Australian Heroes in London

Australian London Hero Stories...Our Favourite Aussie Strangers

The Harrods Lion

An amazing story: An act of humanity (warning tissues maybe required)

In 1969 Australians John Rendall and Anthony "Ace" Bourke saw a lion cub cramped in a small cage in Harrods and decided to give it the best life they could, which at the time was taking it back to their flat in Chelsea!

They bond with it and are regularly seen driving down the King’s Road in Fulham with the lion in their convertible. It was the start of the 1970's!

Their much loved pet outgrows their flat and is then housed in a local church before the two friends unselfishly decide to spend their entire travel savings on returning the lion back Africa where it belongs.......the story doesn't end there.

Watch the full documentary above or google shorter versions.


Jason Donovan for saving his neighbours home (in his underpants)

In 1988 Scott married Charlene in a wedding that was watched by 20 million Brit’s in the UK and 3.5 million more than Australia’s population at the time! It’s the closest thing Australia has had to a Royal Wedding as Charlene also known as Kylie Minogue went onto become a mega pop star and Scott also known as Jason Donovan carved out a good career in the West End and Panto scene in the UK.

Thirty years later knowing there are too many broken hearts in the world and understanding the importance of being a good neighbour, Jason ran out of his Notting Hill house in his underpants to help put out a fire at his neighbors home….And that’s when neighbors become good friends. Absolute legend.

Lionel Logue, "Helping the King's Speech".

This is a true life story of King George VI (Queen Elizabeth’s Father) who suffered from a stammer and feared public speaking and enlisted the help of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue to help him overcome his fears and talk confidently to the public. In a time before television and internet was the main communication medium being able to make a presence via radio was huge and there was no greater need to inspire the British public as was was declared against Nazi Germany in World war II.

 The movie with Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth is well worth a watch if you haven't seen it. 



Barry Humphries (AKA: Sir Les Patterson and Dame Edna Everage)

Barry Humphries has done so much this short paragraph won't do him justice as an Aussie hero in London. He created the story of Barry McKenzie a sheila loving beer swilling Aussie who settles in Earl's Court. The Film "The Adventures of Barry McKenzie" was released in 1972 with savaging reviews from critics and only became , Australia's highest grossing film at the time and the first to pass a $1,000,000 at the Box Office.  Barry Humphries also starred in the West End in plays such as Oliver and established his name as a leading comedian in the UK in the 1960's. As Sir Les Patterson he has been interviewed by UK TV legend "Parkinson" and wrote a satirical guide for Aussie travelers to London called the "The Traveller's Tool"!  As Dame Edna Everage he has entertained crowds including an appearance at the "Party at the Palace" concert where she referred to the Queen as the "Jubilee Girl". Barry Humphries has rightly been awarded an Order of the British Empire and is a true Aussie hero in many forms in London.   

Flat White comes to London

In August 2005 you could not buy a “Flat White” coffee anywhere in London. In 2020 it has become a staple of flourishing London coffee scene even making it to the Starbucks menu. Flat White Soho introduced this antipodean coffee which originated from Sydney and brought it to Europe. Australian coffee shops and smashed avocado are now everywhere in London which I think is a more impressive achievement than when Mugatu invented the “piano key neck tie”.


Socceroos smash England 3-1 at West Ham 2003

England with David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and a bevy of other premiership stars got smashed at their own game by Australia who deserved to win 3-1. Is there anything more humiliating than the Australian away crowd singing “Come on England” and “You will never win the ashes”?- wrong in hindsight. Harry Kewell was on fire and embarrassed the highly rated English team taking the countries “but you’re no good at football" argument away in a golden era for Australian sport and added to Aussies living in London's smugness at the time which was no mean feat being World Cup Cricket and Rugby Union champions at the time.

Kirsty Boden (A brave act of kindness)

Kirsty Boden was enjoying pub life in London, when a turn of events soon had her running towards danger to help a victim injured in the London Bridge terror attacks in June 2017.  A nurse, her goal was to use her skill to help a victim and stranger in need. Sadly this act resulted in the loss of her life. She was awarded the Queen’s commendation award for bravery. Maybe the best way we can honor Kirsty Boden and the 7 other people who unjustly lost their lives that night is be inspired by her story and use it as inspiration to be kind to strangers in need when the opportunity arises.

And there is no better cause to honor Kirsty Boden's act of kindness by donating to those affected by the Australian Bush Fires. (Click the link for ways to donate and also celebrate at the venues listed above)

Other Bushfire Relief Efforts:



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Updated: 9:24am on 30th January 2020


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Written by: Jeremy Cogdon