The Gala Dinner 2007

This year we celebrated 100 summers of Australian surf lifesaving at our Australia Day Gala Dinner on 20 January. With Pied-a-Terre’s Michelin star chef Shane Osborn in the kitchen and cabaret legend Robyn Archer with pianist Paul Grabowsky on the stage, our guests were in for a memorable night.

The Theme

Year of the Surf Lifesaver

In 2007 we celebrated 100 summers of Australian surf lifesaving. Today there are 303 surf lifesaving clubs in Australia patrolling over 400 beaches and the SLSA is one of the largest volunteer organisations in the world. In 1952 Australian surf lifesaving methods were introduced to English beaches in 1952.

The Chef

Pied-a-Terre’s Michelin star Australian chef Shane Osborn created a stunning menu inspired by the flavours of his early days of cooking in Perth including his signature chilled pumpkin & ginger soup, and the main course was Australian beef. Hardys premium Australian wines accompanied Shane’s menu.

The Entertainment

Australia’s internationally famous cabaret legend and songwriter Robyn Archer gave a dazzling performance accompanied by brilliant pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky. We also welcomed to the stage Mezzo-Soprano Cate Barr, Baritone Leslie Flanagan and talented pop-violinist Sophie Sarfino.

The Award Winners

Sir Charles Mackerras, CH, AC, CBE

Australian of the Year in the UK

Sir Charles Mackerras is undoubtedly the most distinguished Australian musician in Britain today. It is in recognition of his international achievements and lifelong service to music, that we were proud to present him with the Australian of the Year in the UK award 2007.

Sir Charles began his musical career at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music studying piano, oboe and composition. After moving to the UK in 1946 he won a British Council Scholarship, enabling him to study conducting at the Prague Academy of Music and so begin a life-long association with Czech music. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and was awarded the Medal of Merit from the Czech Republic in 1966. Returning to England in 1948, Sir Charles began working with Sadler’s Wells Opera, now the English National Opera, remaining on the company’s conducting staff until 1954. After two years as principal conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the mid-fifties, he guest conducted orchestras in Britain and Europe, including his first of many appearances at Covent Garden in 1963. Ten years later Sir Charles returned to Australia to conduct the inaugural concert of the new Sydney Opera House. Throughout his musical career, he has conducted at the Welsh National Opera, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera. Sir Charles received a CBE in 1974, was knighted in 1979 and made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1977. In 2005 at the age of 80, Sir Charles was the first recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Music.

Lloyd Dorfman

Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK

With his vigour and determination, his business involvement in Australia and his support for the Australian Cricket Team, the Australia Day Foundation considers Lloyd Dorfman a worthy recipient of the 2007 Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK award.

Dorfman is the Chairman and Chief Executive of Travelex, the world’s largest foreign exchange specialist with 93 shops in airports around the world. After reading for the bar, he joined a merchant bank and in 1976 at the age of 24 opened his first foreign exchange shop in central London. Dorfman’s association with Australia began in 1989 when his idea of putting foreign exchange units in domestic terminals resulted in a deal with Ansett. Australia is now Travelex’s third biggest international market. Dorfman credits his use of sponsorship as a factor in his success and in 2001 he signed a five year, multi-million-pound sponsorship of the Australian cricket team. When Cricket Australia wanted an event partner who would donate millions of dollars to sponsor the Tsunami aid world cricket match of the MCG, Dorfman agreed to be that partner. In 2001 Dorfman was named the UK Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2002 won the British American Chamber of Commerce’s UK Entrepreneurial Award. He is a patron and Deputy Chairman of the Prince’s Trust Development Board and an Honorary Fellow of St. Peter’s College, Oxford.

Joe Roff

Young Australian Achiever of the year in the UK

This award was given to Wallabies Legend Joe Roff in recognition of his dedication to Australian Rugby and his outstanding career achievements.

Roff is currently reading a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. His career as an outstanding, world-class Australian Rugby Union footballer began in Canberra with the ACT Brumbies. Having developed his rugby skills at school he continued to hone these skills to the point where he became one of Australia’s most outstanding rugby legends and one of the world’s best-attacking wingers. Roff’s record includes 86 Super 12 Caps, 95 State Caps and 84 test Caps for Australia. He became Super 12’s all-time leading try-scorer and, with 27 test tries, is currently third on the Wallabies’ greatest test try scorers count. He scored an impressive 221 test points in Australia. Roff retired at the end of the 2004 Wallabies test series. His farewell from Super 12 rugby was memorable because the Brumbies won the Super 12 competition that season. In 2006 Roff moved to the UK to begin his studies at Oxford where he played amateur rugby, representing the Oxford Rugby Football Club, affectionately known as the Dark Blues, in their traditional fixture against Cambridge University at Twickenham Stadium on 12 December 2006.