Day 5 saw the climax of the show and the awards handed out for those with collections deemed worthy at the Palmares dinner. The $125 ticket price didn’t put people off attending the event which took place in the grand surroundings of the Crown hotel. The evening was kicked off by Malcolm Groom, the President of Australia 2013, followed by Olivier Stocker of Spink (who’s heavy sponsoring of the dinner was evident to all). Thankfully speeches were clear and succinct, and the medals were given to each winner at a fair pace in between courses.
During the meal we were entertained by a talented singer/guitar player. I was waiting for everyone to get up a sing when waltzing Matilda came on, but everyone was obviously too deeply engrossed in either conversation or their food. I was pleased that Australia’s 2nd most famous song “Land Down Under” by Men at Work followed shortly afterwards!
I was sitting next to one of the shows many volunteers who’d helped to mount the 54’000 exhibition frames. An interesting story was that in order to attach the strips of plastic that hold the pages into the frames, one of the volunteers had to hand-make a machine to do so!
And so to the most anticipated moment of the night, the Grand Prix awards for the National, International and Championship classes. With a staggering 97 points out of 100, Arthur Woo’s collection of Western Australia won the Grand Prix National ahead of Michael Blake’s South Australia and Stephen Browne’s New South Wales. The collection that had caught my eye the day before, the Cape of Good Hope rectangular issues took the Grand Prix International also with 97 points, ahead of stiff competition from William Gross’ USA 1847 issue and Jan-Olof Liungh’s Eagle Shield issue exhibit. Fittingly for this Australian international show, it was Koichi Sato’s collection of Tasmania that deservedly won the prestigious Grand Prix d’Honneur.
The night finished with the ceremonial “passing of the torch” to Thailand 2013 and the traditional “Auld Lang Syne”.