MR RICHARD NOTT & Ms SUE LABORDUS
FRIENDS OF ST GEORGE’S AUSTRALIAN REPORT 2021/2022
Let us be content with what has happened to us and thankful for all we have been spared. Let us accept the natural order in which we move. Let us reconcile ourselves to the mysterious rhythm of our destinies, such as they must be in this world of pace and time. Let us treasure our joys but not bewail our sorrows. Life is a whole, and good and ill must be accepted together. The Journey has been enjoyable and well worth making – once. “Thoughts and Adventures”: Churchill.
This report is written under the shroud of the death of our beloved Sovereign, the recent joy of the Platinum Jubilee and our hope that her reign might have lasted awhile longer, but in the end she even managed to include a welcome to her new Prime Minister. She died peacefully, supported by the company and vigilance of her two eldest children. As Churchill said, we need to accept our joys and our sorrows; we certainly give the greatest of thanks to Almighty God for giving us such a unique person as The Queen, one of selfless devotion to her country, her Commonwealth and her family.
During the past year, we have had a further period of viral infections, restriction on travel, and isolations. These have been coupled in the past few months with political problems in various parts of the world, rampant inflation and escalating costs of even basic food stuffs. In addition, world climate management differences are affecting our ability, as a world, to maintain our basic quality of life, and show the need for some period of balance.
As a result of all these things, having an ageing Friends’ membership base, scattered throughout such a large country as Australia, means we can only effectively provide a range of functions in cohort with other like-minded bodies, such as the Australia-Britain Society, the Cook Society and Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. We do ensure that attendances by Friends enables us to share a portion of the function surplus funds, if any, and mainly to provide vehicles of interest to Friends, as we have been able to do in the past year. I will comment briefly on two of them. Firstly, the Annual Christmas Luncheon is a grand affair, with one of the major city clubs providing a venue for traditional British fare, with lucky seat prizes. The entertainment is given by concert pianist John Martin and West End performer Simon Ward, leading us in a medley of Flanders and Swann, Noël Coward, and Gilbert and Sullivan favourites.
The Platinum Jubilee dinner saw 130 guests attending, including two former Prime Ministers, one former Governor-General, retired eminent judges, and a direct descendant of three British monarchs proposing the toast to St George. The Hon. John Howard proposed the Loyal toast, and the Hon. Michael Kirby reflected on the role of the monarchy, and of Her Majesty in particular. The latter part of the night included a series of films, slide shows, music and three opera stars plus a concert pianist. Michael McLaughin, from the Victorian Friends, arranged for two dozen bottles of local wines, with special Jubilee souvenir labels, to be sent to us as lucky seat prizes. In all, it was a grand and wonderful night.
Some functions have been postponed, due to the death of The Queen and a focus on memorial services. We are hopeful that the Remembrance Day luncheon with the Hon. Tony Abbott, and our annual well-subscribed Christmas luncheon, will proceed along past lines.
Whilst the notice of the Garter Ceremony was short, we did manage to see some of the Friends make the journey to Windsor, coupled with a celebratory dinner at the Savoy Hotel London with the Britain-Australia Society.
The press coverage of the memorial events for the late Queen has been extensive, and gives us a chance to be almost there to partake in the services; to be again a part of that wonderful family of Friends, that celebrate and give thanks to The Queen for such an example of true Godly living. God save the King!
Richard Nott AM and Sue Labordus OAM
Picture: At the Queen’s Jubilee Dinner: John Martin, pianist; the Hon. Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia; Sue Labordus, Secretary – Friends of St George’s and Australia-Britain Society; Awake Ohtake and Matthew Avery, singers; Tonia Malfitano; Andrew Taylor Knight and Imogen-Faith Malfitano, singers; General Sir Peter Cosgrove, former Governor-General of Australia; Emeritus Professor David Flint, Convenor – Australians for Constitutional Monarchy; the Hon. John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia; and Col. Michael Miller, Principal Private Secretary of the Governor of New South Wales.