14th August, 2011

Brisbane Gala Luncheon

The Australian Ireland Fund Gala Luncheon took place on Sunday 14 August 2011 at Hillstone St. Lucia, overlooking the scenic St. Lucia Golf Links, a wonderful backdrop for Brisbane’s top corporates, the Brisbane Irish Community and also some of our Brisbane regulars and their friends and family to enjoy the welcome drinks and canapés on the terrace.

Guests were treated to an Irish ‘dance-off’ between two very talented members of Queensland's newest dance sensation Red Hot Rhythm, finalists on Australia’s Got Talent 2009.

Australian Ireland Fund Director, Sallyanne Atkinson AO was the luncheon chair and Master of Ceremonies for the day. Special guests on the day also included Chairman Alan Joyce,  Brett Chenoweth Chief Executive Officer of the APN News & Media, Former Ambassador of Ireland to Australia Richard O’Brien, Australian Ireland Fund Directors Tom Moore and Peter Ryan and Executive Director Teresa Keating.

The Chairman took this opportunity to thank Corporate sponsors Qantas; APN News & Media and  Australian Radio Network along with our other very generous sponsors who without their invaluable contributions, the Australian Ireland Fund would not be able to support such a wide range of deserving initiatives in Ireland and Australia.

The Chairman provided an update on the activities of the Australian Ireland Fund and the projects of integrated education we are supporting in Northern Ireland. He spoke of the Fund supporting two more integrated schools that are helping build bridges, promote tolerance and provide a rounded education for children in Northern Ireland, Forge Integrated Primary School in Belfast and Glengormley Integrated Primary School. The Fund approved a further seven grants for a series of initiatives focused on supporting, mentoring and engaging young people and families.   From Habitat for Humanity to The Star ABC boxing club in Belfast, what all these organisations have in common is a determination to provide alternatives to conflict, mistrust and anti-social behaviour.

The Chairman also highlighted the Funds other Australian projects, in association with Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, headed by Mr. Andrew Penfold, providing quality education for disadvantaged indigenous young Australians through scholarships at a number of leading schools. This event directly supported our indigenous scholarships at Queensland’s Marist College Ashgrove and St. Peter’s Lutheran College which is a five year commitment we have given with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, to both of those schools.

One of the highlights of the day was hearing from two students of Marist College Ashgrove, Nathan Bassani and Jerome Pang, and their journey towards where they are now.  Our guests thoroughly enjoyed hearing from them.

Guests were entertained by Súnas, a fiery four-piece Celtic band featuring multi-instrumentalists and exquisite four-part vocal harmonies. They played a unique and unforgettable blend of original, contemporary and traditional tunes and songs.

The Live auction was conducted by Bruce Smith from Ray White Real Estate. Thank you to our major sponsors: Qantas, APN News & Media, Australian Radio Network, Hyatt Regency Collum, Tourism Ireland, Avis, Sean Prendergast and Briege Tuite.

Guests then relaxed with dessert and Irish coffees and again enjoyed the music of Súnas  as they stayed on to mingle and enjoy the atmosphere of such a great day. 

Thank you to our table captains and sponsors, quite simply our work would not be possible without your help.