Sunday, 25 January 2015: Australia Day celebrations! 

12noon - 5pm

Join us to celebrate Australia Day (a day early) on 25th January! This year, we will celebrate Australia Day with a traditional Aussie BBQ, in the presence of Ambassador Mark Higgie (see his New Year's message below).

The BBQ by The Drover will include meat (beef or chicken), potatoes and salads (please indicate if you would like the vegetarian option on your registration), with a special kids’ menu too. Aussie bubbles, wine, beer and soft drinks/juice will be on sale at a subsidised price.

Kids will enjoy the activities planned for them including drawing, face-painting and lots more! Many goodies are also to be won on the day from our raffle ticket prizes. So, adorn the green'n'gold with your Aussie cheer and join us to celebrate Australia Day!

Things you need to know…
De Bosuil (Jesus Eik)
Witherendreef 1
3090 Overijse

12noon – 5pm on Sunday, 25 January 2015
! Please note that there will be a last entry to the venue at 13:00, so we kindly request that you arrive before this time. 

Members: Non-Members:                                      
Adults €15 per person Adults €20 per person
Kids 5-12 years €7.50 (<5 years: free) Kids 5-12 years €10 (<5 years: free)                      

Membership to the Australia Society Belgium is only €20 for the entire family for the entire year:  

*Please pay in advance by making a direct transfer, based on the cost guide above, to:
Account name: The Australia Society
IBAN Number: BE08 2100 3695 3113
Description: "Australia Day for <enter your name(s)>"
(You can do membership and tickets in the same transfer and instantly apply the discount)

Please RSVP via the following registration link no later than Sunday, 18 January 2015

! Entry will be via prior registration only and registration will close once we meet capacity, so don’t hesitate to sign up!

Getting there…
Public Transport:
De Lijn buses (numbers 341, 344, 345, 348, 349) run from Hermann-Debroux metro stop (Brussels) and take approximately 10 minutes. It is the first bus stop once the bus exits the motorway (called Overijse Brug Autobaan or Overijse Meeusstraat, depending on which bus you take).

On the street near the cultural centre, but we advise you to get there on the early side, so as not to park too far away.

New Year's message from Ambassador Higgie

With 2014 coming to an end, Zoe and I would like to extend our warm greetings to you and your families.  The months have flown since we arrived in September and settled into life in the Belgian capital and work at the Embassy. The year has also been very busy for Australia internationally. It has chaired the G20 and continued its duties as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

The Embassy hosted many senior visitors from Australia in 2014, including the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), a parliamentary delegation, led by The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson and the European Australian Business Council. In the other direction, Australia received several high-level visitors from the EU. Of note were the new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the outgoing European Council President Herman Van Rompuy who attended the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane.

Last year commemorative activities became a major focus of our efforts here in Belgium with numerous events held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and the invasion of Belgium. The number of people attending our ANZAC Day program increased by 20-percent over 2013 with many members of the Australian community in Belgium joining us and the people of Flanders for remembrance ceremonies. The day is a time for Australians to reflect on the sacrifice and service of our military. In Belgium the commemorations have a special poignancy with over 12,500 Australians buried in the fields of Flanders. Of these, many died in the Third Battle of Ypres and its centenary will be a major focus in 2017. We hope you will join us for ANZAC Day 2015: details about the commemorations can be found on the embassy’s website.

Australian-based staff at the Embassy rotate regularly.  The weeks either side of New Year will see three key officers return to Australia and their successors arrive.  Departing are our Defence Attaché WGCDR Nathan Christie, First Secretary Melissa Halldorf and Second Secretary Susannah Hodson. We wish them all well for the future and welcome their successors.

The Australia Society has for many years actively brought together our community of expats in Brussels: work which the embassy warmly appreciates. We are all ambassadors for Australia in our own way and I am sure every member contributes to the positive way Australia is viewed abroad.

Zoe and I wish you all a happy Christmas and every success in 2015.  We are looking forward to meeting many of you at the Society’s Australia Day function on Sunday 25th January.

Mark Higgie