Dear Members and Friends,
I was thrilled to see so many of you last month at our President's Reception in Australia House. We were warmly welcomed by our Acting High Commissioner, Lynette Wood, before Lord Hague gave a fabulous and fitting tribute to Her Majesty The Queen. Feedback has been outstanding. Many of you signed our condolence book which we have now sent to His Majesty King Charles III. Over 250 people registered to attend the event and, despite the train strike, the Exhibition Hall was heaving! It was another highlight in our B-AS calendar this year. Please click here to see the photos of this memorable night. A big thank you again to our wine sponsors, Treasury Wine Estates, and of course our B-AS Corporate Partner, the Commonwealth Bank, for their support.
After some interesting weeks in UK politics, we now have a new British Prime Minister and I have written to Prime Minister Sunak on behalf of the B-AS congratulating him on his appointment. I hope that is the last such letter I’ll write this year! A copy is reproduced for you below.
Our final event for the year is our very popular Christmas Carol Service on Wednesday 7 December at 4.30pm at the beautiful St Mary-le-Bow church, hosted by our Chaplain, the Rev. George Bush. The Acting High Commissioner and some of our Agents General will do the readings. We will also host our special festive drinks and mince pie reception after the service in the church which is free to all attendees. We were overwhelmed by the response to this event and all 150 places were filled within days. However, in case we have some cancellations, we have opened up a waitlist and, if you would like to join, please email us. If you are no longer able to attend, please let us know so we can offer up your spot to the waitlist.
Congratulations to the winners of our B-AS October draw for tickets to see the outstanding Australian Chamber Orchestra perform at the Barbican at the end of October. The ACO’s performance accompanying the film “River” on Friday 28th was outstanding and a highlight of the Australia/UK Season of Culture. It was great to see so many of you there.
I also had the good fortune last month to watch the CommBank Matildas beat South Africa in their international “friendly” played at the Chelsea Women's home ground. The atmosphere was brilliant as we were joined in the stands by the South African supporters singing their hearts out. The Matildas are sponsored by our own Corporate Partner, the Commonwealth Bank, and we wish the Matildas well as they continue their build up to the Women’s Football World Cup next year (to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand). On 10 October our National Director, Louise Mulley, and I attended a wonderful service and lunch in commemoration of Admiral Arthur Phillip. This annual event, held at the beautiful St Nicholas Church in Bathampton where Admiral Phillip is buried, is hosted by our B-AS West Country branch, chaired by B-AS Board member Keith Newton. Keith and his team always organise a really interesting and enjoyable commemorative service followed by lunch with a guest speaker. This year, B-AS Vice President, Sir Roger Carrick, gave an insightful and entertaining speech about re-interpretations of the founding of modern Australia. I would encourage you to attend next year’s event and we will send details nearer the time. Please scroll down for some photos of the day.
I am delighted to report that the London Australian Film Festival is back this month after a break of over three years. The centrepiece of the 2022 festival is a tribute to Yolngu actor and dancer David Gulpilil, together with a collection of recent Australian shorts from festival partners Australian Short Film Today and a very special 25th anniversary screening of legendary Australian comedy "The Castle"! Discover the full programme by clicking here.
Finally, we have a fabulous prize draw for our B-AS Members this month. Some of you will recall that Australian actor and performer, Nick Hardcastle, was the Master of Ceremonies at our 50th anniversary gala in May. LA-based Nick will be back in the UK in November with his one-man show and we have a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky B-AS Member. To become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do, please click here. If you are not our lucky winner, I would highly recommend booking to see Nick live on stage. Louise and I will be there.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our Carol Service at St Mary-le-Bow on 7 December.
Damian J. Walsh