• New British HC to Australia

    New British HC to Australia

    2nd March 2015
    6:00pm to 8:00pm


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    The designate British High Commissioner to Australia, Ms Menna Rawlings CMG, will be assuming the office from our friend His Excellency Paul Madden CMG in April.

    The Britain-Australia Society is delighted to hold a reception with the gracious assistance of the Australian High Commission in the Downer Room of Australia House to send Ms Rawlings off in style and with our best wishes. We will have refreshments and an excellent musical accompaniment by Australian Mezzo-Soprano Bronwen Stephens with Pianist Chad Vindin.

    This will follow the AGM of the Britain-Australia Society which is at at 4:00pm in the Australia Centre
    (Melbourne Place – see map below).

    Ms Rawlings joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989 and has served in a wide range of Diplomatic Service roles. She was most recently a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Management Board as HR Director. This followed postings to Washington DC, Ghana, Israel, Kenya and Brussels. In London, she has served as Private Secretary to the Permanent Under Secretary as well as in the Press Office and the Africa and European Union Directorates.

    On her appointment as British High Commissioner to the Australia, Mrs Rawlings has said:
    “I am honoured and delighted to have been appointed as British High Commissioner to Australia. This is one of our most important bilateral relationships, reflecting our shared values, history, culture, mutual affection and respect. I look forward to building on that, delivering concrete outcomes that support prosperity and security in our two countries.”


    Bronwen Stephens studied at the Adelaide Conservatory of Music and was a member of the acclaimed Adelaide Youth Choir. After a corporate career she studied with Professor Neil Baker, graduating from Morley College London and being accepted onto the ENO ‘The Works’ program where she worked with the acclaimed Wagnerian mezzo-soprano Leanne Keegan.

    Bronwen’s many opera roles include ‘Idamante’ in Mozart’s Idomeneo, ‘The Secretary’ in Menotti’s The Counsel, ‘Dido’ in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, ‘Mercedes’ for the New London Opera Players on tour and ‘Mistress of the Novices’ in Puccini’s Sour Angelica for Co-Opera. She was the Alto Soloist for several performances of Handel’s Messiah last year. She has sung in Masterclasses with Sally Burgess, Toby Spence, Wendy Dawn Thompson and Quentin Hayes, was a member of the London Philharmonic Choir and the Voce Chamber Choir. Bronwen is also Artistic Director of Rogue Opera.

    She will soon appear as Carmen, and ‘Flora/Annina’ for the New London Opera Players and will debut the role of ‘Germont’ in Secret Opera’s “The Trousered Traviata”, then going on tour.

    Chad Vindin won the accompanist prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Competition at the Wigmore Hall and the Ludmilla Andrew Russian Song Accompanist Prize at the Royal Academy of Music. He has also performed throughout London and Norway with his chamber group, Trio SOL.

    Chad recently finished his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Michael Dussek and Malcolm Martineau and is the Lord & Lady Lurgan Junior Fellow in Accompaniment at the Royal College of Music.

    A long collaboration with Morgan Pearse (baritone) recently culminated in accompanying Morgan’s gold-medal winning performance at the Royal Overseas League Competition and the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.

    Chad is a founding member of the Sydney Chamber Opera Company and performed with OperaUpClose in their Olivier Award-winning production of La Bohème. As an avid orchestral musician he has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Sinfonia’s Education and Discovery Programs, and performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival in August.

    This event is kindly supported by The Australian High Commission



    and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia



    Photo credits: FCO


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    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.