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February 2023 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

Happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year whether here or elsewhere. Jacqui and I have returned from a sunny few weeks in Australia and are now looking forward to continuing the Britain-Australia Society work through 2023. It is shaping up to be a fabulous year and we have an array of exciting events ahead of us. We look forward to seeing you at as many of these as possible.

First, I would like to extend a big welcome to our new Australian High Commissioner, HE the Hon. Stephen Smith, and our new Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Elisabeth Bowes. I am delighted to say that Elisabeth will also be joining our B-AS Board in an ex-officio capacity as the representative of the Australian High Commission. We look forward to introducing them to you in the coming months.

We would also like to say a fond farewell to Acting High Commissioner, Ms Lynette Wood, who has returned to DFAT in Canberra. We are very grateful for Lynette's invaluable support over the last 9 months and wish her all the best in her next endeavours.

We also bid farewell to David McCredie AM OBE who is stepping aside as the CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce in Australia. David has done much to drive integral changes in the Australian-UK relationship and has been a huge supporter of the B-AS in this time. David will remain on the Australian British Chamber Board and we thank him for all his support. We welcome incoming Chair, Ticky Fullerton, and look forward to meeting her in the UK in due course.

Our first big event this year is on 1 March 2023 in the glorious surrounds of the Exhibition Hall of Australia House. "How We Made It - Telling Australian Women's Stories" is an inaugural event in partnership with the Australian High Commission in celebration of International Women's Day. Please join our select panel of prominent Australian women discussing their journeys from arriving in the UK to becoming leaders in their (very different) fields. Joining us will be our new High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner. We will also be showcasing a selection of Australian Indigenous women's artwork which of course tells the most ancient of women's stories. We have very limited spaces left - to book please click here. A huge thank you to our sponsor, EY, and the Australian High Commission for supporting us in staging this exceptional event.

As I mentioned at the end of last year, we have now embarked on our project to restore and digitise our archives which contain a wealth of original source materials including contemporaneous news items, transcripts of speeches and photographs stretching back from the days of the Australia Club from 1937 through to its re-constitution as the Britain-Australia Society in 1971. Thank you to CT Group which has generously agreed to sponsor part of this exciting project. We look forward to giving you more information as the project unfolds. However, to start, we are launching our "Snippets from the Archives" section in our monthly newsletter - bringing to life some of the fascinating facts and events uncovered. As you know, 6 May sees the Coronation of HM King Charles III. Please scroll down for a fascinating snippet from a speech given in 1952 to the Australia Club by the then Australian Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Robert Menzies PC QC (as he then was) after the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

As you know, I wrote to King Charles III last year on behalf of the B-AS to express our condolences on the sad passing of the Queen. A copy of the reply received from His Majesty's office is below.

On 26 January, our National Director, Louise Mulley, and I were privileged to attend an event hosted by our new High Commissioner at Australia House recognising Australia Day 2023. It was His Excellency’s first major event as High Commissioner and it was great to hear him speak of the wonderful Australian history and culture. As you know, there have been some exceptional events this year surrounding Australia Day. Jacqui and I were thrilled to attend the Australia Foundation Gala Dinner in Australia House on 21 January and Louise very much enjoyed the annual Australian Women's Club Australia Day lunch at Spring owned by renowned Australian chef Skye Gyngell who also prepared the food at the Gala Dinner on 21 January. After the last few years, it has been joyous to see so many of us coming together in this way.

Finally, we have an exciting offer for our B-AS Members this month. ACMI (formerly the Australian Centre for Moving Image) is showcasing a concise collection from independent Australian film makers at BFI Southbank in February. We have two pairs of tickets to give away to TWO lucky B-AS Members this month. Please scroll down for entry details.

There are so many great things ahead for us this year and we look forward to seeing all our Members and friends at our events. On this note, I would like to extend a very special welcome to our two new B-AS Corporate Members, Sia Partners and Robert Walters. To become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do, please click here.

Best wishes

Damian J. Walsh


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