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April 2023 Newsletter

Dear Members & Friends,

What a great month March was! And we have many more things in store this year. It was wonderful to see so many of you at "How We Made It - Telling Australian Women's Stories" on 1 March. The Exhibition Hall was packed with so many Members and friends hearing insights from our panel of prominent Australian women discussing their career and life journeys. A huge thank you to Leanne Benjamin OBE AM, Karen Hopkins, Justice Karyl Nairn KC and Elizabeth Varley for sharing their exceptional stories. We were also thrilled to be joined by Deborah Frances-White, aka The Guilty Feminist, who summed up the panel discussion with her inimitable style. Photos from this wonderful event can be seen here.

We now look forward to our next big event - "Meet the High Commissioner" on Wednesday 17 May. Please join me in the Exhibition Hall with our new Australian High Commissioner, HE the Hon. Stephen Smith, as we discuss His Excellency's plans and goals for the next few years. This will be followed by a reception with an opportunity for our community to meet with His Excellency. This event has nearly sold out but we want to accommodate as many of our Members and friends as we can. Please click here to book tickets.

Congratulations to our lucky Member who won our March draw for tickets to tour the Buckingham Palace State Rooms. We now have a fabulous Members only draw for April! One lucky Member will win a pair of tickets to the sold out members' day at the Chelsea Flower Show on Tuesday 23 May. Please scroll down for entry details...And to become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do, please click here.

As mentioned last month, given preparations in place for the Coronation, Westminster Abbey will not be holding its usual ANZAC Day service and so there will be no ballot this year for tickets to that service. However, please note the annual Dawn Service and Cenotaph wreath laying in London is open to the public. To book tickets to these, click on the links on this website.

As you know, our West Country Branch will again hold its very popular ANZAC Day service and lunch on Sunday 23 April. Please contact West Country Branch Chairman, Keith Newton, here for booking details. Our friends at the B-AS Cambridge Branch are holding their 2023 ANZAC service on Saturday 22 April at the church of St Andrew the Great, Cambridge. The service will start at 3pm followed by tea and Anzac biscuits. I am looking forward to attending this service and all Members around the country are warmly invited to attend. For further details please click here.

Our archive restoration project is now in full flow and we have started the process of digitally recording materials. Physical restoration of our early record books will then follow. As you know, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was the B-AS Patron for nearly 50 years until his passing in April 2021. Of course, His Royal Highness was involved well before this with our predecessor, the Australia Club, which then became the Australia Society (and was later renamed the Britain-Australia Society). In this month's "Snippets from the Archives" (below), we came across the original programme and photographs from the inaugural dinner of the Australia Society at the Grosvenor House Hotel at which His Royal Highness was guest of honour. Over 900 Australians and friends of Australia attended that black tie dinner and the archives we are restoring also include the guest list, tables plan and menu from that event!

Finally, the CommBank Matildas are back in town! Australia's premier women's football team have returned to London and we strongly encourage all our Members and friends to join in supporting these sporting greats. For match times and booking details, please scroll down...

Best wishes

Damian J. Walsh


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