The rich history and cultural ties between Western Australia and the United Kingdom have long been recognised through this office. In fact, the Agent General Act 1895 was the enabling legislation in Western Australia for the purposes of regulating the appointment and tenure of the office of Agent General. Since this time, the position of Agent General has played an important role in commemorating and celebrating the longstanding relationship between Western Australia and the United Kingdom.
A highlight of the quarter was the WA Day Commemorative Service held at the King’s Chapel of the Savoy on Monday 5 June. This annual service brought together WA diaspora in the United Kingdom, visitors from WA, and key stakeholders with interests in WA. The service was presided over by Cannon Thomas Woodhouse and readings were given by Ms Claire Toms of the London Office and the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Hon Stephen Smith.
Professor Lyndon da Cruz provided an insightful address on the strength of Western Australia’s biomedical research and medicine sectors including the outstanding capability of leading Western Australia researchers who have driven global advances in improved health and wellbeing outcomes.Through his address, Professor da Cruz shared the opportunity that Western Australia had afforded him, through the excellence in innovation and research provided by the various institutions across Western Australia, including but not limited to, Telethon and the Lions Eye Institute. With the resounding excellence demonstrated by Professor da Cruz, it is no wonder that he received the award of Australian of the Year in the UK in 2020.
The Western Australian Government Office has held longstanding connections with the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, the retirement and nursing home of some 300 veterans of the British army. Following the presentation of the Christmas Cake to these veterans in December 2022, the Agent General was invited to observe the Founders Day ceremony and partake in celebrations of the founding of the Royal Hospital by King Charles II back in 1692. Such an event reminds us of the deep connections between our jurisdictions underpinned by commitment to service and nation.
Our connections to Western Australia and the Western Australian diaspora in the United Kingdom are critically important to us and it is our diaspora who are informal ambassadors and advocates for our State. This quarter we welcomed the Government Architect of Western Australia, Ms Rebecca Moore to the office as she addressed UWA alumni on the significant developments in Western Australia, brought about through the Perth City Deal projects, METRONET and temporary amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005. Planning and development was also a theme for the Hale Old Boys, who we also welcomed into the Office to coincide with the Hale Principal’s visit to the United Kingdom. Despite the miles, there was a resounding sense of pride and connection to Western Australia in WAGO’s Wadjemup room in Australia Centre, London through these events.