Four Winds is led by a dynamic and dedicated team whose work is inspired by our founders and all those who have contributed to the development of Four Winds since its launch in 1991.
FOUR WINDS FOUNDER
Passed away June 15, 2015
Four Winds founder Neilma Gantner, was a writer, philanthropist, independent woman and lover of music and the outdoors. She was devoted to the region she called her home, Barragga Bay and Bermagui, from the 1980s until her death in 2015.
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More on our founder
Neilma was drawn to the magical far-south coast by her brother Ken, who by the 1980s along with architect and artist Roy Grounds, had already set up their locally famous bush property at Bithry Inlet, deep in the Mimosa Rocks National Park.
Neilma fell in love with the region, rejoicing in its ocean and estuaries, winds and nature, and she spent much of her time out in it all, sailing and walking, writing stories, letters and journals along the way.
Her son, actor Carrillo Gantner says “She was an independent woman before feminism became a movement. Sailing was the physical expression of this ideal, and at any opportunity she would drop everything to sail. Sailing gave her freedom, inner peace, and the deep power and immediacy of living in the moment.”
Although literature was her passion, Neilma could not conceive of a life on her beloved coast without music. Thus the invitation to her friends and neighbours one afternoon in the late 1980s, to gather and talk about an idea.
What the group talked about was art and music, and the fact they didn’t want to travel to the city for great music. ‘Why not bring the music here?’ asked Neilma, thus laying the foundation of what is now Four Winds, the Festival and the arts organisation.
What has taken place at the Barragga Bay site since that moment in 1980s has been an immense cultural transformation. The Festival is now in its thirtieth year, and the organisation continues to invest in year-round work with the local community, encouraging and inspiring creative and musical practice and education throughout the region.
‘Beyond my mother’s personal qualities, this is perhaps her greatest living legacy to the place and the people she loved so much,’ Carrillo Gantner said at his mother’s memorial service, held in the Windsong Pavilion in 2015.
Neilma never wanted to be known as a philanthropist, she wished to be remembered simply as a ‘writer and music lover’.
And so every Easter we raise a glass in tribute, to Neilma Gantner, Writer and Music Lover.
FOUR WINDS BOARD
Board member since: 2013
Michael is the Chair of a family investment group alongside his role as Chair of Four Winds Concerts Inc. He has been a consultant with McKinsey & Co and a Director of the Australian Stock Exchange. He is a former Chair of the Centre for Independent Studies and Art Exhibitions Australia. He was a Trustee of the National gallery of Victoria, a Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), and a Director of the Power Institute, Sydney University.
MOIRA SCOLLAY AM
Board member since: 2012
Moira had a successful career as a senior public servant including as a Second Commissioner of Taxation, Federal Privacy Commissioner and CEO of the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA). She became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014 for significant service to vocational education and training, and to public sector management reform. Moira has tertiary qualifications in education, management and a PhD in history.
Board member since: 2013
Geoff has held senior positions in financial oversight, accounting policy setting and regulation of major Australian financial institutions, including Head of Accounting Regulation at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, and Head of Group Accounting Policy for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group.
Board member since: 2008
In the mid-eighties, Sian’s role as director of development for the Australian National Gallery focussed on corporate donors. Sian was, until recently, responsible for Audience Development (Outreach) for Sydney Living Museums (previously the Historic Houses Trust of NSW). While living in the UK, Sian managed the European Community Baroque Orchestra.
Board member since: 2014
David is presently the Chief Marketing Officer for German audio technology market leader, d&b audiotechnik. Prior to that David was Director of Theatre and Events at Sydney Opera House with responsibility for commercial performances, presenter marketing, technical direction, ticketing, health and safety and event operations. David began his career as a musician and producer working with many of Australia’s leading artists before commencing his career at Sydney Opera House where he led extensive change management programs as Head of Sound and then Technical Director before being appointed to the Executive. David has undertaken a number of consultancy roles covering both strategy and design working for clients such as the ACO, Sydney Theatre Company, and the City of Sydney. David currently resides in Stuttgart, Germany.
Dr Stephen Mills
Board member since: 2022
Dr Stephen Mills is an honorary senior lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of Sydney. He was previously a journalist and editor with Fairfax newspapers, a political adviser (speechwriter) to Prime Minister Hon R J L Hawke (1986-91), and a corporate affairs adviser in the financial services sector (ASX Ltd, Citigroup and Bankers Trust Australia, 1996-2006). He is a director of Barnardos Australia, and was a director and chair of Australian Business Foundation (2004-11). He graduated BA Hons (Melbourne), MPA (Harvard) and PhD (Sydney). He is the author of books and articles on election campaign management, campaign finance and political parties. He is married with two adult children and lives at Cuttagee.
FOUR WINDS TEAM
Producer - Create & Inspire Education Program - on long service leave until May 2024
Images Craig Bryant Photography
Co-Founder & Life Ambassador
Founding Member: 1991 – 1997
Re-joined Board as Chair: 2008 – 2016
Sheena’s professional experience lies in strategic facilitation with global civil society groups and major companies including Nestlé, ANZ, BHP Billiton, Oxfam and Rio Tinto. Sheena spearheaded the festival team’s success in raising $3 million to create Nature’s Concert Hall.
Co-Founder & Fellow
GABRIELLE WATERS, 2021 – 2023
GREG LISSERMAN, 2023
DAVID FRANCIS, 2015 – 2021
MATTHEW HOY, 2023
Dr Lindy Hume AM, 2021, 2022
James Crabb, 2018, 2019
Paul Dean, 2016
Paul Kildea, 2014
Genevieve Lacey, 2010 – 2012
Christopher Latham, 2006 – 2008
Carrillo Gantner & Rodney Hall, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004
Michael Brimer, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996
Sir William Deane, Patron-in-chief
Daryl and Kaye Jackson
Gough Whitlam (d. 2014)
Every event Four Winds presents is made possible through the dedicated, hard work of our generous volunteers.