Australian High Commission holds panel discussion to mark 50 years of ties with Singapore

Former Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott (left), 88, speaking at a panel discussion held by the Australian High Commission in Singapore on Aug 18, 2015.
Former Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott (left), 88, speaking at a panel discussion held by the Australian High Commission in Singapore on Aug 18, 2015.PHOTO: AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION
Former Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott (left), 88, and Australian High Commissioner to Singapore Philip Green at a panel discussion on Aug 18, 2015.
Former Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott (left), 88, and Australian High Commissioner to Singapore Philip Green at a panel discussion on Aug 18, 2015.PHOTO: AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION
The winner of the Australian High Commission's #sg50oz Instagram contest - a montage by 29 year-old Singaporean Rei Umehara of her and her partner, taken against the backdrop of the "50 Walls" murals.
The winner of the Australian High Commission's #sg50oz Instagram contest - a montage by 29 year-old Singaporean Rei Umehara of her and her partner, taken against the backdrop of the "50 Walls" murals.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM

To mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Singapore, the Australian High Commission held a panel discussion on Tuesday afternoon, featuring former Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott.

Australia was the first nation to establish diplomatic ties with Singapore on Aug 18, 1965, nine days after Singapore became independent.

Mr Woolcott, 88, saw the events on the ground and shared his personal memories of happenings at the time during the panel.

He was Deputy High Commissioner to Malaya in 1961 and Commissioner to Singapore in 1963.

The event is one of several celebrations to mark 50 years of close diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Last week, a joint commemorative event was held at Parliament House in the Australian capital Canberra, attended by some 500 guests, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australia has also presented Singapore with several SG50 gifts, including the gifting of koalas to the Singapore Zoo, as well as programmes which were held in Singapore's heartland areas.

These include "50 Walls", where street artists from Down Under collaborated with local artists to paint murals on walls in hawker centres, Housing Board blocks and schools.

Another programme, 50 Performances, brought puppet performances from Australian theatre companies to the Toa Payoh HDB Hub.

Other dual jubilee celebrations include "50 BBQs", which gave away 10,000 steaks at 50 barbecues.

The BBQ event coincided with the visit of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to Singapore in June this year.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that he plans to visit Australia next year.

Today, the Australian High Commission also announced the winner of their #sg50oz Instagram contest - 29 year-old Singaporean Rei Umehara.

Ms Umehara's montage of her and her partner, taken against the backdrop of the "50 Walls" murals and meant to depict the long-distance "relationship" between Australia and Singapore, won over judges, High Commissioner Philip Green and Jetstar chief executive Bara Pasupathi.