Britain–Australia Society

The Britain–Australia Society was established in 1971 as a friendship society to promote historic links between the United Kingdom and Australia. It has headquarters in the Australia Centre within Australia House in London and branches throughout the United Kingdom.


Britons and Australians share a rich heritage of family ties, history, culture, language, sport and business. In 1971 Sir Robert Menzies and Sir Alec Douglas-Home, former Prime Ministers of Australia and the United Kingdom, re-founded the pre-existing Australia Club to form two sister societies based in the United Kingdom and Australia in order to recognise the value of a continuing cultural exchange between the two countries. Despite being founded by two former politicians, the societies are apolitical and non-commercial.


The aims of the Britain–Australia Society are to:

The society provides a comfortable and welcoming forum in which talented youth of both nations are introduced to influential diplomatic and commercial circles to contribute to their personal and professional development.


Branches are maintained in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Leicestershire, Lincoln, Portsmouth and the West Country. Regional functions are held by these branches in addition to centrally-organised activities.


Annual events usually include a Summer Reception, a Garden Party at the residence of His Excellency the High Commissioner and an after-hours visit to the Tower of London.

Other events have included tutored wine tastings, theatre evenings, cocktail parties, and presentations from noted diplomats and experts.

The West Country branch arranges a number of regional events, including a prestigious annual service of remembrance and lunch in Bath honouring the memory of Admiral Arthur Phillip.

A number of ticket ballots and auctions take place for, e.g., tickets to the Wimbledon Championships and flights to Australia.


The Society grants an occasional Britain-Australia Society Award to recognise a person who has demonstrated a long-term contribution to relations between the United Kingdom and Australia. Past recipients have been Barry Humphries, Lord Hague, Kylie Minogue and David Attenborough.


The Patron of the Society is The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO GBE ONZ QSO AK GCL CC CMM

The President is The Rt Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond (the founding President was The Lord Carrington KG GCMG CH MC PC)

The Chairman is Damian Walsh

The Vice-Chairman is Neil Redcliffe

Vice Presidents:

Honorary Vice-Presidents:

Board of Management

  • Mr Damian Walsh – Chairman
  • Mr Neil Redcliffe – Deputy Chairman
  • Mr Hari Iyer - Company Secretary
  • Mr Matt Anderson PSM – Deputy High Commissioner (ex-officio)
  • Ms Julianne Davis
  • Mr James Mraz - Deputy Agent-General for South Australia (ex-officio)
  • Mr Keith Newton – Chairman West Country Branch
  • Mr Ken Ryan – Agent General for Victoria (ex-officio)
  • Mr Peter Sargent
  • Mr Edwin Wong

The Administrative, Membership & Events Executive is Ms Marina Kinsman

The Honorary Chaplain of the Society is George Bush, Rector of St Mary le Bow church.


As a non-commercial society, administration and events are funded by membership subscriptions, management fees and corporate sponsors, including Australian Government agencies and businesses and organisations with an Australian interest in the United Kingdom or a British interest in Australia.


  • Four Charitable Trusts are maintained by the society:
    • The Britain–Australia Society Educational Trust provides sponsorship for young people of both countries, particularly for skills exchange.
    • The Northcote Trust funds postgraduate scholarships to Australia.
    • The Friends of the University of Sydney UK Trust engages UK Alumni of the University.
  • The Cook Society was founded in 1969 on the initiative of Prime Ministers Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Sir Robert Menzies, with the aim of promoting British-Australian relations at a high level. It has counterparts in Australian States with which it is in constant touch. Membership of the Society in Britain is limited to 100, excluding Honorary members, and represents a wide range of national interests including senior business and professional people, politicians, civil servants and academics. Membership is by invitation only. The B-AS administers the Cook Society and shares some events.
  • Australia-Britain Society members have reciprocal rights when in Britain, and vice versa.
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