Dear Members and Friends,
Welcome back! We hope you had a lovely summer. We are pleased to announce that we are now back in our offices in the Australia Centre and very much looking forward to seeing you at one of the many exciting events we have coming up over the next few months.
As you know, our President's Reception with Lord Hague of Richmond originally scheduled for June sold out in a matter of minutes. Due to changes in UK Government Covid guidelines we were forced to postpone but we are now very excited to confirm that the Reception will go ahead in the glorious gardens of Stoke Lodge on 22 September. The date change has meant that some of you are unfortunately no longer able to attend. However we are thrilled that we have been able to accommodate some of those who were on our waitlist and those people have been notified. We are also looking forward to 15 September and our "Summer Soiree" at the Royal Over-seas League. We are also working hard to accommodate those on our waitlist list where possible.
September is indeed a busy month for the Britain-Australia Society. In addition to our Summer Soiree and the President's Reception, our Society's AGM will be held on 27 September and a formal notice of meeting will be sent in due course. For those that can make it, please do join us afterwards for a few celebratory drinks. The Patrons and supporters of the Royal Flying Doctors Friends in the UK will also be enjoying late summer drinks in the gardens of Stoke Lodge on 2 September and our friends (many of them joint B-AS Members) at the Cook Society, together with the trustees and friends of the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust, are celebrating their own "summer" event (and my birthday!) at Stoke Lodge on the evening of 14 September.
The September events kick off tonight with the official launch of the UK/Australia Season of Culture at the British Museum. We gave you some background on this wonderful initiative in our last newsletter. A full programme of events will be published shortly and we will be sure to keep you informed.
We are also pleased to confirm that Paul Madden CMG (former UK High Commissioner to both Australia and Singapore and Ambassador to Japan) will join me "in conversation" on the topic "Britain and Australia : Partners in the Indo-Pacific Century" live in Australia House on 7 October. You will recall that this was originally going to be presented as another lockdown webinar and I cannot tell you how pleased I am that this will now be held as a live event that we can enjoy with our many fellow Members and friends. Paul's experience in this part of the world is second to none and it will be a fascinating evening and a great get-together. Booking details can be found on our events page. We have been able to increase our numbers slightly for this previously sold out event so early booking is advised.
As you know, this year sees the 50th anniversary of the Britain-Australia Society. It is very unfortunate that our planned celebrations, like everything else, were impacted by the Covid restrictions but, as mentioned in our last newsletter, we can now confirm that our gala dinner will go ahead on 26 May 2022. Please save the date for what will be a fabulous night of food, wine, entertainment and, of course, great company. In the meantime, we cannot let the occasion go entirely unmarked and we would like to invite you to a drinks party at Australia House on Thursday 14 October 2021 to toast 50 years of our Society! Booking details will follow shortly so please keep an eye on your inboxes. Places will be strictly limited and tickets sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
The West Country Branch of the Britain-Australia Society is holding the Annual Admiral Phillip Birthday Commemoration Service and lunch this year at St Nicholas Church and Bailbrook House Hotel in Bathampton near Bath on Monday October 11, 2021. I went to this wonderful event in this beautiful setting the last time it was held and encourage members and friends to attend. Please get in touch with us if you would like further details.
We have an exceptional offer for our Members this month - a chance to visit Buckingham Palace on Sunday 12 September! We are thrilled to announce that we have secured a pair of tickets for this sold out, once in a lifetime opportunity to tour the Buckingham Palace State Rooms and explore the Palace Gardens and picnic on the lawn. Included in this wonderful prize is a tour of the famous Rose Garden and wildflower meadow. Entry details are below. You must be a Member to enter. If you are not already a Member, please click here to access our Membership page and sign up to support the work we do and to take advantage of our "Members Only" offers and events.
A big congratulations to B-AS Member, Meegan Graham, who won our our pair of tickets to the sold out members' day at the glorious Chelsea Flower Show on 22 September. Congratulations Meegan and thank you to the many Members that entered.
We continue to have many more exciting offers for our Members. For September, our friends at Acorn Media International have offered us 4 DVDs of popular Australian crime drama "My Life is Murder" with award winning actor Lucy Lawless. Entry details are below.
We always love to hear from our Members. During their recent travels, Sir David and Lady Higgins came upon a wonderful memorial to Sir Joseph Banks illustrating the enduring relationship between Britain and Australia. The memorial was established by the Britain-Australia Society branch in Lincolnshire and unveiled by former Australian High Commissioner, Philip Flood AO, on 26 May 2000. We have reproduced the Higgins' photo below.
Finally, in this month's "Meet the B-AS" section, we thought we would include a photo of the two most important people in our team, our National Director, Louise Mulley, and our Office Manager, Marina Kinsman, back at their desks at the Australia Centre - after nearly 18 months working from home. It's great to have them both back in the office!
We look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming events.
Damian J. Walsh