President's Report


This will be my final President’s Report for the Victorian Branch of the Royal Over-Seas League as I will be stepping down at the Annual General Meeting in May.

It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the League as President succeeding Professor Eric Glasgow AO after his untimely death in 2001. Eric had invited me on to Council in 1994 as Deputy President and I enjoyed working with him and the many members of Council over the years.

I was fortunate to have Coral Strahan as Secretary for many years and enjoyed working with her. Getting her to London was a major achievement and then subsequent visits were successful especially the 2010 and 2012 visits for the Centenary of the ROSL and the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

Ron Williamson followed Coral and did a sterling job and now Keir Watt is doing a great job as Secretary.

Jean Black is the only person who has been on Council longer than me and she has contributed significantly to the success of the Branch. I particularly acknowledge John Short for his great work as Treasurer and Christine Chamberlain for the massive Development Project in the Solomon Islands.

Thank you to other Councillors both past and present for their support and hard work, I have endeavoured to encourage diversity on Council and we have a great team at the moment.

I also want to pay tribute to Bob Newell who was Director-General for 20 Years until 2011 and General Manager for 12 years before that, his encouragement of Australian Branches was an inspiration and his advice and support greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your support and continuing membership of the League.


Steph Lysaght, British Consul-General, kindly hosted the Branch Christmas Reception last December and members and guests appreciated the opportunity to get to a function after Covid 19 restrictions were eased. Raffle hampers were won by Ron Williamson and Andrew Neilson. Frances Nicholls had celebrated her 101st birthday and Di and Lino Bresciani had offered their home for an exhibition of Di’s paintings before they go to London. A very pleasant evening in the garden and house was enjoyed by all, especially when Andrew Spierings was playing the pipes.


6 February was commemorated with two church services in Melbourne. All Saints’ Church in East St. Kilda had a magnificent service beginning with the Organ Prelude Crown Imperial by William Walton followed by the choir singing I was glad by Hubert Parry later there was O clap your hands by Orlando Gibbons, Te Deum by Ralph Vaughan Williams and All People that on Earth do dwell to Vaughan Williams setting from the Old Hundredth specially prepared for the Queen’s Coronation. Lessons were read by the Deputy British Consul-General and President of the Royal Commonwealth Society. A wonderful tribute was paid to Her Majesty by Bishop David Farrer when he delivered the Sermon. Archbishop Philip Freier delivered the Solemn Blessing and the organ postlude was Handel’s Water Music Suite No. 2. Following the service a very pleasant Reception was held at St Michael’s Grammar School and God Save the Queen was sung.

St. Paul’s Cathedral also had an Evensong service with Her Excellency The Governor of Victoria.


30 Members and friends greatly enjoyed the performance of Moulin Rouge at the Regent Theatre in Collins Street. Great acting, dancing and singing provided entertainment that raised the spirits and encouraged everyone to think of life after Covid 19.


I was delighted to receive an invitation to Government House to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. The Governor had some marvellous words to say about the service The Queen had given Australia, the Commonwealth and the World. Good to see former Governor-General Peter Hollingworth there as well as former Premiers Jeff Kennett and Ted Baillieu and former Governors David de Kretser and Alex Chernov as well as the  Anglican and Catholic Archbishops. Representatives from various organisations enjoyed exploring Government House.