Trust History

Trust History

The Campbell Edwards Trust was established in 1922 in Melbourne, Victoria, by the late Robert Campbell Edwards.  Penniless when he arrived in Australia, over thirty years Robert had built a large real estate portfolio.  In 1922, he transferred significant Victorian property holdings to the newly created Campbell Edwards Trust, to be managed by a board of trustees for educational, religious and charitable purposes. You can read more about Robert’s story here.

Robert was the original President and Chairman of the Campbell Edwards Trust, and one of the original Trustees with six other appointees.  Robert’s three sons joined the Trust as soon as they were old enough, and from the 1980s the Trust has been constituted with numerous of Robert’s blood descendants who have the opportunity to carry on and and preserve his legacy.  Since its inception, more than two dozen individuals have donated their time and energy as Trustees, and a list of current and past Trustees is available here.

Over almost 100 years, Trustees have devoted their time and millions of Trust dollars to those in need, including to grass-roots churches and other religious organisations, to children and their families in need of spiritual, educational or physical support, to providing physical and structural shelter and basic human needs for those of indigent means, to other causes which trustees believe Robert would have wished to support.

Donations have been sourced from income generated entirely from the Trust’s assets as bequeathed by Robert Campbell Edwards. That said, the contribution of the founder’s mother, Grace Anna, must be acknowledged.  Not only did Grace Anna lend her son her life savings to allow him to start his tea business, four cottages she owned in Richmond, Victoria went on to form a significant part of the corpus of the Trust. Without such a contribution, the Trust would not be of the size and status that it is today and may well not exist at all.

The Trust makes donations to registered charitable organisations whose programs and policies are in keeping with the Trust’s own priorities.  Some of the more notable partnerships that the Trust has formed over the years with charities can be viewed here.

Over its’ history, the Trust’s priorities have evolved in keeping with the trustees’ assessment of how, within the framework of Robert’s wishes, they can best effect impactful social change and assistance.  Each year is a new opportunity to reconsider Robert’s legacy, and how we can provide justice to his Christian spirit more than 70 years after this death. For more about who we currently support, see here.