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Fancy dinner with the Governor General at his Sydney residence? Here’s how to get a spot at the table

Last Wednesday I had dinner with Their Excellencies the Governor General and Lady Cosgrove in Sydney. It really was something special. Would you like to come along too next time?

If the answer is yes, or you’re simply curious as to how one gets invited to dinner with the Governor General, you might be surprised to know that the answer is really quite straight forward.

You’ve simply gotta’ give.


This occasion last week was the first occasion at Admiralty House that the Governor General has hosted since his appointment almost a year ago and he chose to spend the occasion with representatives from several of the charities he is Patron of, that have the common theme of supporting Australia’s children.

There were representatives from Scouts Australia, Girl Guides Australia, Pathways Foundation, Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, Kookaburra Kids Foundation, SchoolAid Trust, Life Education Australia, The Boys Brigade, Lions Australia, Royal Life Saving Society and Special Olympics Australia – and of course Peer Support Australia – a charity I’ve served for eight years now.

His Excellency gave a lovely speech and spoke of the work of all these organisations in strengthening our community, and giving our young people the best chance at life, leadership and driving lasting change across our nation.


Now of course all these people don’t just give in order to get a good dinner date.  But there are fringe benefits to giving of a very different kind, that I’m sure many of us would acknowledge.  A feeling of connectedness. A satisfaction of giving back. An accomplishment of actually doing something that counts.

Arianna Huffington’s latest book, Thrive, recognises giving as one of the four crucial elements to redefining success and thriving in today’s world:

“Giving, loving, caring, empathy and compassion, going beyond ourselves and stepping out of our comfort zones to help serve others – this is the only viable answer to the multitude of problems the world is facing. If well-being, wisdom and wonder are our response to a personal wake-up call, service naturally follows as the response to the wake-up call for humanity.”
– Arianna Huffington

So I wonder… Could you? Would you? Do you give? And what does giving mean for you?


PS Those of you with kids might enjoy this little note that the Governor General kindly sent home for my son… you can read below for the back story 🙂


So the backstory is that, sitting next to the Governor General at dinner, I shared Master 6’s aggrievance at being left home for the evening with the babysitter:

Can I come with you for dinner mum?

Not tonight I’m afraid.

But I’ll be really sad and scared if you leave me home on my own.

I don’t think so. There’s a grown up here to play with you and put you to bed.

But why do you have to go?

Because it’s for work and it’s really important.

But why?

Because you know how we’ve talked about the boss of Australia, Mr Abbott?


Well this is his boss, so he’s like the big boss of Australia.


Yep. And guess what? The big boss’s boss is actually the Queen of Australia – see the little gold crown on the invitation?

Oh yeah. Wow. So can I come then?

Not this time I’m afraid, there’s only going to be grown ups there.

Well why is Dad allowed to go then?

Well because the big Boss would really like to meet Dad too.


Yep. Really. And guess what? The big boss of Australia used to be a soldier too.


Yep. And you won’t believe it but he’s also a Knight.



Wow. So can you take a photo for me?

Maybe, we’ll see.

Cool. And mum? Do you think he has a horse?

I’m not sure, I could ask?

Because you know Mum, if he doesn’t have a horse then he’s not a real knight you know.



And hence the note on the name card. You’ve gotta love the imagination of a 6 year old, and the thoughtfulness of a very kind gentleman who really made his day 🙂


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