Dr. Anne-Marie Schleich who, for the past four years, has been Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany, responsible for the States of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, was farewelled at a reception held in the Grand Ballroom of The Hotel Windsor, Spring Street, Melbourne, on the evening of Wednesday, 25th July, 2012. Dr. Schleich has been a particularly engaging Consul-General and from the very beginning of her time in Melbourne, has sought to connect with and to foster cooperation amongst all groups throughout her States of responsibility, with any interests in German language, culture, society or industry. The introduction of regular Runden Tische, held at the German Consulate in South Yarra, to which our Association has been invited, has been a measure of this approach to her Consularship.
Our Association is one such group and Dr. Schleich has taken a particular interest in our activities and the relationship between our Association and the Foundation in Bonn. Vice-President, Professor Gabrielle McMullen and Honorary Secretary, Association Professor Trevor Finlayson were pleased to be able to accept an invitation to attend the reception on behalf of the AAvHF. Other AAvHF members who were present on the evening, but representing other groups, were Associate Professor Walter Veit and Dr. Rolf Beilharz. On behalf of the AAvHF, we were pleased to present Dr. Schleich with a small gift to remind her of her time in Australia. The gift comprised a copy of the book, Portrait of Australia by Robin Smith (New Holland, 2003) and a personal copy of our publication The Australian Experience of Germany eds. Trevor R. Finlayson and Gabrielle L. McMullen (AAvHF, 1994).
Portrait of Australia is essentially a pictorial record of various aspects of Australiana but one with a difference, in that it is set out State by State, a feature which we felt appropriate for the occasion. We also included a specially prepared card from the AAvHF which should serve as a bookmark.
An additional aspect of the evening function was the presentation of the German Cross of the Order of Merit to Mrs. Linde Mohr, President of the Australian-German Welfare Society, by Dr. Schleich, on behalf of the German Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The official announcement of the Honorary Consul-General for Victoria, Mr. Michael Pearce, SC, and his presentation with letters of appointment from the Federal German Government were also made by Dr. Schleich. There is no doubt that Dr. Schleich will be missed by all groups who have been associated with her during her time in Australia. But as far as Victoria is concerned, it was pleasing to hear personally from Michael Pearce and to learn that he hopes to continue the spirit of cooperation and good will, promoted by Dr. Schleich and her consular staff.