Dear Members and Friends
It is a challenge to be buoyant while trying to understand the local devastation and global consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine during these very troubled times but please know that, as we are writing to you, we have many exciting things for you this month and beyond...
First, we were thrilled to see the announcement that Australia has now opened its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers. You may have seen Tourism Australia's fabulous billboard in Piccadilly welcoming all travellers back to Australia. We are also looking forward to welcoming many more Australians back to the UK.
Last month saw the virtual meeting between Boris Johnson and the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to discuss their significant bilateral partnership across numerous platforms including trade, security, climate and health. The conversation also focussed on our shared commitment to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, together with the UK's pledge of £25 million to support security and climate-related projects in the region. Our bilateral relationship is at a high point and we continue to engage with our Members, friends and the many organisations involved in UK/Australian relations to keep it there.
February also saw our sell-out event, Meet the Agents General, at the Royal Over-Seas League. We were thrilled that HE, the Hon. George Brandis QC was able to welcome all five of our State Agents General. Attendees enjoyed hearing about each Agent General's background and aims and, more particularly, having the chance to chat and mingle with all of them over drinks and canapés in the beautiful Princess Alexandra Hall. Photos of this significant event are available on our website. Please click here.
Many of you commented on the fabulous 2019 Layers White we served at this reception which was kindly donated by Peter Lehmann. Please scroll down for a discount offer available for all B-AS supporters for this and many other amazing wines from the Peter Lehmann stable.
We also ran a hugely successful webinar in conjunction with B-AS Corporate Member, bdhSterling, and the Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce. "The Best of Both Worlds" focussed on the tax, pension and other financial planning issues to consider if contemplating a life split between Australia and the UK. For those that missed this very topical and popular webinar (or for those who would like to re-watch it), bdhSterling has very kindly agreed that we may re-publish it on the Members' Only section of our website. To become a Member of the B-AS and take advantage of all our special offers and events, please click here. And please spread the word.
On 27 February, our Office Manager, Marina Kinsman, attended a belated Australia Day Lunch hosted by our Cambridge branch. Marina very much enjoyed chatting with and sharing details of our upcoming events with those present as well as returning to the county where she was born! Please scroll down for some photos of this special day.
We have two very exciting events in March. First up sees our "Night with Dame Nellie Melba" in the Exhibition Hall. Please join award winning biographer, Robert Wainwright, for the worldwide launch of his book "Nellie: the Lives and Loves of a Diva". We are thrilled to announce that we will also now be joined by famous Dame Nellie Melba historian, Roger Neill, who will interview Robert about this Australian icon. Thanks to our Charity Member, the Tait Memorial Trust, we will also be entertained by some wonderful young "Melba scholars" who will perform live. Book publishers, Allen & Unwin, will donate 15% of all book sales on the night to the Tait Memorial Trust to support its work with these very talented young people. It will be a night not to be missed and Robert will be on hand to sign copies of his fabulous book. This event sold out quickly but we are delighted that we are now able to release a few more tickets (though these are strictly limited). To reserve your place please click here.
And thanks to Allen & Unwin we have copies of Robert's biography to give away to TWO lucky B-AS Members. Please scroll down for entry details.
On 16 March we are holding the inaugural Commonwealth Mixer in the glorious surrounds of Canada House. This inaugural event, initiated by our National Director, Louise Mulley, will be held in conjunction with the Canada-UK Foundation and the NZ Society (UK). We will be joined by the High Commissioners of each of Australia, Canada and NZ. I am very pleased to add that the High Commissioner for Papua New Guinea, Her Excellency Ms Winnie Kiap, will also be joining us as our guest. Once again, this event sold out in minutes but please do get in touch with the B-AS office if you would like to join our waitlist.
Tickets are going on sale next Wednesday for our fabulous black tie Gala Dinner at the Savoy on 26 May 2022 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Britain-Australia Society. Please look out for our special email invitation! We have very limited spaces available but will always do our very best to accommodate our Members and friends. Tickets are £270 per person (incl VAT) for a sparkling reception and 3 course dinner with entertainment in the magnificent Savoy ballroom - the venue of the very first Australia Club dinner in 1937. Both our President, Lord Hague, and HE, the Hon. George Brandis QC, have confirmed their attendance. You may wish to book a table (of 10) or we can add you and your friends to a table of other B-AS Members. We strongly recommend booking as soon as you receive our invitation to avoid disappointment. Bookings will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Finally, as your Chairman, I am deeply honoured to have received an invitation for my wife, Jacqui, and I to represent the Britain-Australia Society at the memorial service on 29 March at Westminster Abbey commemorating the life of HRH, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As you know, His Royal Highness was our esteemed patron for 50 years until his sad passing in 2021.
Damian J. Walsh