President's Report


Vice-Presidents Jean Black, John Short and Jane Teasdale, Members of Council, Ladies and Gentlemen I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Victorian Branch of the Royal Over-Seas League covering the activities for 2018.
During the year we welcomed 43 new members.


Increase in capitation fees was mooted by Central Council. This has been successfully postponed for discussion to take place over the next year. The Edinburgh Clubhouse was closed due to costs of maintenance and lack of use and now the Royal Scots Club welcomes members. The Branch was saddened to learn of the death of Lady Figgis, who visited in 2010 and who met many members, condolences were sent to Sir Anthony Figgis, past Chairman of the League. The Marriage of Prince Henry of Wales to Meghan Markle was celebrated around the globe on 19 May and they now have their first child Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor.


During the year the following received Australian Honours:

  • The Hon. Alan Brown AM former Agent-General to London, Former State Government Minister and former Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party and
  • Mr. Robert Gottliebsen AM for significant service to the print media as a journalist, editor and business analyst and to education through school governance roles


Christine Chamberlain, Barbara Cummings, Patricia McKendrick and Jean Black visited UK. Jean also attended the AGM at Over-Seas House and all met with the new Director-General.
The 65th Anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty the Queen was commemorated at St. Paul’s Cathedral with a service of Choral Evensong.
The British High Commissioner invited the President to a St David’s Day function onboard HMS Sutherland. The Governor and Tony Howard also attended together with the British Consul-General and other distinguished guests. The first British warship to visit Australia in five years.
The President attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Ambassador Dinner at the Grand Hyatt with HRH Prince Edward Earl of Wessex in attendance.
The British High Commissioner HE Mrs Menna Rawlings CMG was officially farewelled in the Redmond Barry Room in December after four years in Canberra but did not depart until February.
The Council sponsored the Australian World Orchestra which performed in Melbourne in April and our Secretary attended the performance.
Christine Thompson retired after 23 years as Executive Assistant to British Consuls-General. A Reception was held at the Melbourne Club and addressed by the High Commissioner, the Consul-General and Christine Thompson. Christine is to join our Council.


The Development Project co-ordinated by Deputy President Christine Chamberlain has come to fruition after six years. It began as a discussion with the Archbishop Melanesia 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 through the Golden Jubilee Trust.  Finally, a Computer Laboratory was agreed to and was built in the Library at Selwyn College, where Dr. Vunagi is now Principal. Christine Chamberlain and I travelled to the Solomon Islands at the beginning of May. The Australian High Commissioner HE Rod Brazier and Leah Horsfall, First Assistant Secretary- Education, kindly offered to undertake the two-hour drive to Selwyn College. On arrival we were met by staff and students of the College and then proceeded with the British High Commissioner, HE David Ward, and the Archbishop of Melanesia, The Most Rev. George Takeli, to the Hall where 1000 students were gathered. Speeches were delivered, songs were sung and we were very warmly welcomed and thanked. We then adjourned to the Binden Library where the Computer Laboratory was installed and more speeches were made and the ribbon cut for the opening of the Computer Laboratory. Lunch followed and then magnificent dancing took place with students representing the different provinces performing brilliantly. After spending the Day at Selwyn College, we departed for Honiara having been wonderfully looked after and acknowledged. It is interesting to note that the Solomon Islands is the third largest recipient of Overseas Aid from Australia after Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. A very successful Development Project that brought great credit on the Royal Over-Seas League.


Members attended Dream Lover with David Campbell at the State Theatre, An Evening with Barry Humphries at Hamer Hall and the Wizard of Oz at the Regent Theatre. All splendid and well performed. A luncheon with Jeweller Adrian Dickens as Guest Speaker on The Queen’s Diamonds was held at William Angliss Restaurant. A visit to the State Parliament was organised in July with host The Hon. Bruce Atkinson MLC President of the Legislative Council. This included tours of both Houses and the Library and listening to question time in both Houses before high tea overlooking the parliamentary gardens. A special Evening Musical Soiree with Noel Coward took place at the Savage Club in September, many thanks to the talents of Peter Hurley who performed well and the Savage Club who were most hospitable thanks to Kenneth Park. Some members also attended the Herald-Sun Aria Final at the Melbourne Recital Centre in October.



The winner of the ROSL Gold Medal and ABC Young Performer of the Year, Miss Emily Sun [Violin] and Mr Gamal Khamis, winner of the 2017 ROSL Award for Accompanists, [Piano] performed at the home of Lino and Di Bresciani on October 3. Geoff Parkin, ROSL Director of Arts, introduced them before travelling on to New Zealand. Thanks again to Di and Lino Bresciani for their ongoing support.


Special guest again at our Annual Christmas Reception held on 6 December 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 Melbourne Club this year on 24 January. Susan Alberti was the guest speaker.  A fine night was enjoyed by all who attended.

AGM - 24th May 2018

Mr Chris Holtby OBE, British Consul-General addressed the AGM and talked about the strong relationship between Australia and Great Britain.


The CBSC 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 the 65th Anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation. Mr Rob Furlin President ESU succeeded Mr. Ed Llewellyn, of the Countess of Mountbatten’s Legion of Frontiersmen as Chairman of the CBCS. An Office-Bearers function was held at the Kelvin Club in November 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 auditing our accounts and providing a wonderful service over many years. My thanks also to Deputy President Christine Chamberlain for the time 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 also convening the Social Committee and being supported by Tony McNally, Barbara Cummings and Olwyn Plummer. Thank you to John Short also as our Honorary Treasurer for all the effort 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 all that 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. Enormous thanks to our Secretary Ron Williamson who has worked diligently and carried out his duties in a professional and competent manner as well as improving communication and ensuring everything runs properly. I would finally like to acknowledge Director-General Diana Owen for her interest and support.


Ladies and Gentlemen this is the Annual Report of the Victorian Branch for 2018.

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