The Australian Report 22/23

MR RICHARD NOTT & MS SUE LABORDUS

FRIENDS OF ST GEORGE’S AUSTRALIAN REPORT 2022/2023

‘When I remember all the friends so link’d together, I’ve seen around me fall, like leaves in wintry weather; I feel like one who treads alone some banquet-hall deserted, whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead, And all but he departed.’

Thomas Moore: ‘Oft in the Stilly Night’

This year was one heavily impacted by the death of Her Majesty the Queen, who was such an integral part of most of our own journeys. Her passing evoked such a sentiment of loss as was expressed by Thomas Moore in his ‘stilly night’ poem of reflection. Coupled with this were the universal challenges of Covid, and its impact on social gatherings, our global economy and its challenges brought to the events we have enjoyed and shared. The latter part of the Review time saw us emerging to regain some of our wonderful association of Friends, largely in New South Wales, where various kindred groups have joined to celebrate events of our happy tradition. These were well supported by the Australia-Britain Society, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, The Cook Society, with mainly local Friends and some joining us from Victoria. These collective gatherings enabled us to celebrate, with attendances ranging from 90-130 members and guests to a standard core of lunches and dinners: covering Remembrance Day, services at St James’ Church, where the Nine Lessons and Carols at Cambridge is replicated, a Christmas luncheon and The King’s Coronation dinner. Any event surpluses are shared proportionately with the Friends; this year we were able to send via Canon Poll a donation of $1,800 from these events, and donations from the Friends and Descendants.

Paul Scroope and guests at the King’s Coronation Dinner

Attendances at events were strongly supported, including by the Australia-Britain Society Patron, Her Excellency The Hon. Margaret Beazley, AC, KC, Governor of New South Wales, or her Private Secretary, Colonel Miller, LVO, and Mrs Miller. Other regular participants are: former Prime Ministers The Hon. John Howard, OM, AC, and The Hon. Tony Abbott, AC; Retired High Court Judge The Hon. Michael Kirby, AC, CMG; Professors Dr David Barker and Professor David Flint; and many other city dignitaries.

This year and into 2024 we are expecting to hold similar events but with a lower frequency, mainly owing to the global political tribulations impacting heavily costs of living, where the first sectors to suffer are support of the arts and cultural events which we traditionally enjoy. Having said that, the Christmas luncheon this year has attracted a lot of interest, and we have expanded the invitations to include the recently-folded Savage Club. This will enable us to support our attendance by Hilary Kay from the much-loved Antiques Roadshow with her husband Michael, when she will be meeting guests and giving us an overview of this programme. As well, we have attending two of the city’s most talented singers from Opera Australia: Rebecca Gulinello, who won the coveted Bel Canto Award from the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation, and Imogen Malfitano, who had the lead soprano role in Verdi’s Requiem. They will be singing popular melodies from the shows and Christmas carols, accompanied by Glenn Amer, concert pianist and raconteur, who delights the entertainment sector throughout the world. We expect a full house at one of the major city clubs.

During the year we will host a Sydney Harbour luncheon cruise, facilitated by our friends from the Scottish Battalions Association. The long weekend in June is The King’s birthday, when a major formal dinner with various celebrities will be held to acknowledge and rejoice in the seamless way in which our much-loved King and Queen have stepped in since the death of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II. His Majesty has a strong local association from his school days, and a visit by them, or possibly The Prince of Wales and his family, is expected in 2024-25.

Group clelbrating The Last Night of the Proms in Sydney

It was wonderful to see the Garter ceremony celebrated this year, and a number of local Friends and Descendants from Victoria and New South Wales attended and joined in some of the Sydney celebrations. Also, we were delighted to note from Windsor the addition of new members:

Mr Ethan Ranby-Davidson

Dr Kathryn Foy

We are saddened to report the passing of Mrs Margaret Swan, and our condolences are extended to her husband, Rear Admiral Ross Swan, AO, CBE, RAN Rtd, and her family.

A challenging situation for these wonderful societies is the difficulty in getting committee members sufficiently available to meet the structures required by the Not-for-Profit Sector, and the wide legislative demands in structures and operating processes. In addition, most younger people are fully committed to facing the challenges of costly family life in Sydney, especially housing costs and both parents needing to work and also supported by families. This would apply globally, I expect. Our local Friends/Descendants are mainly of senior ranks and a widening cosmopolitan population with differing interests. On the positive side, the associational links in Britain are strong, and with a large Australian young workforce, and support from Australian Companies, these membership levels continue at an unabated positive level. We expect that there will be further collegiate sharing of events in Sydney with other societies as membership ages. Hopefully, we can engender enough support to hold events in Melbourne as well into 2024.

Our thanks to the wonderful support received from Canon Poll, Linda Aitken and Annette Parsons, based at our splendid Windsor Castle precincts.

The best there is and more, plus collegiate best wishes to the global fraternity of Friends and Descendants.

‘May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.’  Chinese proverb.

 

Richard Nott AM and Sue Labordus OAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SaveSave

The King's Free Chapel. The Chapel of the Most Honourable and Noble Order of the Garter. The Chapel of the College of St George.