President's Report - July 2008

Greetings All,

On Saturday 12 July we held our annual Bastille Day dinner in the dining room of the historic Kurrajong Hotel, attended by some 20 members. Completed in 1926, the Kurrajong quickly became the favoured accommodation for Labor Party politicians, including Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who preferred it to living in the Lodge. Chifley lived at the Kurrajong from 1940 until his death of a heart attack in his hotel room on 13 June 1951.

But back to our dinner! We played a recording of La Marsellaise, and sang it very badly, not helped by few knowing the words except for the chorus. Next year we promise to do better!! The venue was terrific (we were the only dinner guests on the night), but some of us were a little disappointed with the food. I should point out that the Kurrajong also operates as the Australian International Hotel School, so maybe the chef had an L-plate around his neck that night. However, good company, good wine and the ambience of the Kurrajong more than made up for the imperfect food.

As usual, I also represented the club at the Bastille luncheon held in the grounds of the French Embassy on Monday 14 July (the real Bastille Day). Unlike last year, the French car clubs were not invited to display cars, but the perfect weather more than compensated for such disappointment - reaching a maximum of 17 degrees, it was one of the warmest Canberra July days on record. Good froggy food and wine topped it off as the French and Australian national anthems were played by the band of the Duntroon military college.

Walking back through the foyer of the embassy I could not help noticing the maps on the wall. One, dating from 1808, showed the coastline of South Australia as mapped by the French navigators, Nicolas Baudin and Louis de Freycinet. Gulf of St Vincent was named Bonaparte and Spencers Gulf named Josephine, and while these names never survived there are many other coastal features with surviving French names along the South Australian and southern WA coasts. Meanwhile 200 years later, who knows how many Pugs would be in Australia in 2008 had the French followed up their early explorations with colonisation!

There will be no club meeting this month, so our next meeting will be on Tuesday 26 August at the Canberra Services Club.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad