Shelby's Social Diary

Aussies celebrate their national day in true Houston style

Aussies celebrate their national day in true Houston style

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The Qantas Choir performs "Deep in the Heart of Texas" at the Australia Day gala. Photo by Sopheavy Than
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HGTV's Jamie Durie of "The Outdoor Room" joined master of ceremonies Cameron Daddo, right. Photo by Sopheavy Than
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Susie Annus, from left, Nana Booker and Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Beazley Photo by Sopheavy Than
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Cameran Daddo joins gala chair Julie Tushingham. Photo by Sopheavy Than
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News_Australia Day Gala_Susie Annus_Nana Booker_Ambassador Kim Beazley
News_Australia Day Gala_Cameron Daddo_Julie Tushingham

It was all things Australian at the Omni Houston Hotel Saturday night when the Australian American Chamber of Commerce hosted 450 guests at the fifth annual Australia Day Gala.

Native Australian, chef Jason Gould was tapped to oversee preparation of the dinner that was presided over by Australian Ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley and honorary Australian consul Nana Booker.

Headliners of the evening were Australians Cameron Daddo, the actor and talk show host who served as master of ceremonies, and Jamie Durie, landscape expert and host of HGTV's The Outdoor Room, who put on the charm.

Cultural highlight of the evening was the Houston debut of the Qantas Choir, making it here following performances at galas in Los Angeles and New York.

The evening honored John Higley, Australian studies professor at the University of Texas; Peter Hartley, professor of economics at Rice University; and artist Janaki Lennie. Proceeds topped $50,000 that will go to the Houston non-profit Project Joy and Hope.

Aussie fans swaying to the after-dinner sounds of the Richard Brown Orchestra included gala chair Julie Tushingham, Grame Barty, Duncan Cole, Chris Rodwell and Wally Mariani.