Australia Day Service and Luncheon

Australia Day Service and Luncheon

29th January 2017

The West Country Branch Australia Day Service will be held at Downside Abbey Somerset with a celebratory lunch on Sunday 29 January 2017.


Guest Speaker:  Lord Julian Fellowes the creator of “Downton Abbey”, “Gosford Park” and numerous other TV and Cinema masterpieces.

Downside Abbey and St Gregory’s Benedictine College have a very deep relationship with Australia, and in particular the establishment of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Father William Ullathorne, a Benedictine Monk from St Gregory’s Downside, was instrumental in the planning of the Catholic hierarchy in the colony of New South Wales, the first such establishment in the English-speaking world since Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534.

Father Ullathorne was appointed Vicar General of NSW, and soon after the Official Catholic Chaplin for the Colony. He arrived in Sydney in 1832 and realizing the need for a formal Church organisation in the vast land, worked to have a Bishop of Sydney appointed and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Australia established.

The first Bishop, later Archbishop of Sydney, Father John Bede Polding was also a Benedictine, from St Gregory’s who arrived in Australia 1842. He was followed as Archbishop in 1877 by another St Gregory’s Benedictine, Father Roger Bede Vaughan.

It is with this history, and knowledge of the special relationship between Downside Abbey in Somerset, and Australia, that the West Country Branch of the Britain-Australia Society is delighted to hold our 2017 Australia Day service and lunch at Downside.

10:00  – Abbey Church Service – including Prayer for Australia
11:00 – Tea and Coffee in the Weld Cafeteria, and welcome for those guests unable to attend the Abbey service
11:30 – Tour of the Abbey and Library
12:30 – Reception drinks in the Weld Cafeteria
1:00 – Lunch and Speeches
3:00 – End

RSVP to the West Country Branch with your payment by no later than Monday 23 January 2017.

Book here

Directions to the Abbey, and car parking:

Downside Abbey
Radstock, Somerset, BA3 4RJ
Tel: 01761 235100

From the A367 (Fosseway), take the turn off to the Abbey (Abbey Rd) Not the one signposted to the school.


Note all Britain-Australia Society members and their guests are able to attend Branch events.

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  • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
  • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
  • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
  • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
  • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
The Britain-Australia Society Sponsors

The organisations shown have all committed to supporting this year’s events. Many thanks to them.

Commonwealth Bank Australia, CPA AustraliaEtihadCA ANZ,
Godiva ChocolatierTait Memorial Trust and Vestey Foods Group.