WA Branch Newsletters

The Australia Britain Society Western Australia produce a quarterly NEWSGRAM and regular NEWS ALERTS to keep members informed of activities and relevant nNewsGramews.

Please contact the editor to request the latest copy:                        Evelyn:  (08) 9349 5043



From Inside WAAPA Issue 53 Page 9  – A SCHOLARSHIP SECONDMENT 2018

Ffion Nutter, a 3rd Year Props and Scenery student, travelled to London in July for work experience as part of an Australia to Britain Secondment Scholarship. She was seconded to the internationally renowned Neal Scanlan Studios, working on an upcoming feature film for Lucasfilm, the entertainment company famous for its Stars Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.

Neal Scanlan is an Academy Award-winning British special effects artist and make-up artist, best known for his work on the Star Wars sequel trilogy and Anthology films.

Based at London’s famous Pinewood studios, Nutter writes:

“I have now been here for over two months and in that time I have learnt so much. I am working directly with Alan Murphy and Neal Scanlan who have so much to teach me.

We are currently making a series of puppets that involve using woodworking, soft fabrication, anamatronics, leather work, casting, and moulding techniques. There are so many different departments within CFX – it’s very much like theatre where everyone works together and communication is so important.

In England they have different names for the materials, so I have found myself a couple of times explaining what I’m looking for which has been funny. Already I’ve made a lot of friends and have discovered I’m not the only Aussie, as everyone has come from around the globe.

WAAPA has taught me about working under pressure in short time frames that has been very helpful, as well as problem-solving on the go. The Props and Scenery Lecturers have taught me so much so it’s great to be able to use all that knowledge and practical experience here in the UK. Soon all the puppets will be put together and I can’t wait to see them all being puppeteered and brought to life.”

The Australia to Britain Secondment Scholarship, offered by the Australia Britain Society, is open to an outstanding final year Bachelor of Performing Arts (Production and Design) or Bachelor of Arts (Arts Management) student undertaking further studies or a secondment in the United Kingdom.


After 41 years the annual PESA event still remains a significant part of the Australia-Britain Society’s year and 2018 was no exception. PESA is a public speaking competition for 15 to 18 year old high school students.  The competition is sponsored in each state by the Australia-Britain Society Foundation. The Australia-Britain Society (WA Branch) Inc. organises the competition in WA.

The 2018 WA PESA Final was held at the Victoria League, Shenton Park, on Saturday 21 July between:

Jemima Reid – Santa Maria College, Zachary Matthews – Guildford Grammer School, Luke Button – Eastern Hills Senior High School, Cooper Hagan – CBC Fremantle

The 2018 WA Winner was declared to be Jemima Reid. Jemima went on to achieve Second Place in the National final held in Darwin on 12 August 2018 against six other State winners.

The national winner was Justin Lai of Sydney Boys High School whose prize was a trip to UK to compete in the International final.

The last event of PESA 2018 in WA was the occasion of the Presentation Morning Tea, held at Royal Perth Golf Club on Saturday 4th August. 50 people attended this event along with ABS members, PESA participants and their guests including teachers, friends and family members.

At this event, MC Kevan Barrett read out a letter of goodwill from Sue Wittenoom who had been WA winner in 1979, then a student at John XX111 College. Guest speaker was The Very Reverend Dr John Shepherd, former Dean of Perth, who gave an inspiring speech on the values of public speaking. After Jemima gave her winning speech Dr Shepherd presented her with the WA perpetual shield which will be held at Jemima’s school, Santa Maria College, until the 2019 competition.
The Australia-Britain Society acknowledges the generosity of the Victoria League for their valued donation of hospitality for the semi-finals and final of this competition.

Mr Leon Cohen 1978 PESA Award WinnerMr Leon Cohen, the first WA Plain English Speaking Award winner (in 1978) visited the 2017 WA competitors during their Semi-Finals.



Monday 14th August 2017 PESA National Final Melbourne

The WA State Winner was Esther Nixon of Ursula Frayne Catholic College.


The Australia-Britain Society Western Australia was proud to present the Plain English Speaking Award (PESA) again on its 40th Anniversary.
Since 1978, the Australia-Britain Foundation has sponsored the PESA public speaking competition open to senior secondary school students throughout Australia.  The program was created to encourage the best use of the English language in Australian schools. Thousands of young people who have participated in the competition have said it had been a valuable experience and a worthy mention in their résumé.
Aim of the Award                                                                                                                       The PESA recognises the key role of the spoken English Language as a link among Australians and as a medium for international communication and understanding. The primary aim of the Award is to encourage and maintain the best use of clear and effective English.
The Competition                                                                                                                         The competition is open to students from private and state schools aged 15 to 18 years who are Australian citizens and permanent residents. The student must present a prepared speech, an impromptu speech and be interviewed on stage.

The winner of the Australian National Final receives sponsorship from the Big Brother Movement (BBM) to enable them to represent Australia in the international Plain English Speaking competition conducted in London UK organised by the English Speaking Union.

          Students between the ages of 16 – 18 years can speak to their teacher about registering for PESA by 31st March 2018. Teachers organise classroom sessions for students in April & May to select two school representatives.  The school representatives participate in the State Semi-finals and Final to be held in June & July.  The winner of the State Final will travel to Darwin to compete in the National Final.  Each state will have a representative in the National Final. Travel and accommodation for all State Winners and State Coordinators is generously funded by the Australia-Britain Society Foundation.  The winner of the National Final will represent Australia in the international English Speaking Competition in the UK.

Please refer to the Australia-Britain Society Foundation webpage for more information about the Plain English Speaking Award.




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