The Qantas Australia Day Gala Dinner 2016 was held on 23 January at Australia House. The leading lights of the UK Australian community gathered to celebrate Australia's sophisticated coffee culture. The menu was designed by Rockpool's Neil Perry AM and entertainment came from Australian hit-making sister act The Veronicas.
Australian coffee culture
The ever-increasing number of independently owned Australian coffee shops in the UK is evidence that we Aussies want to share our unique and very refined coffee culture and sophisticated café scene with the world. Some would go so far as to say that the ‘flat white’ is now one of the greatest cultural exports of Australia!
With thanks to Qantas, this year’s guests were treated to a fantastic four-course menu designed by Neil Perry AM featuring featuring a glorious slow cooked duck. Perry is Director of The Rockpool Group and one of Australia’s leading and most influentials chefs. The accompanying wines came from Hardys, the producers of some of Australia's finest wines.
Following sell-out performances across the USA, Asia, Europe and Australia, The Veronicas made their long-awaited return to the UK to play at the 2016 Qantas Australia Day Gala Dinner. The pop duo from Brisbane is one of Australia's premier live acts and the hitmakers behind the ARIA Award-winning 'You Ruin Me', 'Untouched' and '4ever'.
The Award Winners
Sir Lynton Crosby AO
Australian of the Year in the UK
Sir Lynton Crosby is one of the world’s top campaign and organisation specialists whose expertise is regularly sought by leading political and corporate figures across the globe. He received a Knighthood earlier this year and has been awarded 2016 Australian of the Year in the UK in recognition of his outstanding achievements here in Britain.
One of the most influential figures in Australian politics, Sir Lynton has a reputation in the UK as a brilliant campaign manager and strategist. He directed the Conservative Party 2005 General Election campaign and was credited for Boris Johnson’s successes in the 2008 and 2012 London Mayoral campaigns. His most renowned success was last year when he steered the Conservative Party to a historic election victory. Sir Lynton is a Patron of the Patchwork Foundation, encouraging young people from underrepresented communities to engage in politics, and a supporter of the Beanstalk Charity, which provides literacy support to children from deprived areas of the UK.
Rick Stein OBE
Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK
Rick Stein, award-winning English chef, restaurateur, author and TV presenter, has been a passionate promoter of Australian food and culture for many years. In recognition of this, The Australia Day Foundation has awarded him 2016 Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK.
Stein’s illustrious career began with the opening of a small harbour-side bistro in Padstow, Cornwall, where he had spent his childhood summers. Forty years on The Seafood Restaurant is the backbone of a business that includes 10 restaurants, a cookery school and a hotel. His impact on the West Country tourism economy has been so great that he was awarded the OBE in 2003. In his television programme A cook abroad: Rick Stein’s Australia, Stein showcased some of Australia’s greatest local produce to the world. Inspired by his first visit to our country, he opened Rick Stein at Bannisters in Mollymook NSW in 2009, and such is his passion for Australia that he now splits his time between Sydney and the UK. A committed humanitarian, Stein is the patron of four charities; Dyslexia Research Trust, The National Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen, National Coastwatch Institution and The National Trust.
Young Australian Achiever of the year in the UK
Sydney born Amy Dickson is one of the most exciting saxophonists of her generation and we were delighted to recognise her talent and success with this award.
Twice Grammy-nominated Dickson made history as the first saxophonist and Australian to win a Classic Brit Award as 2013 Breakthrough Artist of the Year. After making her first recording as soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at age 18 she moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music, and then at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Her major awards and competition wins include James Fairfax Australian Young Artist of the Year, the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Competition, the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year and the Prince’s Prize. Dickson has performed throughout the world with many of the great orchestras. Last year she toured the UK and performed in Berlin, Tokyo, Sydney, Canberra and Cincinnati before making her debut at Latitude Festival. Amy is deeply committed to the development of new repertoire for the saxophone having already made a significant contribution to the instrument’s legacy. She is a proud ambassador of the Australian Children’s Music Foundation and the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.