The Australian Report 19/20

MR RICHARD NOTT

FRIENDS OF ST.GEORGE’S AUSTRALIAN REPORT 2019/20

The latter part of 2019 finished on a high note, with Remembrance Day on 11 November service at St. James’ Church King Street, Sydney, followed by a luncheon at the Union, University and Schools Club where our guest of honour was Major-General Jim Molan, AO DSC who was elected to the Australian Senate vacancy on that date. This luncheon was supported by the local Friends and guests from the Cambridge Society and Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

Our annual Christmas luncheon, dispensed with a formal guest speaker to enable Friends and guests to renew old friendships and it was followed by a wonderful entertainment section of Flanders and Swann items and other Noel Coward favourites by Simon Ward and our Treasurer and MC Ken Bock, OAM, with piano support from the wonderful John Martin who recently had a small role in the film “Ladies in Black”.

Earlier in the year, our guest speaker was the Hon. Dr. Brendan Nelson, AO, Director of the Australian War Memorial, and this occasion served also to farewell our State Governor, General the Hon. David Hurley, AC DSC (Retd), before assuming his role as Governor-General in Canberra, and Mrs. Linda Hurley. An oil painting of the Australian bush was presented to them from the guests.

Shortly afterwards, a special visit was made to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to present a limited-edition print signed by the surviving engineers and test pilot of the first flight of the Spitfire. A similar signed copy is held at the Battle of Britain museum at Hendon and our donation was one of only seven copies believed to have been allocated to Australia in 1978.

This year was negatively impacted by the Coronavirus and the uncertainties surrounding our normal work and social routines resulting in a total closure of events that have been all deferred until 2021 or when the status hopefully returns to normal. The proposed guests include General the Hon. Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (Rtd), former Governor-General, and Lady Cosgrove, Her Excellency Victoria Treadell, CMG MVO, the British High Commissioner, Peter Rainey speaking on the history of British cinema, and historian The Hon. Michael Pembroke speaking on the Korean War. Hopefully these will be available IN 2021, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Australia-Britain Society, planned for late May 2021, to which Friends are also invited.

Quarantining in and out of countries has also effectively reduced travel apart from residents looking to gain access to their home bases, as well as negative economic outcomes from a limited ability to sustain unemployment benefits and resumption of business roles, now reduced to working from home. There is little encouraging news beyond our history of sustained resilience in times of peril and uncertainty, that we need to remind ourselves about and practise sound common sense in our interface with others.

We send the best that there is to our Friends throughout not only Australia but the world wide body of them now all in a common time of trial until rejoicing restarts, hopefully into 2021.

Richard Nott AM and Sue Labordus OAM.

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