Memorandum submitted by the Welsh Society
of Sydney in Australia
On behalf of the Gymdeithas Gymreig Sydneythe
Welsh Society of Sydney, which represents the Welsh community
in Sydney, Australia and in our roles as President and Director
of Media and PR for the Society, it gives us great pleasure to
provide the following response.
The comments comprise comments relating political,
diplomatic, cultural, export promotion, inward investment, business
links and investment interaction spheres.
This response is made up of individual views
of members of Gymdeithas Gymreig Sydney and others from the Welsh
Community in Australia.
To obtain these comments and response, the Executive
Committee of Gymdeithas Gymreig has discussed the request for
responses and requested those who wished to repond to provide
them to the Director of Media and PR for onward transmission to
Members have expressed their view regarding
their opinion of the promotion of Wales overseas and in particular
A dearth of Welsh Imagery overseas and in particular
Australia, comparing this to Riverdance, Scottish Pipes, etc and
that Wales does not get the requisite exposure.
There is a view that a Welsh image campaign in
selected markets overseas should be considered. The Wales Tourist
Board and Welsh Development Agency have undertaken extensive work
in this area, in key markets, but with very limited staffing and
financial resources in particular in comparison to other countries,
This limited funding extends to UK central government
representation, ie British High Commission, British Tourist Authority
and British Council in Australia who have limited funds to promote
Britain as a whole, without diverting funds to the specific promotion
of Wales. Everything seems to be rather on a shoestring budget
and Wales accordingly does not get a large share of the very small
A wish to see a global drive to encourage
residents in selected countries to learn the Welsh language and
that resources to do this in Wales are limited and that funding
should be provided in Wales, perhaps via the internet to undertake
A belief that Central Government organisations
cannot provide the single minded focus that Welsh Assembly organisations
can. Additional funding should be provided to Welsh Assembly organisations
to undertake the following;
1. substantial general awareness building
of Wales in terms of inward investment, tourism and other selected
and specific countries and areas to targeted markets;
2. specific promotions relating to specific
inward investment and tourism opportunities in selected and specific
countries and areas to targeted markets.
That consideration should be given to undertaking
research regarding those countries, which are likely to bring
the highest potential return on investment
That consideration should be given to the employment
in selected and high priority countries of:
Specific Wales teams working within the Embassy,
High Commissions, Consulates General or other government or quasi
government organisations to specifically raise awareness of Wales
in terms of the target activities.
In terms of Australia, a belief that the Welsh
Assembly should seek representation for Wales in a similar form
to an Embassy or Diplomatic role, but with the specific remit
of raising awareness and promoting Wales.
That any appointments in Welsh posts overseas
must be held by Welsh speakers as the Welsh language is clearly
a unique part of the image of Wales overseas and should be used
in promotions and image building. This can only be achieved by
utilising first language Welsh speakers in these roles.
Agreement with the President's view regarding
establishing a Welsh Assembly or Welsh Affairs committee in Sydney
to work with appointed staff to develop awareness and promote
Wales and provide responses to the organisations listed in Wales.
That Welsh promotions overseas and in particular
in Australia in whatever form should be undertaken by one organisation
that encompasses all aspects of Welsh activities, ie in particular
we believe that WDA and WTB's work should be undertaken overseas
by one organisation representing Wales, not under a Britain banner
as in the case of tourism, where Wales tends to be lost, does
not get adequate exposure, nor adequate allocation of their sparse
resources. We wish to add that we consider that BTA and the British
Council are also substantially underfunded and any Wales work
would be in co-operation with these organisations.
A belief that the image and promotion of Wales
should reflect devolution in Wales, the creation of the Welsh
Assembly and accordingly, whilst we appreciate in certain markets
it may not be cost effective and may need to be incorporated with
that of Britain, in other specific targeted countries with the
highest return on investment, Wales should be represented independently,
by a Welsh organisation or organisations and by Welsh speaking,
John Lloyd, the President of the Welsh Society
of Sydney has already sent you a copy of his views, with which
we agree. His reply is also copied here:
1. That a Welsh diplomatic Office for Australia,
be set up in Sydney, comprising, at first, of an officer in charge,
an offsider and two secretaries. This would have the initial objective
of establishing a base for operations in the above mentioned spheres.
