2008 GALA DINNER
Guests celebrated the 80th anniversary of The Royal Flying Doctor Service, a unique icon of Australian culture, and the 60th anniversary of the Qantas Kangaroo Hop from UK to Australia.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service has served Australia’s vast and remote outback since 1927. The role of the RFDS has changed considerably over the years – in earlier times its primary role was more or less that of a flying ambulance. The first flight was made using a De Havilland model DH50 aircraft hired from the fledgling Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service, or Qantas as it is known today and Australians take pride in the fact that Qantas has been operating since 1920 and is now the world’s continually serving airline.
With his extraordinary global business success and philanthropy the Australian Day Foundation considered Michael Hintze a truly worthy recipient of the 2008 Australian of the Year in the UK award.
Michael Hintze started his career in the Australian Army before moving to the US to embark upon a career in finance. He moved to London with Credit Suisse First Boston before becoming Head of Equity Trading at Goldman Sachs. In 1999 he launched his own hedge fund company, CQS.
Since serving as High Commissioner he has actively maintained his affection for Australia and together with his extraordinary achievements in public life the Australia Day Foundation considered Lord Carrington a most worthy recipient of the 2008 Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK award.
The Rt Hon The Lord Carrington, this year’s Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK, was the British High Commissioner to Australia from 1956-59. Born in 1919, he was educated at Eton and Sandhurst and succeeded his father as the 6th Lord Carrington in 1938. Lord Carrington fought with the Grenadier Guards in the Second Word War and in 1942 married Iona McLean. In 1945 he was awarded the Military Cross. He has led a distinguished political career, serving under six Conservative Prime Ministers before finishing his cabinet career as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the Thatcher Government. In 1958 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) for his services to Australia. He is the President of the Britain Australia society and Chairman of the Australian Music Foundation.
This award was presented by the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, The Hon Richard Alston, at the Australia Day Party held in the Grosvenor House Hotel, on 26 January. For her extraordinary vision and total commitment to making a difference to many lives in Africa, the Australia Day Foundation considered Chloe Chick a worthy recipient of the 2008 Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK award.
On Australia Day in 2007 Chloe was part of an all-women climbing team which successfully scaled the three largest peaks in Africa over three weeks raising A$370,000 for Africa’s three peak issues: environment, health and education.
Guest Australian chef Skye Gyngell (on right of picture) created a memorable four course dinner that included Australian loin of lamb, supplied by Meat & Livestock Australia. The delicious accompanying wines were from Australia’s famous Wynns Coonawarra Estate. Skye is Head Chef at the award winning Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey and her first book ‘A Year In My Kitchen’ was winner of the Guild of Food Writers Award ‘Best Cookery Book 2007’, and her second book is underway. Skye says that for her to cook is the most natural thing in the world and she can’t think of anything more exciting than to welcome in the new season’s ingredients. Skye travels regularly to Australia.
The Spotlight was on three very talented young Australians making their mark in London’s West End. Mark Dickinson, Natalie O’Donnell and Craig Schneider wowed the guests with a medley of iconic songs associated with Australia and Australian performers.
Natalie O’Donnell hails from Victoria although graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. She originated the role of ‘Sophie’ in the original Australian ‘Mama Mia’ production and has appeared in numerous television series and was part of the remake of the new screen version of ‘South Pacific’ with Glenn Close and Harry Connick Junior. Natalie has just completed filming ‘My Life in Ruins’ with Richard Dreyfuss.
Melbourne born Mark Dickinson made his professional debut with Opera Australia and has a long list of theatrical credits in Australia; on the stage, in film and television. Mark has appeared on the West End, most recently in ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ with Elaine Paige. He is currently playing the principal role of Coach Bolton in the UK Premiere of Disney’s ‘High School Musical’ and when he finds the time he likes nothing better than to perform with his swing band Hoosier Daddy!
Craig Schneider is Australia’s multi award-winning pianist, vocalist, composer, arranger and bandleader. A respected jazz artist, Craig has performed at most of Australia’s major jazz festivals. He has released five CDs and his latest album, ‘Trio’ features his own original compositions. Craig is Musical Director for ‘The Rat Pack, Live from Las Vegas’.
Nina Ferro is a truly gifted singer who has performed throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. She most recently supported international artists at the legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. We were delighted when Nina agreed to sing the Australian National Anthem at the dinner.
Guests danced the night away to the band ‘AS IS’ before departing at 1.30am.
National Australia Group Europe
UBS Global Asset Management