tenants and landowners to make contact and create its first open premise. A recent vacancy analysis found almost twenty percent of Portland’s main-street commercial properties are empty.

Project Manager Kayla Berends is encouraging anyone with a passion for arts and business incubation and a desire to see increased use of empty shops to get involved.

“This pilot project is a great opportunity to support and showcase the amazing range of artists and entrepreneurs who live in Portland, as well as bring a buzz back to streets currently sitting with so many empty shops.”

“The official launch at the Upwelling Festival saw a number of people come and discuss the project with us, showing real interest in the concept.”

“Shop In A Box has a website where you can register your interest. You can also keep up to date with the project on our Facebook page.”

The project is financially supported by Committee For Portland under its Revitalise Portland banner, as well as the Leadership Great South Coast Program.

You can make contact with Shop In A Box at any of the below:

Email: [email protected]


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Jack’s Reloaded Media Release August 2016

10 August 2016 | Posted in: Media, News

Media Release August 2016

Jack’s Reloaded

Calling all Melbourne creatives and entrepreneurs!

Working Heritage has embarked on a project with Renew Australia to activate the currently unutilised buildings at Jack’s Magazine in Maribyrnong. Ross Turnbull, Executive Officer of Working Heritage says, “Jack’s Magazine is a remarkable heritage place with lots of potential for reuse. Getting creative people into the buildings, utilising the space, is the first step in bringing some life to the site.”

Angela Simons from Renew Australia says, “This is a first for Renew Australia. Typically, one of the biggest hurdles of a Renew initiative is finding property owners willing to lend us their space.”

“The Jack’s Reloaded initiative will help to bring more people into the historic site and encourage people to spend more time there. It will also demonstrate the potential future uses for the heritage listed site and provide the opportunity for new businesses and community initiatives to test their ideas at minimal cost.”

Working Heritage will work with Renew Australia to place creative enterprises and projects into the disused spaces at Jack’s Magazine; helping make the site active, while ensuring the property is looked after.

Jack’s Magazine was opened in 1878 to safely store explosives. It was decommissioned in 1990s and has been unused and inaccessible from that time. Working Heritage was appointed to manage the Crown Land site in 2015.

Expressions of Interest are currently open. Applications can be made via both the Jack’s Magazine and Renew Australia websites.

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Angela Simons, Renew Australia 9882 0785 or via email [email protected]

Revolution Marrickville – Expression of Interest

27 May 2016 | Posted in: Media, News

Revolution Marrickville_Website banner_v2

Revolution Marrickville is a new joint initiative of Renew Australia, the lessor and Clearpoint.

We have seven (yep, seven!) spaces becoming available that need people with the ability to be open at least five days per week, have more than one person involved and have an exciting activation plan!

Ideally we are seeking an active business or project that goes above and beyond just selling their products or service that can bring people in through their teachings, exhibitions, studios, workshops, or impromptu events. We are looking for people who know their stuff and are ready to jump in and be part of the program.

This Expression of Interest round will close on Friday, 17 June 2016.

If you are ready to apply fill out the application form by clicking Expression of Interest.

Should you require further information on this Expression of Interest or how the program works, please email the Revolution Marrickville Project Manager at [email protected]

Engaged by the lessor and Clearpoint, Revolution Marrickville is an initiative by Renew Australia that aims to temporarily fill vacant spaces in 359 Illawarra Road with artisans, cultural projects and community groups.


Creating Cities: the book is available now

1 September 2015 | Posted in: Media


Buy the book now!

Want to know more about the how, what and why of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia?

Over the last 2 years Marcus Westbury has been working on a crowdfunded book that tells the story of the Renew idea from the very beginning.

According to Matthew Westwood in The Australian newspaper:

Creating Cities, about Renew Newcastle and the lessons learned. It’s part memoir, part how-to guide, and is very readable. It starts with Westbury’s frustration, on returning to his home town after several years away, at seeing the vacant shopfronts in the city centre, his desire to do something with those empty spaces and the obstacles — legal, regulatory, bureaucratic, economic — that stood in his way.

It’s astonishing to read that when Westbury contacted commercial real estate agents about their vacant properties, no one returned his emails or phone calls. Even a former mayor tried to discourage him, denying that Newcastle even had a problem with empty buildings.

He writes very persuasively about the over-regulation of public spaces, and what seems to be a determination on the part of civic authorities to squander the goodwill and enthusiasm of imaginative, dedicated people.

“What grips me is how places enable or thwart people with initiative,” he writes with the authority of someone who has fought such battles himself.

Creating Cities was made possible as the result of a record breaking Australian crowd funding campaign. If you weren’t one of the supporters you can now order your copy of Creating Cities direct from the Creating Cities web site.

It’s engaging, illuminating, inspiring and a great read!

Media Release: Renew Eurobodalla Places 5 New Businesses

9 December 2014 | Posted in: Media, News


Renew Eurobodalla tenants ready to move into their new premises in Moruya’s Courthouse Arcade. Councillor Rob Pollock and Mayor Lindsay Brown with Arcade Studio-3 designers Katy Goddard and Chris McInerney and owner of Rethread the Earth, Zowie Ratugolea with daughter Kelereyani.

Eurobodalla Shire Council is pleased to announce the first businesses that have found new homes as part of their Renew Eurobodalla project.

A new business hub will operate in Batemans Bay, while Moruya’s Courthouse Arcade will host a bag designer who uses reclaimed materials, as well as an art and design studio that will be shared by three creative businesses.

Mayor Lindsay Brown says he is delighted to see the first Renew Eurobodalla businesses finding homes before Christmas. ‘With support from property owners who have made empty shops available for the project, these business owners can trial their new locations to see if they are ready to sign a commercial lease,’ said Cr Brown.

‘This is a big step in the Renew project. It’s been great to see local property owners supporting this initiative, and I hope that the community will also offer their support to these businesses by visiting them.’

Rethread the Earth will produce bags made from up-cycled fabrics and vintage fashion and Arcade Studio-3 will be used as a working space for an artist, a designer and an architect.

The Business Hub Australia will offer resources for businesses including support and training in social media marketing, administration and technical services, as well as a private meeting room and casual work stations with internet connections. The hub will host an open day on Wednesday 17 December upstairs at Annette’s Arcade, Batemans Bay where you can find out what the hub can do for your business.


Retail and office spaces are still available through Renew Eurobodalla. If you would like more information about the project and how you can move your creative business into retail or office space, contact Sarah Cooper on 02 4474 1271 or [email protected].  

Champions of Change

27 November 2012 | Posted in: Media

A few years ago, Marcus Westbury was depressed by the number of empty buildings he saw in his hometown of Newcastle. So he decided to do something about it.

“I’m genuinely surprised how it’s taken off . My credit card paid all the bills for the fi rst six months of the project. It was my hobby that just got out of control.”

Jetstar Magazine, February 2012

Renew Newcastle shows how to create a people magnet

20 January 2012 | Posted in: Media

“I need some Newcastle in my neighbourhood.

Newcastle is an Australian steel town an hour and a half north of Sydney. Last year, Lonely Planet named it one of the Top 10 cities to visit in the world, along with New York and Delhi, citing its great cafes, artist culture and surf.

What makes that amazing is that three years ago Newcastle was a ghost town. Or at least its downtown was, with 150 boarded-up buildings dotting its two main drags. You went there to get mugged.”

The Toronto Star, Toronto Canada January 20th 2012