More Than $A50,000 Raised at ABIE Charity Auction for Bushfire Relief, in association with the Australian Embassy, 28 January 2020

The magnificent photographic art by Andrew Vukosav on the walls of the Australian Embassy reflected the stark beauty of Australia.  But what was unfolding within on Tuesday, January 28th, highlighted the country’s recent harsh reality.

It was a fund-raising event organized by ABIE in association with the Australian Embassy to aid the communities and wildlife devastated by the catastrophic wildfires. Over than $A50,000 was raised between the live auction that evening and the on-line auction that followed.

France’s Australian/French community rose magnificently to the occasion.  Gifts for the auction flooded in, and the big crowd at the Embassy and those that bid on-line were equally generous.

At the Embassy event, Sotheby’s French Vice-President Cyrille Cohen, seconded by ABIE Board member Jeremy Durack, was the star auctioneer and had bidders eating out of his hand as he expertly coaxed the offers higher with laughter and guile   One of the hottest bidding tussles was  over a donation by the Ambassador and Honorary ABIE President, Mr Brendan Berne, who in the spirit of good humour and generosity, offered himself for a private lunch in the residence.  A round of applause went to the winner, ABIE Member Catherine Pascaud, delighted to make the highest bid for the privilege.

“Tonight we celebrate our land, and our unique community spirit”, said Ambassador Berne, referring both to Andrew Vuykosav’s luminous works and the evening’s fun atmosphere for a serious cause.  “I thank both Andrew and ABIE for organizing the evening.

’The Government of Australia, myself and the people of Australia are deeply touched by the spirit of generosity and the incredible support that has come from around the world, and particularly from the Government and the people of France.”

All the proceeds of the auction have gone to the Australian Red Cross, or the wildlife organization, Wires.

With warm thanks to the following for the wonderful items auctioned online.


Alexis Braconnier

Andrew Vukosav


Arts d’Australie

Australian Rugby Foundation


Collet Champagne


David Lebovitz

David Mallett


Duc des Lombards

Fondation Opale

Guy Savoy

Henri Leconte

Hotel Collectionneur

Hotels Bavarez


Intercontinental Hotel

Julia King

Laure Modesti-Jubin

Le Cordon Bleu

Louis Vuitton

Maison Fouquet

Martin Grant

Panama Brewing Co

Naomi Goodsir

Palais de Tokyo


Scribe Hotel

Sir John Monash Centre

South World Wines

Photos by Andrew McLeish