2005 GALA DINNER
In 2005 Australia House echoed to the sounds of the bush. The theme was the 'Great Australian Outback' and guests were treated to a spectacular ‘Outback’ experience, beginning with a reception ‘Down Under’.
The Rebecca Hossack Gallery generously loaned original indigenous artwork from their collection and the design of our literature included elements of the Jimmy Pike ‘Mantamarta’ 1989 acrylic on canvas artwork.
Professor Lord May of Oxford is the most distinguished Australian in Britain today, and the Australia Day Foundation is proud to present him with the 2005 Australian of the Year in the UK award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in this country and his continuing contributions to Australia.
Robert May was born in Sydney (in 1936) and obtained his doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Sydney at the age of 23. Only 10 years later he was the holder of Sydney University’s first Personal Chair in Theoretical Physics.
By the early 1970’s Lord May had become interested in the dynamics of animal populations and population biology and in 1973 moved to Princeton University as “Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology” remaining at Princeton until he transferred to Britain as a Royal Society Research Professor in 1988.
From 1988-1995 he held joint Professorships at Imperial College and Oxford University, until his appointment in 1995 as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, a position he held until 2000.
In 2000 he was appointed President of the Royal Society – only the second Australian in its 350 year history (Lord Florey was the first).
Among an illustrious list of international accolades the following should be mentioned:
In 1966 the Royal Swedish Academy awarded him The Crafoord Prize (the equivalent of a Nobel Prize) describing his influence on contemporary ecological research as ‘quite over- whelming’.
In 1998 the Balzan Prize presented by the President of Italy was awarded to Robert May, particularly for his pioneering work on chaos theory and ecological systems.
In 2001 he was awarded the Blue Planet Prize by the Asahi Glass Foundation “for developing mathematical ecology and the fundamental tools for ecological conservation planning”.
In 1996 Robert May was Knighted, and in 1998, he was made a ‘Companion of the Order of Australia’ – Australia’s highest honour – both awards for “services to science”.
In 2001 he was made a Life Peer and in 2002, the Queen appointed him to the Order of Merit – only the fifth Australian in its 100-year history.
Lord May is not only an outstanding scientist but is also a committed advocate for the global environment and urgent issues ranging from species extinction to infectious diseases such as AIDS. And, despite his many years living on this side of the world, Robert May has retained his Australianess. He regularly travels to Australia to present papers and advise government.
His activities in recent years in Australia include:
September 2001 – delivered the Keynote Address, Templeton Lecture at the University of Sydney, and the Keynote Address at the 6th World Congress of Chemical Engineering in Melbourne.
November 2002 – delivered the Keynote Address at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering National Symposium (ATSE 2002) in Sydney.
August 2003 – delivered the Keynote Address at the World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in Sydney
And in April 2005 he will travel to Australia to deliver the Plenary Address at The International Statistical Institute’s 2005 Biennial Session, in Sydney.
Amongst his other appointments Lord May is an Executive Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation, Board Member of the UK Sport Institute, and a Foundation Trustee of Cambridge University’s Gates Trust.
His previous posts in the UK include: Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London; Trustee of WWF (UK); and President of the British Ecological Society.
The Australia Day Foundation, in making this award of 2005 Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK to Alan Whicker, recognises his contribution to putting Australia ‘on the map’. It was his programs in Whicker’s World’ which gave many people in the UK, and internationally, their first glimpses of the scale, wonder and diversity of the country, and it encouraged them to make the trip Down Under.
Alan Whicker is known, and renowned internationally through the enduring success of ‘Whickers World’. Alan started his career in the army and joined the British forces as they advanced through Italy at the end of World War 11. He then had a stint as editor of the British Army newspaper, and this whetted his appetite for journalism. He was a war correspondent in Korea and the Canal Zone in Egypt, and on his return to Fleet Street, he was lured to the BBC in 1957, where he was a correspondent for the flagship current affairs program, ‘Tonight’.
