Annual Report

Deputy President Christine Chamberlain, Vice-Presidents Jean Black, John Short and Jane Teasdale, Members of Council, Ladies and Gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to present the Annual Report of the Victorian Branch of the Royal Over-Seas League covering the activities for 2016.
During the year we welcomed 37 new members.
A new Chairman of Central Council was appointed during the year to follow Simon Ward whose untimely death shocked everyone. The new Chairman is Sir David Brewer KG CMG CVO, JP. Sir David is a former Insurance Broker for fifty years with Sedgwick Collins then Marsh Ltd, Magistrate, Lord Mayor of the City of London and Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London. We look forward to welcoming him and Lady Brewer to Australia in the near future.


Joan Saxton a long time member of the League passed away early in 2016 and was farewelled at a service with both singing and spoken word with Lawrence Money delivering the eulogy.
Dr.Margit Korn a Life Member of the League and generous supporter also passed away towards the end of the year.

Australian Honours

Very Reverend Canon David Richardson AO OBE was honoured in the Australia Day Honours list by becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia. David had served as Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1999 to 2008 and was awarded by them the title of Dean Emeritus.

Valda Walsh AO was also made an Officer of the Order of Australia. Principally for services to Real Estate and the community.
The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO past Vice-President of the League was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday Honours list for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia and to the community in Victoria
Professor Glen Bowes AO was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the medical education and administration
The Hon Ivan Trayling OAM was awarded the Medal of the order of Australia for service to the people and Parliament of Victoria.


Honorary Life Membership was conferred on Vice-President Jean Black who had a significant birthday in 2016 but this was an honour for her extraordinary contribution to the League and the Victorian Branch over 27 years on Council.
Council reappointed John Short as a Vice-President for three years and also appointed Jane Teasdale as a Vice-President for three years following her long membership and previous service on Council.
Following the retirement of Mrs Coral Strahan in 2015 the Council after a worldwide search appointed Ron Williamson to the position. Ron had been a member of the Victorian Branch Council since 2009. Ron has excelled in the position and we are most grateful for his time, energy, experience and enthusiasm.
Council did determine during that year that Honorary Life Membership would only be awarded for exceptional service and not on achieving a certain age. Further more there would not be reductions in membership fees automatically for 30 years membership.
I was invited by our Patron to the Australia Day Reception at Government House where Her Excellency spoke glowingly of the Australian spirit and the contribution of volunteers.
Iona McKinnon visited the UK during the year as did Annette Cook and Patricia McKendrick.

ROSL Music Bursary

At the Annual ROSL Music Competition in London the string section was won by Australian Emily Sun on Violin and subsequently she was awarded the Gold Medal and 10,000 pounds.
ROSL was represented at the Australian Singing Competition Final by Jean Black, me and Ms Lily Murray [Secretary NSW Branch]. The ROSL Arts Scholarship for 2016 was won by Mr. Jarvis Dams, 25, Baritone, NZ, and the overall competition won by Mr. Nicholas Tolputt, 25, Counter Tenor, NSW. Some concern was expressed in relation to the level of public acknowledgement given to the ROSL Arts Scholarship despite its overall value of around $A10, 000. This is being followed up with Headquarters and the new Director of Arts and Music. Vivian Zeltzer retired after 35 years as co-ordinator and we wished her well. The Leagues involvement goes back to 1984.

Development Project

The Development Project organised by the Victorian Branch to provide a computer laboratory for Selwyn College Secondary School in the Solomon Islands now has support from all Branches in Australia and from Headquarters. Deputy President Christine Chamberlain has led the sub-committee on this project and kept in close contact with the School and Archbishop Dr. David Vunagi and his successor. The project will be finalised in the very near future and $20,000 worth of computer equipment purchased for the School and presented to Selwyn College.

Social Calendar

Members enjoyed seeing Matilda the Musical and attending Georgie Girl at Her Majesty’s Theatre as well as enjoying the singing at the Herald-Sun Aria.

