Dear Members and Friends,
It has been wonderful to see so many of you again. We have had an exciting array of events, now that restrictions have been lifted here in the UK, and we have negotiated some fabulous offers and giveaways - with much more to come. Our October newsletter is certainly a bumper edition!
September kicked off with a spectacular launch at the British Museum of the UK-Australian Season of Culture - the largest ever collaboration of British and Australian artists. Our National Director, Louise Mulley, and I were delighted to attend. With exciting events and performances across the UK through this year and next, we will keep you abreast of developments. We also saw further important announcements and initiatives from Government highlighting the strong bonds and affection between Britain and Australia such as the UK/Australia Covid-19 vaccine swap and the AUKUS partnership.
On 22 September we were privileged to hold our extremely popular President's Reception in the glorious gardens of Stoke Lodge at which both HE, the Hon. George Brandis QC and our President, Lord Hague, spoke fittingly about these strong bonds and the continuing growth of the very special Britain-Australia relationship. It was a beautiful late summer evening and Lord Hague was able to spend a couple of hours mingling and chatting with all of our guests, making it a memorable occasion.
The sun stayed shining through September in the Stoke Lodge gardens, where I was delighted to attend the RFDS Friends in the UK and Australian Women's Club garden parties - organisations which we closely support. Unfortunately I missed the joint Cook Society/BASET event as I was overseas. We co-hosted our own fabulous "Summer Soiree" with the Royal Over-Seas League in their beautiful gardens with a warm welcome from ROSL chairperson, Alexander Downer AC, and a performance from award winning Australian-Egyptian musician, Joseph Tawadros AM. The month ended with our very successful AGM held live in the Australia Centre. The minutes from that AGM will be available in due course on the Members' only section of our website.
Now that we have lots of wonderful live events happening again, we are currently in the process of updating our website and social media platforms with some gorgeous photos - watch this space.
We have many more exciting events and offers for you this month! It has never been a better time to become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do. To join us please click here. And please do spread the word!
We are pleased to announce that a few last minute places have been released due to a permitted increase in numbers for our "in conversation" with Paul Madden CMG - "Australia and the UK: Partners in the Indo-Pacific Century" on 7 October, 6-8pm livein Australia House. Please click this link if you would like to book. Bookings close tomorrow at 5pm.
Our 50th anniversary drinks reception on 14 October sold out in a matter of hours. However, do get in touch with us in the office if you would like to join our waitlist. Please don't forget that we are also holding a huge black tie gala dinner at the Savoy on 26 May 2022 in celebration of the 50th anniversary and we hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend that milestone event.
We are excited to announce that Tim Dillon, Agent-General for Victoria, has generously agreed for us to host a wine evening in the spectacular wood panelled rooms of the Victorian Agent-General's offices in what was originally Victoria House, built in 1907, and now incorporated into Australia House (built between 1913 and 1918). Please save the date of Wednesday 24 November for this wonderful occasion. Places will be strictly limited so keep an eye on your inboxes for our special booking flyer.
We were also very pleased by the response to our special B-AS ticket offer in conjunction with our friends at the Australian Women's Club to see "Get Up, Stand Up!" - a musical celebration of the life and extraordinary story of the legend that is Bob Marley. I look forward to seeing many of you at that special performance on Wednesday 3 November. A huge thank you to our very own B-AS Board member, and the Australian-born producer of this exceptional show, Trish Wadley, for organising this event for us. If you were not able to get tickets to join us on 3 November, please do buy tickets to see this fabulous show which launches this month at the Lyric Theatre. Currently booking until 3 April 2022.
Please also save the date of Thursday 9 December for our very popular annual Christmas carols service at St Mary-le-Bow. This will be followed by a Christmas drinks reception in the Australia Centre. Booking details will be released in the coming weeks.
The huge success of our Summer Soiree in conjunction with the Royal Over-Seas League prompts me to remind all B-AS Members that our corporate partner ROSL has offered us a 25% discount on their joining fee. Please do get in touch with ROSL should you like joining details and remember to mention you are a B-AS Member. Apart from its gorgeous gardens and surrounds, ROSL runs an exceptional musical and lecture programme for its members, one highlight of which is its Annual Lecture. This year sees Lord Patten of Barnes speaking live on Wednesday 13 October at 6.30pm on the topic "China and the New World Disorder". We are thrilled to announce we have a PAIR OF TICKETS up for grabs for one lucky B-AS Member (and friend) to attend this fascinating lecture from Lord Patten. Please scroll down for entry details.
We are also excited to announce we have another PAIR OF TICKETS to give away this month to see the European premiere of "The Sugar House" by award winning Australian playwright, Alana Valentine, at the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court. Following the lives of three generations of Sydney women, TimeOut Sydney called this play "a gift of theatre". Entry details are below with the winner announced on 11 October. For those not lucky enough to win, we have an exceptional discount booking code for all our B-AS supporters to use between 27 October and 7 November to see this remarkable play for only £10! Again, please scroll down for details.
As you know, the B-AS is a huge supporter of the artistic, cultural and creative relationship between Britain and Australia. And so a huge welcome to our new charity partner, The Foundation for Australian and New Zealand Arts ("FANZA"). We look forward to working closely with FANZA and highlighting to you the many and varied performances and happenings from Australian artists and creatives, together with exclusive B-AS Member offers and giveaways. For now, please do check out FANZA's newly launched website and sign up to their mailing list as your go-to place, especially during the UK-Australia Season of Culture - www.fanza.org
Our friends at the British Film Institute have been in touch with us to announce the launch this month of the 65th BFI London Film Festival (in partnership with American Express) with both live and online performances. One highlight will be the ground-breaking Australian series "Fires" starring multi-award winning Australian actor, Eliza Scanlen, and centred around the catastrophic bushfires which swept Australia in 2019. We also have a PAIR OF TICKETS to see "Fires" when it screens later this month for one lucky B-AS Member! Please scroll down for entry details. And do check the BFI London Film Festival website to explore what's on offer.
A huge congratulations to our Members who won our tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show and the Buckingham Palace tour and gardens last month. All had a brilliant time and we are so happy to include some photos from them below. We do love hearing from our Members!
Finally, in this month's "Meet the B-AS section", we would like to introduce you to Member Jeannie Lopes and the work she does with Advance. Our National Director, Louise Mulley, was honoured to attend the 2021 Advance Awards (fittingly held at ROSL) and hear the inspirational stories of high achieving Australian ex-pats around the world - many of whom live right here in the UK.
We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!
Damian J. Walsh