Thursday, 5 April 2012

New list for papers of Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee archive collection

The papers of the Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee (BABC) (ICS144) have recently been listed, thank to the work of a volunteer, George Brierley, currently working with Institute of Commonwealth Studies archive collections.
The Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee was set up in 1984 by the British Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to supervise the British involvement in the Australian Bicentennial. It was chaired by Sir Peter Gadsden. In 1985 the Britain Australia Bicentennial Trust was set up to deal with the public money raised, at this time the BABC also set up a number of National Task subcommittees and regional subcommittees. One of the tasks of the BABC was to make a recommendation for the UK gift to Australia for the Bicentennial. Several ideas were put forward for consideration, notably a re-enactment of the voyage of the First Fleet under Admiral Arthur Philip, This was decided against, although the re-enactment fleet did sail from the Isle of Wight, 13 May 1987 and arrived in Australia 26 Jan 1988, without the support of the BABC. The UK gift to Australia was eventually decided on as the sail training schooner STS Young Endeavour, proposed by Arthur Weller. The building of STS Young Endeavour, was supervised by the Schooner Trust, supervised by Weller. The Bicentennial events in the UK were widespread including balls, banquets and church services, notably at Westminster Abbey led by Archbishop Robert Runcie, 14 Jul 1988.

The papers of the Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee (BABC), 1984-1990, including papers relating to the setting up of the BABC; financial papers; steering committee papers including early minutes; agendas and minutes for BABC meetings 1985-1988; weekly reports of the Executive Secretary; and newsletters, 1986-1988 with related papers and correspondence. Also included are papers of National Task subcommittees including the Agricultural Subcommittee; the Education Subcommittee; Science, Technology, Industry and Medicine Subcommittee; the Social Subcommittee and the Maritime Subcommittee including a proposal for the gift of a schooner, by Arthur Weller, 1985, minutes of the Schooner Trust and proposal for the First Fleet re-enactment. Papers of regional committees include the City of London committee; Bath and West Country committee including on a proposal for an Australian Centre in Admiral Arthur Philip's dwelling house in Bath; East Anglia committee, including correspondence on George Eve; Midlands committee; North East committee including on a Civic Service in Newcastle Cathedral, 1987; Northern Ireland committee; Lincoln committee, including on the Britain Australia Studies association national conference 'Australia Towards 2000', Jul 1988; Liverpool committee, including exhibition Leaving Liverpool on emigration from Merseyside; Whitby committee and Scotland committee. File of papers on other events include papers relating to a Bicentennial service held at Westminster Abby, 14 Jul 1988 including an agreement made with Archbishop Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie to preach at the service and draft of the service with notations; and papers regarding a banquet at Guildhall, London; an exhibition to be held at the British Museum (Natural History) entitled 'First Impressions: the British discovery of Australia', 1988 and the Mansion House Hawke dinner, 21 Jun 1989.

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