Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Dear Members and Friends,
Welcome back after an absolutely stunning British summer. We have lots of exciting things to report and fabulous plans for 2023.
Our 51st Annual General Meeting will be held in the Australia Centre on Monday 26 September 2022 at 5.30pm. A notice will go out shortly to all our Members and we do hope many of you will come along and also join us for a drink after the meeting. Our next major event is of course our President's Reception with Lord Hague of Richmond in the magnificent surrounds of the Exhibition Hall of Australia House on Wednesday 5 October, 6-8pm. Lord Hague will be making the keynote address. We are thrilled to announce that, due to a relaxing of capacity restrictions in the Exhibition Hall, we are now able to release more tickets to this event which is a highlight in the B-AS calendar. Please click here to purchase tickets.
Please also save Wednesday 7 December at 4.30pm for our very popular Christmas Carol Service and festive drinks reception at the beautiful St Mary-le-Bow church, hosted by our Chaplain, the Rev. George Bush. Given the huge popularity of last year’s service, early booking is advised so please keep an eye on your inboxes! A booking flyer will be sent out later this month and tickets will be on a first come, first served basis with priority given to B-AS Members. The incomparable Bread Street Choir will again perform.
It was certainly a busy summer. In July, I was honoured to be invited to a dinner hosted by Dave Stewart, the Queensland Agent General, in honour of the Queensland Governor, Jeannette Young AC PSM, where we were joined by a number of prominent Queenslanders in the UK. The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July/August have finished with Australia at the top of the medal table – unless of course you combine the medal count of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland! We’ll call it a draw. To celebrate the Games, the Acting High Commissioner, Lynette Wood, hosted a fabulous reception at Australia House on 2 August. On 4 August, in the presence of the Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, the Victorian Agent General, Tim Dillon, hosted a packed house dinner at Australia House to launch the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in Victoria. I joined many of our Members at both events.
The dynamic and innovative Australian Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of “National Living Treasure” Richard Tognetti, will be in London for its annual residency at The Barbican with three very different performances on 27, 28and 29 October. Full details and ticket options can be found here. Join me for all three, individually unique, performances. The performance of River, a brilliant film/orchestral collaboration on Friday 28 October, will be a showcase of the Australia/UK Season of Culture. If you are interested to know more about the ACO and its UK tour programme, please contact me directly and please get in early to secure your tickets.
The AU/UK Season of Culture came to a climax with a multitude of events across the Edinburgh Festival but there are many more events and exhibitions between now and the end of the year. A collaboration between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “The Season” celebrates the diverse and innovative artistic communities and cultural sectors of each nation. To find out what is on, follow this link.
Before the summer, we mentioned the Royal Flying Doctor Service Friends in the UK spectacular black tie gala "A Night in the Desert" to be held on 16 November 2022 at the Hurlingham Club. Amongst other things, the irrepressible Jeffery Archer will be taking up his auctioneer's gavel and Moss Wood is supplying the premium wines which will be served. This event is now nearly sold out. If you would still like tickets, please click here. I strongly encourage you to act quickly to avoid missing this wonderful night supporting the vital work of this iconic Australian charity. A portion of all tickets sales will also go directly to the RFDS.
B-AS corporate partner, the Royal Over-Seas League, has extended a lovely invitation to all B-AS supporters this month to attend the ROSL centenary lecture and champagne reception on 15 September at 6.30pm. Historian and writer Andrew Roberts will talk about his new work 'The Chief: the Life of Lord Northcliffe'. Lord Northcliffe (together with Sir Evelyn Wrench) helped found ROSL and this promises to be a fascinating insight into Lord Northcliffe's career and achievements. All B-AS supporters may book at ROSL member rates. For booking details please click here. Please add "B-AS" in the ROSL membership number field when purchasing tickets.
And on Friday 23 September, AFL Europe is hosting its AFL Grand Final Dinner in the Exhibition Hall of Australia House previewing the AFL's biggest match of the year! For all you Aussie Rules fans out there, this is a night not to be missed with a three course dinner and fabulous Australian wines and beer. Louise and I will both be there and we are really looking forward to it. Tickets are available via this link.
We are now busily planning our 2023 programme of events and have some wonderful things in the pipeline. Amongst other things, we are working with the NSW Agent General, Stephen Cartwright OAM, in planning a very exciting celebration of the 50 year anniversary of the opening of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Watch this space. Priority for all events is always given to our Members. It's never too late to join! To become a Member of the B-AS, and to support the work we do, please click here. And please do tell all your friends.
We love hearing from our Members and were thrilled to receive an absolutely fabulous report and photographs from Robin Tipler, a B-AS Lincolnshire Branch Member, who was one of the winners of our June draw for tickets to tour the Buckingham Palace state rooms and gardens. An extract and photos are below. Thank you Robin! We will have more exciting giveaways and offers for you in our 2023 pipeline.
Damian J. Walsh