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 beauty of the Australian landscape.  But what was unfolding within on Tuesday, January 28th, highlighted the country’s recent harsh reality.

It was a fund-raising event organised by ABIE in association with the Australian Embassy to aid the communities and wildlife devastated by the catastrophic bushfires.

France’s Australian/French community rose magnificently to the occasion.  In a matter of days gifts for the auction were flooding in, and the big crowd at the Embassy event was equally generous with their bidding.

Thanks to these generous donors and to the enthusiastic bidders, over 8,000 euros was raised in an hour – and much more is anticipated through the continuing on-line auction that will run until Tuesday February 4th at 6 p.m.

Lots on the night included indigenous art, burgundy wine, rugby jerseys and Aussie coffee.

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 President of ABIE France, Mr Brendan Berne, who in the spirit of good humour and generosity, offered himself for a private dinner in the residence.  A round of applause went to the winner, ABIE Business Member Catherine Pascaud, MD of Servitours, 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 organising 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 proceeds of the auction will go to the Australian Red Cross, or the wildlife organisation Wires. The winning bidders have the choice.

With warm thanks to the following for the wonderful items auctioned on the 28th January. All the other donations are currently for auction online until 6 pm French time on the 4th February 2020.


Andrew Vukosav


Arts d’Australie

Bábbarra Women’s Centre.

Benjamin Leroux

Chalet Savoie Faire

Coutume Café  

Domaine Joseph Voillot

Hugh Pyle

Jane Eyre



Pierre Meurgey

Rugby Australia


The Femmes et Vins de Bougogne Association

The French Table


Photos by Andrew McLeish