Apart from the obvious credentials required of a person in such
an office, this officer would need to be Welsh and be able to
speak Welsh. (Suggestion: Ambassador to the European Commission
for Australia and New Zealand, Aneurin Hughes)
2. An interim committee be set up in Sydney
for the Assembly and the Welsh Affairs Committee through the Gymdeithas
Gymreig, to advise and do some basic footwork for the Welsh Affairs
Committee and the Welsh Assembly on relevant matters. This Society
has members who are not only dedicated to the betterment of Wales
but are also capable of approaching individuals in all walks of
Re 1 and 2: Functions of an interim committee/office
Make contact with business directors.
Respond to ideas put to it from the
Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Affairs Committee.
Confer diplomatically with/through
the British Consulates.
These would require some initial investment
to set up and maintain but such is needed if benefits are to flow.
3. That the Welsh Development Agency in
Australia be headed by a stimulating, enterprising Welsh speaking,
Welsh person. (Where Wales is concerned, I believe there should
be consideration for the Welsh point of view. There is a need
for a Welsh bilingual person who cares no less for the non Welsh
speakers to be seen in this position) Currently the WDA does not
have a Welsh person at the helm and it is most noticeable. (Suggestion:
John Alwyn-Jones of Sydney)
4. Wales is not in the eye of the public
in Australia, as is Scotland. A glossy magazine, developed jointly
by Wales and Australia, is needed to attract a wide interest in
the potential of Wales and things Welsh. There is a great need
for a monthly or a quarterly Welsh magazine with an Australian
The writers association of the Gymdeithas Gymreig
Sydney would be keen to help in the development of such an enterprise.
Note that most effective Scottish magazines are for sale in all
newsagents in Australia. Nothing pertaining to Wales exists.
5. Irish goods, tourism and cultural events
are sold and advertised in AIrish [email protected] in the capital cities
of Australia. This does much to promote the profile of Ireland
amongst the general public. It gives the general public a degree
of pride in their Irish background. Wales has become known to
the general public simply through the generation of the Welsh
Assembly and its granting of a modicum of respect. An enterprise
such as a Welsh shop in the main capital cities of Australia could
prove most beneficial.
6. The generation of a Welsh foundation
in Australia linking the Welsh Societies could be of considerable
advantage in that it would facilitate enterprisestrade,
investment, cultural and academic exchange, etc. It would avoid
duplication of effort. This is especially important in Australia
where distances between capitals are considerable.
The Gymdeithas Gymreig Sydney has recently discussed
7. The most important point of all however
with respect to the role of the UK Government in promoting Wales
abroad, relates to the devolution process occurring in the UK.
Respect for Wales overseas is in direct proportion to the national
status granted to that nation.
The most serious point I would put is that devolution
should be taken a further step with respect to Wales, that the
UK Government give to Wales the full political, legal and financial
control and rights being granted to Scotland.
This will have the most serious and beneficial
affect on the promotion of Wales abroad. Wales will be seen, and
welcomed, for what she really is, a nation in her own right.
It will also reflect most favourably upon England.
If England can not only respect Wales sufficiently to do this,
but also help Wales to attain such a status, it will engender
a real respect in Wales and peoples around the world for the English.
Respect for such an enlightened act would be quite stunning.
Overseas the same applies. There are millions
of Welsh beyond the shores of Great Britain all wishing and hoping
that the English will do the right thing by the Welsh. In Sydney
there are many disappointed Welsh who feel that not only has Wales
never had a fair go, but she has been most badly treated. The
consequences of such an enlightened act, where the heart of a
nation is concerned, can only engender good will for all in the
Sion Llwyd, President
John Alwyn-Jones, Director
of Media and PR
19 October 2000