Byline: John Wyn Owen
The people of Wales have longstanding historical ties with Australia and the newlyformed Wales branch of The Britain-Australia Society will cement this relationship.
As chairman of the new branch, I'm proud we now have an opportunity to develop more cultural, educational, economic and sporting links with Australia as we head into the 21st century.
In 1971 Sir Robert Menzies and Sir Alec Douglas Home, former prime ministers of Australia and Britain respectively, formed The Britain-Australia Society in the UK (and the Australia-Britain Society in Australia). Their aim was to deepen the existing rich friendship and cultural understanding between Britain and Australia, and promote educational exchanges between the two countries.
Wales' links with Australia go back to the earliest settlers, including Francis Wilkinson who sailed with Captain Cook on his Southern Hemisphere voyage of discovery.
Welsh politicians have also helped shape Australia, from William (Billy) Hughes, Welsh-speaking Australian prime minister (from 1915-1923), to today's Julia Gillard, the current Australian deputy prime minister, who hails from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.
In 1995, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Wales and the Australian state of New South Wales.
This led to New South Wales …