Annual Report

Sir David Brewer KG CMG CVO JP KStJ retired as Chairman of the ROSL and was succeeded by The Hon. Alexander Downer AC. I managed to catch up with Mr. Downer when visiting the UK in July 2019 and had fruitful discussions particularly about the membership rates and his visits to Branches.

Members I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Victorian Branch of the Royal Over-Seas League covering the activities for 2019. During the year we welcomed 44 new members.


Sir David Brewer KG CMG CVO JP KStJ retired as Chairman of the ROSL and was succeeded by The Hon. Alexander Downer AC. I managed to catch up with Mr. Downer when visiting the UK in July 2019 and had fruitful discussions particularly about the membership rates and his visits to Branches.

A Members survey was undertaken by email around the globe and the results represented a small percentage of the membership, further analysis will be completed before changes are made.

As Australian Chairman I visited the Wald Club Perth for the Combined Councils Queens Birthday Dinner in June. Special Guest was the Governor of WA, HE The Hon. Kim Beazley AC. Nigel Rogers ROSL WA President was also Chairman of the Combined Council of Loyal Societies. I was also pleased to attend the Inaugural Spring Concert at Government House Hobart organised by the Tasmanian Branch and President Stephen Jones with thanks to the Governor for her hospitality.


During the year the following received Australian Honours:

  • Mr Anthony Howard AM QC husband of the Governor, our Patron, for services to law and
  • Dr Donald Hossack OBE OAM PSM for services to the community.


HE The Hon. General David Hurley AC, DSC succeeded Sir Peter Cosgrove AC as Governor-General of Australia and accepted Chairman Alexander Downers invitation to become Australian Patron of the League.

The Victorian Governor HE the Hon Linda Dessau AC term has been extended until 2023 and will continue as our Victorian Patron.

Ron Williamson retired as Secretary at the end of the year he was thanked for his significant contribution during his four-year tenure as Branch Secretary and Council recorded appreciation for his amazing efforts.

Mr Tony McNally retired from Council after serving for 14 years and was thanked profusely for his contribution particularly with matters concerning the Arts. Mrs. Christine Thompson, Mr John Clark, Ms Anastasia Malishev and Mr Mark Trayling were welcomed on to Council.

The new British High Commissioner HE Ms Vicki Treadell CMG MVO was officially welcomed to Melbourne in March.

Two members who contributed significantly died during the year, John Bird partner of Vice-President Jane Teasdale and Mrs Betty Lynch OAM.

Council Member Dr Eamonn Kelly and his wife had a baby son, Henry, in September.

A few Council Members attended the ESU Centenary Luncheon in Ascot Vale Our founder Sir Evelyn Wrench also founded the ESU.


Selwyn College Principal Dr. Vunagi was appointed as the new Governor-General of the Solomon Islands now HE The Rt. Rev. Sir David Vunagi GCMG. Deputy President Christine Chamberlain has kept in touch with Selwyn College during the year.


Members attended Evita at the State Theatre with Tina Arena playing Eva Peron and Barnum with Todd McKenny in the lead role at the Comedy Theatre and Dame Edna My Gorgeous Life at the State Theatre with Barry Humphries assisting. Downton Abbey the film was also attended by several members at the Cinema Como in September.

A luncheon with Lady Potter as Guest Speaker was held at William Angliss Restaurant. The subject of her address was “People I have sat next to”. § Reported as ‘the nicest lunch experienced at this venue’ – food, ambience, relaxed atmosphere, and efficient staff. Lady Potter’s involvement with the Solomon Islands was also noted and her recent visit when she made a point of visiting, informally, Selwyn College.

Kenneth Park gave a fascinating address on Royal Portraits at the Old Treasury Building in April and this preceded the visit to the Bendigo Art Gallery in June to see the Tudors to Windsors Royal Portraits Exhibition followed by lunch at the Sandhurst Club. A magnificent exhibition that was enjoyed by all who attended.


Christmas reception held on 12 December was enhanced by Pipe Major Andrew Spierings who regaled the guests with appropriate tunes on his bagpipes. Chris and Polly Holtby were generous hosts and the day was fine and guests made the most of the garden. Three hampers were raffled and Edwina Hunt once again did a great job with the food and refreshments.


The Annual Australia Day Dinner organised by the Australia Day Council Victoria took place at the Melbourne Club last year on 24 January with Mrs Susan Alberti AM as Guest speaker. A fine night was enjoyed by all who attended.

AGM 2019

The AGM preceded the Victoria Dinner on May 24 which celebrated the 200th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Victoria at the Lyceum Club thanks to Jan Williamson. Kenneth Park presented a highly informative and interesting slide show featuring the young Princess Victoria through to her time as Monarch. When she died Queen Victoria was the longest serving monarch in British history. Guests included the President of the WA Branch, the Secretary of the NSW Branch and the President of the Queensland Branch. The Lyceum Club was thanked for their professionalism, their food and beverage and their attention to detail. The Secretary provided a first-class menu and souvenir programme for the evening.

Council of British and Commonwealth Societies

Mr Graham Menzies was thanked at a luncheon at the Melbourne Club in November for his 55 years’ service as Honorary Treasurer to the CBCS and presented with an engraved Decanter. The Council of British and Commonwealth Societies held the annual Commonwealth Day Dinner at the Gables in East Malvern and special guest was Mr. Reg Hodgson Consul General for Solomon Island and Fiji. I was pleased to propose the vote of thanks to him, especially following our involvement with the Solomon Islands.

The annual Queen’s birthday church service was held at St Georges Anglican Church in Malvern on 2 June and was well attended with the usual procession of banners, magnificent hymns and a stirring rendition of God Save the Queen. Following morning tea many went to the Malvern Vale Hotel and enjoyed a delightful luncheon.

I as President of the ROSL succeeded Rob Furlan President ESU as Chairman of the CBCS.

An Office-Bearers function was held at the British Consul-Generals Office on 11 December for representatives of the 15 affiliated organisations.

Julie Sattler and Patricia McKendrick continue to serve as our delegates to the CBCS.

Club Liaison

The League sends 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 attentiveness in auditing our accounts.

My thanks to Deputy President Christine Chamberlain for the time that she gives to the League and to Vice-Presidents Jean Black, John Short and Jane Teasdale for all they do for the League.

Thank you to Jean for convening the Social Committee supported by 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 in the office during the year.

Special thanks to our retiring Secretary Ron Williamson and welcome to new Secretary Keir Watt.

I would finally like to acknowledge the retiring Director-General Diana Owen OBE for her interest.

This is the Annual Report of the Victorian Branch for 2019.