But it was Whicker’s World that made him a television icon and known internationally. Whicker’s World ran for more than three decades and Alan Whicker travelled to the four corners of the globe. Alan also introduced introduced ‘arm chair travellers’ to the mudmen of Papua New Guinea and the Alaskan Wilderness, and these remarkable, and perhaps outlandish adventures, led to the legendary Monty Python sketch about a mythical place called ‘Whicker’s Island’, populated by ‘Whicker look-alikes’ awaiting that inevitable interview’. This is real fame!
It was not only his natural ease and charm but also his distinctive interviewing style that led to exclusive interviews with the reclusive billionaire, John Paul Getty, and the Sultan of Brunei. Alan Whicker pioneered the personality-centered style of documentary that was later followed by others, including Clive James.
A consummate charmer, and former Judge on ‘Miss World’, Alan is also a serious journalist as he has shown in his acclaimed interviews with dictators in Paraguay and Haiti, and his documentaries on gun control and plastic surgery.
Alan Whicker was made a ‘Commander of the British Empire’ in the 2005 New Year Honours – appropriate recognition of his life-time contribution to television and the Nation.
Harry Kewell was born in Smithfield, Sydney on 22 September 1978 and began his soccer career with the local Smithfield Hotspurs soccer team. At the age of just 16, he joined the English Premiership football club Leeds United on trial from the New South Wales Academy. When he was 17, Harry made his Leeds debut on 30 March 1996 against Middlesbrough and in the same year, played his first international match for Australia against Chile. He scored his first goal for Leeds in October 1997, in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Stoke City.
Playing mostly in a left midfield role and in attack, Harry Kewell became Leeds’ best player, later forming a ‘striking partnership’ with fellow Australian, Mark Viduka. The high point of this period was when they helped Leeds reach the semi-final of the Champions League in 2000-01. Only the efforts in front of goal by Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka prevented the Leeds side from being relegated from the Premiership.
Two years ago Harry transferred to Liverpool and in each of the last two seasons (2002-3) and 2003-4) Harry has been the leading scorer in the Premiership of left-footed goals. In the Australian national team, his efforts have been outstanding, scoring on a regular basis against strong teams and helping the team to victory against France and Brazil, and – probably most importantly for Australians – against England.
Harry Kewell is a mainstay of the Australian Socceroos, a challenging role given that he is playing at the highest level on this side of the world.
The four course outback menu was created by renowned Australian chef Scott Webster. Scott is seen as one of the leading experts of a new emerging Australian cuisine and his Gala Dinner menu included Barramundi & Yabbie Chowder and Dorrigo peppered roast lamb rack. Scott trained in Sydney, in London at the Savoy Hotel and Switzerland at the Grand Hotel. His career has taken him as far afield as Canada, USA and Asia.
Melbourne-born musical theatre star, Caroline O’Connor wowed guests with a medley of show tunes. Caroline is a multi award-winning singer/dancer/actress who continues to grace the stages of Broadway, the West End, the Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House. As Nini in Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar winning film “Moulin Rouge”, Caroline came to the attention of music lovers all over the world. Some of her signature roles include Piaf, Judy Garland, Velma Kelly in “Chicago”, Anita in “West Side Story” and Mabel in “Mack & Mabel”.
Australian baritone, Jeremy Vinogradov studied in Australia before winning a scholarship to the Vienna Konservatorium. He has worked with companies including British Youth Opera, Birmingham, D’Oyly Carte and Birmingham Opera Companies, Grange Park and Longborough Opera, and also a US-tour for Columbia Artists and the Batignano Festival Italy. He sang Don Giovanni and Baron Douphol in La Traviata for English Touring Opera and Mozart’s Count and Don Giovanni in the Netherlands.
When Australian songwriters were called upon to create a song that captured the essence of Australia, Jackie Bristow from Sydney rose to the challenge and was the winner of the nationwide competition with her song ‘This Is Australia’. Jackie performed her song with passion to an appreciative audience.
National Australia Group Europe
RWE Thames Water
The Weir Group