The ninth gala dinner in Melbourne to commemorate the Polish Constitution of 3 May 1791 at The Hotel Windsor on Monday 3 May 2010 was also an opportunity to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth. Renowned Australian pianist Roger Woodward AC OBE OM was guest of honour and speaker and artist.
The evening commenced with a message from the Prime Minister, delivered by Senator Annette Hurley.
His Excellency Andrzej Jaroszyński, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Australia, on behalf of the Republic of Poland, bestowed upon Mr Tony Macken, a Melbourne lawyer and President of the Australian Association of the Order of Malta, the Knights Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
The decree authorising the award had been signed by the late President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczynski on 6 April 2010, four days before the late President’s tragic death in an air crash on 10 April 2010.
In presenting the award the Polish Ambassador referred to the aid given to members of the Solidarity Movement exiled in Australia by the declaration of Martial Law in Poland in 1981, to Mr Macken’s role in 1992 in organising a delegation of 40 Australian Judges, Commissioners, Academics and Civil Servants to participate with their Polish counterparts in seminars in Warsaw and Krakow and to the assistance given by Mr Macken to the Polish community in Victoria in the promotion of the annual May 3 commemoration day dinners over the previous 9 years.
In accepting the Knights Cross of the Order of Merit Mr Macken said his hope belief and prayer was that despite the tragic losses of April 10 Poland would prosper always.
The guest of honour and speaker and artist was Roger Woodward AC OBE OM. Professor Woodward gave a very moving performance. The guests in the grand dining hall were still and mesmerised as the selected program was beautifully sombre and reflective as all present were mindful of the tragic events in Smolensk just weeks earlier.
After the main course was served, Professor Woodward gave an engaging address and reflective of his studies in Poland and subsequent involvement with Polonia.
The committee: Fr. Wieslaw Slowik, Dr Wlodzimierz Wnuk and Teresa Kaminska.
The committee is grateful and appreciative of the assistance of Mrs Maria Zycinska,
Mrs Bogusia Bliszczyk and Mr Christopher Lancucki.
We especially thank on behalf of the Polish community Ashley Jewellers of Collins Street for their sponsorship of the artistic program card and the dinner and the annual sponsors Mr and Mrs Zbigniew and Teresa Zerger, Dr and Mrs Andrzej and Barbara Czepul and Mrs Maria Zycinska for their generosity and for continuing to sponsor this important event on the Victorian calendar annually.