We had a luncheon with Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC at the William Angliss Institute, Iona McKinnon said Grace, Patricia McKendrick proposed the Loyal Toast and Eammon Kelly proposed the Vote of Thanks. Professor Blainey gave a great speech about the First World War. A Special card was designed and prepared by Ron Williamson to mark the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen and was signed by all in attendance at the luncheon and subsequently forwarded to The Palace with a wonderful response from Her Majesty. Shirley Barr Life Member and former Member of Central Council also attended the Luncheon.
A farewell was held together with the Australia-Britain Society at the Gables for Gareth and Rebecca Hoar who had been in Melbourne for four years as Consul-General. They were returning to London before hoping to achieve a posting in China. A presentation was made to thank them for their support during their time in our State.
Jayson Gilham the 2012 Gold Medallist in the ROSL Music Competition performed brilliantly at the Recital Hall in November and those members present were privileged to hear such an outstanding musician.
A Concert to welcome the new Director of Arts and Music, Geoff Parkin, took place at the home of Lino and Di Bresciani in November with soprano Suzanne Shakespeare. Suzanne was magnificent, and Associate Artist David McNicol accompanied her superbly. Geoff Parkin was also given the cooks tour of Melbourne, enjoyed dinner at France Soir and breakfast with Executive members at the RACV. He is a worthy successor to Roderick Lakin.
A tour of the Shrine of Remembrance was undertaken in November and those involved enjoyed the experience and learned a great deal about our troops and the contribution made by many.
Our Christmas Reception was held at the home of the British Consul-General in December together with the Australia-Britain Society. Many thanks to Chris and Polly Holtby and the continuing assistance of Christine Thompson PA to the Consul-General.

AGM 2015

Mrs Susan Renouf spoke about Amazing Melbourne and all it has to offer and the world of fashion, tourism and retail.


Commonwealth Day was celebrated at the Gables with Mr. Victor Grech, Consul-General to Melbourne for Malta.

Queen’s Birthday Church Service was held as usual at St. George’s Malvern on June 5 followed by lunch at Giorgio’s.
Andrew Hilton succeeded Barrie Hunt as Chairman of the CBCS. Unfortunately after a struggle with cancer Andrew passed away this year. He was 69 and had been President of the Australia-Britain Society Victorian Branch for 12 years. He is succeeded by Rob Perry as both President and Chairman.
Julie Sattler and Patricia McKendrick serve as our delegates to the CBCS.

Club Liaison

The League continues to send Christmas Cards featuring Her Majesty The Queen to all levels of government and the community as well as other loyal societies and supporters. Our News Bulletin keeps members informed of events and matters of interest and our website provides further information on happenings and details of the League. We encourage members to provide their email address as more communication is happening via this medium and will only increase in the future.


Thanks to our Honorary Auditor Mr Andrew Nielsen for his thoroughness in auditing our accounts and providing a splendid service.

My thanks to Deputy President Christine Chamberlain for the support and time that she gives to the League particularly with the development Project for the last few years and to Vice-Presidents Jean Black, John Short and Jane Teasdale for the great work they do for the League.
Thank you to Jean for convening the Social Committee and being supported by Christine Chamberlain, Tony McNally, Barbara Cummings and Olwyn Plummer.
Thank you to John Short as our Honorary Treasurer for all the effort he devotes to our finances the soundness of which are reflected in the annual accounts, ably supported by Assistant Treasurer Julie Sattler OAM.
Thank you also to Members of Council for the time and energy they give to furthering the aims of the League and for their support over the last twelve months.
Special thanks to our new Secretary Ron Williamson who has put his stamp on the position and carried out his duties in a professional and efficient manner as well as revamping the office and improving communication, whilst giving close attention to members concerns.
Thanks also to Director-General Roddy Porter for his guidance and support and for his assistance with the Queens Jubilee Trust. He intends to step down from his position towards the end of 2017.

Ladies and Gentlemen this is the Annual Report of the Victorian Branch for 2016.

jason president


HM The Queen

HRH Princess Alexandra KG GCVO

Patron Victoria
The Hon. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria

Chairman Australia & President Victoria
Jason Ronald OAM

Branch Secretary
Ron Williamson