AHK Event Report: Gala Dinner 2018

Following the Australia-Germany Business Summit, the German-Australian Chamber’s Annual Gala Dinner took place at the beautiful Park Hyatt Ballroom.

Members and friends of the Chamber as well as conference delegates first enjoyed some pre-dinner drinks with the opportunity to have their photos taken. After an hour of networking and reflecting on the busy conference day, the Gala Dinner was officially opened by the MC of the evening, Rafael Epstein. Rafael is a long-time ABC journalist and host of the successful “Drive” show on ABC radio Melbourne.

We are delighted that Andrew Mackenzie, Honorary President of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and CEO of BHP, was able to attend our Gala Dinner, delivering a warm welcome to our members and conference delegates. His remarks in regards to the importance of Free Trade and Investment, and especially the support of the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement, were greatly appreciated by the international audience.

 After the entrée, the Chamber’s Chairman of the Board Jeff Connolly, CEO & Chairman at Siemens Ltd, delivered a short address, focussing on the importance of the strong German Australian relationship, and especially the progress against the 59 recommendations to broaden, deepen and strengthen the partnership even further.

 The last speech of the night was delivered by Brendon Green, State Manager for Victoria and South Australia at HSBC Australia. We would like to thank Brendon and the HSBC team very kindly for their generous support of the Gala Dinner.

We were delighted to present the Walsh quartet from the Australian National Academy of Music to perform Beethoven String Quartet No.4, 1st movement. After this outstanding classical performance by the young musicians, guests enjoyed their main course.

It was then time for some light entertainment and relaxation: Rafael Epstein declared the dancefloor, as well as the Gin & Schnapps bar open – much to the delight of our guests.

Our band for the evening, Popcorn, featured the amazing trio of Julie Walter, Rhys Warden and David Van Elst who have been playing in some of Australia’s best concert touring bands over many years. They delivered a great range of songs from past to present and we were happy to see that so many of our Gala Dinner attendees followed our invitation to “put their dancing shoes on!”

We think it’s fair to say that the Gin & Schnapps bar was the highlight of the evening. Kindly hosted by Wildbrumby, we would like to thank Sebastian Drüge who travelled from the Snowy Mountains to provide our guests with a taste of Europe, by serving some of their award-winning schnapps and gin. It seemed the queue was never ending!

Having said that - for Justin Port, Operations Manager at Centric PA, the highlight of the night was most likely the Business card raffle which was presented by Alexandra Voss, Executive Director of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Alexandra Piskar from Qatar Airways. The lucky winner was presented with a voucher for two economy flights to Europe with Qatar Airways.
We would like to thank Qatar for this very generous raffle donation and we hope Justin will have a great trip to Europe!

We thank our speakers, sponsors & of course our guests, including H.E. Dr Anna Prinz, German Ambassador to Australia and Volkmar Klein, Member of Deutscher Bundestag for making this event a successful one.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at next year’s Gala Dinner.