Annual Report

(Firstly the President read a letter to Sir Anthony Figgis following Lady Figgis’s death and his response.)
NEW DIRECTOR-GENERAL: We were delighted to welcome the appointment of Dr. Diana Owen as the new Director-General succeeding Major General Roddy Porter MBE who served in that capacity from 2011-2017 and visited Australia with his wife Marianne in 2013.
Dr. Owen brings extensive experience of working in the not-for-profit sector, with the National Trust, and for the last ten years, as Chief Executive of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford-upon-Avon, a global hub for Shakespeare fans everywhere. Vice-President Jean Black and Council Member Barbara Cummings recently met Dr. Owen in London.


Long term members, members of Council and those that give great support to the League were invited to join our Patron, Her Excellency the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and her husband Mr Anthony Howard QC for morning tea at Government House at the end of May. This was a special occasion and the Governor welcomed us warmly and spoke highly of the work of the League. I responded to her remarks and thanked her for her hospitality and her wonderful work around our State. A guided tour of Government House followed and all involved had a very pleasant time inspecting the Vice-Regal residence.


The Governor of Victoria invited organisations of which she or her husband are Patrons to a Reception at Government House in December.
Mrs. Christine Chamberlain and her husband Dr. John Chamberlain represented the League at the Reception to showcase the Victorian Community Christmas Tree, decorated with ornaments donated by a range of organizations including ROSL Victorian Branch. It was reported that the Christmas tree was well decorated, the event was enjoyable and The Governor most hospitable.


During the year the following received Australian Honours:    
John King OAM for services to Rotary for over 50 years and the community with the Uniting Church, Mayflower Nursing Home and the Association for the Blind.
John Marshall AM for significant service to the energy supply sector, to corporate governance, and to charitable and medical research institutions.  
Associate Professor Gwynne Thomas OAM for substantial contribution to the Victorian Community particularly though medicine.
Robert Webster OAM State President of the RSL for services to veterans and the Victorian community.


Dr. Eamonn Kelly a Member of Council for 12 years married Anna Forsyth in June and received best wishes and a presentation from Council members. During the year we welcomed 53 new members. Annette Cook did not seek re-election at the last AGM. Christine Chamberlain visited the UK during the year.


The Finals of the Australian Singing Competition were held in Sydney on Saturday July 15 at the Concert Hall Concourse Chatswood with special guest the former Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Rt Hon. Sir John Key GNZM. Victoria was represented by Deputy President Christine Chamberlain and her husband and Vice-President Jean Black, the NSW Secretary Lily Murray also attended.
Filipe Manu from New Zealand won the Mathy Award and Paull-Anthony Keightley, a bass baritone from WA, gave splendid performances and was presented with the ROSL Bursary and Scholarship. This includes a cash grant of $2,000 from the Victorian Branch of the League, a return flight to the UK, and two week’s accommodation and hospitality in central London at the Over-Seas House. ROSL ARTS also arrange several performance opportunities in London or Edinburgh. Total value about $10,000. The ROSL will not be continuing this bursary going forward and is working with the Director of Arts to discover other possibilities.


The Development Project co-ordinated by Deputy President Christine Chamberlain has come to fruition after six years. It began as a discussion with Melanesian Archbishop David Vunagi and his wife Mary, Christine and me outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. From there with correspondence going back and forth slowly, it became an idea to provide computers for Selwyn College in the Solomon Islands. To make it a truly Australian based initiative all branches contributed and headquarters also assisted from the Golden Jubilee Trust. Finally a Computer Laboratory was agreed to and was to be built in the Library at Selwyn College, where Dr. Vunagi is now Principal.


Members attended My Fair Lady at the Regent Theatre, Les Miserable at the National Theatre, Dome to Dungeon Tour of the State Library and enjoyed the Herald Sun Aria at Hamer Hall.
Early in the year a luncheon with Chris Holtby, British Consul-General, as Guest Speaker was held at William Angliss he was accompanied by Polly Holtby and 40 members and guests attended. Chris spoke about Brexit and the implications for the Australian British relationship.


Our special black tie event for the year was the celebration of the Centenary of the House of Windsor 100 years to the day on 17 July. Organised by Ron Williamson the event was held at the Alexandra Club courtesy of Vice-President Jane Teasdale with guest speaker Janine Kirk AM Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust in Australia. We were also fortunate to have Margaret Jackson AC the Chairman of the Prince’s Trust in Australia present for that Dinner. Ron went to a great deal of trouble producing a souvenir programme on the House of Windsor that guests could take away with them. We learnt a great deal about the Prince’s Trust and a fair amount about the Windsor’s. A very special occasion that was a great success.


The winner of the ROSL Gold Medal Huw Wiggin 2014 together with the winners of the ROSL Ensemble Prize in 2015 performed brilliantly at a special concert at the home of Lino and Di Bresciani on November 9 last year. The quartet was brought to Australia by Geoff Parkin, ROSL Director of Arts, before travelling on to New Zealand. The 70th Wedding Anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip was also celebrated at this occasion.


Special guest at our Annual Christmas Reception held on 30 November, St Andrew’s Day, was Pipe Major Andrew Spierings who regaled the guests with appropriate tunes on his bagpipes. Chris and Polly Holtby were gracious hosts and the day was fine and guests made the most of the garden. Three hampers were raffled and Edwina Hunt did a first class job with the food and refreshments.


The Annual Australia Day Dinner organised by the Australia Day Council Victoria took place at the Fenix Receptions on the Yarra at Richmond on 23 January. Guest speaker, who proposed the Toast to Australia, was Professor David Flint AM Convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.  I had the honour to thank Professor Flint for his speech and in part said: Professor Flint needs thanks for more than a fine speech, he has been the National Convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy since 1998 leading successfully the NO CASE for the 1999 referendum on a republic and providing important information ever since at as a result Her Majesty this year will celebrate the 65th Anniversary of her Coronation as Queen of Australia as well as her other realms and territories. A fine night was enjoyed by all who attended.

AGM 2017

Mr Ken Weldin from the Australian British Chamber of Commerce addressed last year’s AGM and talked about Brexit and the ramifications for Australia and Great Britain.


The Council of British and Commonwealth Societies held the annual Commonwealth Day Dinner at the Gables in East Malvern and special guest was the Malaysian Consul-General, Mr.Westmorland Palon who spoke glowingly of the Commonwealth and its importance in the world.
The annual Queen’s birthday church service was held at St Georges Anglican Church in Malvern in June and was well attended with the usual procession of banners, marvellous hymns and a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen. Following morning tea many went to the Malvern Vale Hotel and enjoyed a delicious luncheon and toast to Her Majesty.
Mr. Ed Llewellyn, of the Countess of Mountbatten’s Legion of Frontiersmen succeeded Rob Perry as Chairman of the CBCS.
An Office-Bearers function was held at the Kelvin Club in October for representatives of the 15 affiliated organisations.
Julie Sattler and Patricia McKendrick serve as our delegates to the CBCS.


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.


Thanks to our Honorary Auditor Mr Andrew Nielsen for his diligence in auditing our accounts and providing a wonderful 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 six 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 Tony McNally, Barbara Cummings and Olwyn Plummer.
Thank you to John Short as our Honorary Treasurer for all the energy he applies 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. Also thanks to those who assist with various tasks during the year including the mailing out of the News Bulletin.
Special thanks to our Secretary Ron Williamson who has put his imprint on the position and carried out his duties in a professional and efficient manner as well as improving communication and ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible.
I would finally like to acknowledge Director-General Roddy Porter and then Diana Owen for their guidance and support.


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