Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

Over head view of the Teddy Bear Hospital at the Good Friday Appeal filled with people in the Convention Centre foyer at MCEC.

Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal


It’s a perennial favourite for many Victorians and one that’s guaranteed to touch the hearts of even the most adversity-weary viewers around the nation. See behind-the-scenes of a fundraising favourite with universal appeal.

A time-honoured celebration of children and charitable giving, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Good Friday Appeal inspires thousands of businesses, families and individuals to volunteer their time, efforts and expertise to raise crucial funds to support the RCH to continue their vital work helping sick and injured children and their families. This year’s triumphant return not only raised community spirits but raised in excess of a record-shattering $22M.

What few people fully grasp, however, is the astonishing amount of work, energy and dedication that goes into planning, promoting, co-ordinating and running the event.

For almost a decade MCEC has been the proud home of the Good Friday Appeal (GFA), donating countless hours and millions of dollars in waived venue hire, technology, resources, and catering to support the event.

This year MCEC offered up around $1.4M in kind, including around 35,000 square metres of event space, which was used to host a fun fair; a classic cars exhibition; a mini film festival and, of course, the beloved teddy bear hospital; a live broadcast telethon; and a secure money counting room.

With thousands of event staff (including around 1700 volunteers), security, several high-profile guests and 80,000 visitors to co-ordinate on a single day, the Appeal is a logistical labyrinth on a scale that’s difficult to comprehend.

Children sitting on a horse carousel with a busy exhibition of people walking around in the background.

One person who understands better than most the staggering amount of work and dedication involved – and the passion that inspires it - is the GFA’s Head of Fundraising and Communications Simone Dalla Riva.

After two decades building a successful career in publishing, Simone joined the GFA team in 2021 in pursuit of a more meaningful purpose to devote her considerable energy and experience – and hasn’t looked back.

With the 2021 event heartbreakingly cancelled in the wake of the COVID pandemic, this was Simone’s first experience working behind-the-scenes to plan, promote and deliver the event.

"What just totally floored me is how our entire extended team of event professionals, sponsors, volunteers and partners worked together to keep so many plates spinning at any one time. And they make it look easy! We’re only a small team and we rely enormously on support from our commercial and community partners. The way everyone pulls together and just gets the job done is honestly awe-inspiring."

"Central to this is our partnership with MCEC, who provide not only the space but – more importantly – the flexibility, enthusiasm and expertise to realise our vision for the event. There was never a ‘no’ or a ‘too hard’, they listened to our ideas, understood what we wanted to achieve and then they just hit the ground running."

Two kids on stationary green bicycles that have vegetable stickers all over the front wheel.

GFA Operations & Volunteer Manager Georgie Hill, agrees.

"One of our biggest challenges each year is finding new and creative ways to engage and delight our audience, to keep it fresh. The team at MCEC – in particular our amazing account managers Kaylor (Clarke), Laura (Waples) and Kate (Abbott) – were a vital part of making that happen. They remained enthusiastically supportive and solution-focused throughout the entire planning and delivery process, exploring every crazy idea we brought them and finding ways to bring them to life in the most spectacular and exciting fashion."

"They delivered a customer experience that was, ultimately, far greater than the sum of its parts, and that played a huge role in the success of this year’s event."

While work is already underway on 2023, it’s difficult to imagine how the team could possibly top this year’s success. "We will though", Georgie assures us, "Just like you guys – we always find a way."

Ready to discover the difference? Start planning your next event at MCEC.