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November 2021 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

It was wonderful to see so many of you again on Thursday 14 October at our 50th anniversary drinks reception in the glorious surrounds of the Exhibition Hall of Australia House. Talented young Australian mezzo-soprano, Rebecca Hart, brought the house down with her soaring renditions of both the Australian and British national anthems. We were also thrilled to be joined by our State Agents-General, many members of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, representatives from our corporate partner, the Commonwealth Bank, and the heads of many of the Australian-related organisations here in London. There was a wonderful atmosphere of friendship in the room, reflected in our fabulous photo gallery which can be accessed here.

As you know, our 50th celebrations will continue into 2022 with our huge black tie gala dinner at the Savoy on 26 May. Further details will be released (including how to book tickets) early next year.

We are also finalising our event plan for next year with many great things in store! Preliminary details are now available on our website. We are particularly excited to announce two new dates for your diary. As I am sure you are aware, we have many recently arrived (or soon to arrive) State Agents-General including our new NSW Agent-General (that office having had several years' hiatus). Please mark 23 February 2022 in your diaries for our inaugural "Meet the Agents-General" event to be held in Australia House - a wonderful opportunity for many of you to meet the recently arrived and incoming Agents-General. We recently farewelled Mike Deeks CSC, Agent-General for Western Australia, and will soon say goodbye to Linda Apelt who returns to Queensland at the end of the month.

We are also thrilled to announce that we will host the next in our very popular "First Eight" lecture series on 12 May 2022 live in Australia House. Esteemed Australian academic, Professor Heaton, will this time discuss the life and times of Australia's very first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton. This date will of course be subject to government travel restrictions but please do save it for now. This lecture is particularly poignant as Professor Heaton had always intended to deliver his lecture on Sir Edmund Barton as part of our calendar of 50th anniversary events.

Many people have played instrumental roles over the last 50 years in helping to shape the B-AS into the vibrant and meaningful organisation that it is today. One such leading individual is Sir Roger Carrick KCMG LVO. Sir Roger is of course known to many of you already but not all of you may know of his many achievements and interesting life. And so, for this month's "Meet the B-AS" section, we asked Sir Roger to tell us a little more about himself...

As to upcoming events, on Wednesday 24 November we are holding our Victorian Wine Showcase in collaboration with the Victorian Agent-General's Office. Tickets sold out in a matter of minutes! Please do email the office if you would like to join our waitlist for this event. However, if you are not able to join us on this occasion, we are excited to announce that Australian Wines Online (, who will be running the tasting for us, has a very special offer for all our supporters in time for your Christmas purchasing! Please see below.

In addition, B-AS Charity Member, the Tait Memorial Trust, is holding another glorious event also on the night of 24 November - "Festive Firebird - a Tribute to Ballet"- in the beautiful London home of Leslie Macleod-Miller. The Tait Memorial Trust has very kindly extended an invitation to this event to all our supporters. Please scroll down for further details including how to book - places are limited so early booking is advised.

Speaking of the world of ballet, our National Director, Louise Mulley, was privileged to attend a reception in Australia House on 25 October for the launch of Leanne Benjamin AM OBE's marvellous autobiography, "Built for Ballet". This extraordinary work charts the trajectory of a little girl who started ballet school in the small city of Rockhampton and became one of ballet's greatest and longest serving stars on the world stage. We have a signed copy of Leanne's book to give away to one lucky B-AS Member. Entry details below!

We also have another exciting competition this month for five lucky Members to win a downloadable iTunes copy (each valued at £10) of The Flood - a remarkable debut from Australian writer/director Victoria Wharfe McIntyre. The Flood examines the plight of Indigenous Australians after World War Two. With many of the film's shooting locations destroyed by the 2020 Australian bushfires, The Flood is also a visual archive of ancient Australian rainforest. Please see below for entry details. If you are not lucky this time, the film is available for purchase across several digital platforms.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you this week at the Lyric Theatre for "Get Up, Stand Up!" - a musical produced by B-AS Board member, Trish Wadley, which celebrates the life and extraordinary story of the legend that is Bob Marley . If you were not able to get tickets to join us at this special B-AS event (in conjunction with our friends at the Australian Women's Club) this fabulous show is booking until 3 April 2022. The reviews are amazing and congratulations to Trish on this great success.

As you know, the Australian/UK Season of Culture is well underway. We wanted to spotlight a particularly brilliant exhibition now showing at The Box gallery in Plymouth - "Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters". "Songlines" was an award-winning sensation when it first showed at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. The exhibition examines ancient stories from the world's oldest continuing culture told through more than 300 paintings and objects. Now on an international tour, The Box is the only venue for "Songlines" in the UK. The event runs until 27 February 2022. We also wanted to let you know that a quartet of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, including the brilliant Richard Tognetti, will be in London in December for a strictly limited number of performances. We will send you more information when details are settled.

Finally, we hope to see many of you on Thursday 9 Decemberat 4.30pm for our very popular annual Christmas carols service at St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside. With a performance from the incomparable Bread Street Choir and readings from many familiar figures, including some of our Agents-General and HE, the Hon. George Brandis QC, Australian High Commissioner, this event is not to be missed. The service will be followed by a Christmas drinks reception at this iconic church in the City of London. Although both the service and reception will be hosted by us as a thank you to all our wonderful supporters this year, booking is required. Details will be released tomorrow. Numbers will be strictly limited so early booking is advised.

Finally, we always welcome new Members. To become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do, please click here. And please do spread the word. We have a lot of exciting plans afoot!

Best wishes

Damian J. Walsh


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