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March 2023 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

As you know, tonight we hold our fabulous first event for 2023 in the Exhibition Hall of Australia House in partnership with the Australian High Commission. "How We Made It - Telling Australian Women's Stories" comprises a panel of prominent Australian women discussing their journeys from arriving in the UK to becoming leaders in their (very different) fields. A huge thank you to event sponsor, EY, and also to Wynns Coonawarra for the exceptional wines served (selected by Chief Winemaker, Sue Hodder). We were thrilled with your response and support for this inaugural event celebrating International Women's Day. Our tickets sold out very quickly. For those that missed out this time, we do hope to make this an annual event. And of course we have many great things planned for 2023!

We are excited to announce our next big event - "Meet the High Commissioner" on Wednesday 17 May in the magnificent surrounds of the Exhibition Hall. As you know, HE Professor the Hon. Stephen Smith joined us in January as the new Australian High Commissioner to the UK. His Excellency has had a long and distinguished career in academia, the law, politics and diplomacy. Please join me "in conversation" with our new High Commissioner on 17 May followed by a drinks reception where His Excellency will meet our B-AS community. Tickets will be launched soon. We will give you plenty of notice as this event will be extremely popular.

We have a rich and varied programme planned for this year. Amongst other things, please save the dates below. More information, including booking details, will be released in the coming months. Numbers for all our events are strictly limited and on a first come, first served basis. Tickets sell out very quickly so early booking is always advised. Preferential rates are always given to our B-AS Members. To become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do, please click here.

On 29 April, London Legacy is hosting a beautiful black tie gala dinner at the Lansdowne Club in London in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Legacy Australia. Tickets are £200pp including a drinks reception, 3 course dinner, dancing and more. Jacqui and I will be there, along with many other B-AS Members who have already booked tickets. Legacy London warmly invites any other B-AS supporters who might like to attend this magnificent event to contact our office here. Please note there are very few spaces still available so please get in touch as soon as possible.

On 21 June our very popular B-AS Summer Party returns. Given the resounding success of last year's event, we will once again hold our summer party in the glorious gardens of the Royal Over-Seas League which overlook Green Park.

We are thrilled to be partnering with the Office of the Agent General for NSW and the Institution of Engineers, Australia (UK Chapter) on 13 September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House - an international icon and feat of modern engineering. Of course the actual 50th anniversary of the opening of the Opera House is in October although events are continuing apace in Australia this year as part of the celebrations. We have chosen a September date to enable some of the Australian Opera House team to join us in London for this special celebration. We are excited to announce this event will be held in the Great Hall at the Institution of Civil Engineers in Great George Street - a truly magnificent venue.

Finally, our very popular annual President's Reception with Lord Hague of Richmond returns on 4 October in the Exhibition Hall.

We have much to look forward to!

The Coronation of King Charles III is fast approaching. In honour of this important occasion, we have ONE PAIR of tickets to give away to a lucky B-AS Member to tour the Buckingham Palace State Rooms on Sunday 21 May 2023 at 11am. Entries close 5pm on Friday 24 March with the winner notified on Monday 27 March 2023. Please scroll down for entry details.

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. However, please note the annual Dawn Service and Cenotaph wreath laying in London is open to the public. I would strongly encourage all B-AS supporters to attend these very moving tributes. Elsewhere around the country, ANZAC Day will be marked in special ways by our B-AS Branch Members. Our B-AS West Country Branch will once again hold its very popular ANZAC Day lunch on Sunday 23 April at the Warminster Infantry Officer's mess followed by a commemorative service at St John's, Sutton Veny. Members of the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces and the Commonwealth War Graves commission will attend and lay wreaths at the Sutton Veny war memorial. Please contact West Country Branch Chairman, Keith Newton, if you would like further details - please click here.

Our project to restore and digitise our archives continues. We have been fortunate to work closely over the years with all of our Australian High Commissioners who have each played a significant part in strengthening Australian-British relations. Our archives reflect this through the many documents, speeches and newspaper articles we have stored. In this month's "Snippets from the Archives", we came across a 1958 newspaper article and photograph from a dinner hosted by then Australian High Commissioner, the Rt Hon. Sir Eric Harrison, at the Dorchester Hotel in London in celebration of the 170th anniversary of the establishment of modern Australia. Sir Eric has so far been the second longest serving Australian High Commissioner to London, holding the post for 8 years!

Finally, congratulations to our two B-AS Members who were the lucky winners of February's draw to win tickets to ACMI's film showcase.

Best wishes

Damian J. Walsh


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