In the beginning: ANZA began as a registered society in the Colony of Singapore in 1917 and was known as the Australian and New Zealand Association of Malaya. In 1948 ANZA was founded, and the original society ceased to exist. It took until 1961 for official registration to begin, as there was re-building to be done after the Second World War and the administration process took some time.

Black and white photos courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand

ANZA Magazine

Back in the 1960s, the ANZA magazine members recieve today was a simple ‘newsletter’ of happenings, helpful advice and contacts. One of the earliest copies in existence is from June/July 1962 which opens with ‘News From Home’ including upcoming tours of Australia by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh and the opening of Canberra TV station CTC-7. There’s also a round up of activities in Singapore, news of people arriving, passing through or leaving the island, and a sports section featuring the likes of Ladies Golf.

In 1979 a publication called First Edition was printed which included a competition to name the magazine; the winning title was ANZA Antics. Moving into the 1980s, an official ‘newsletter team’ typed, copied, collated and mailed a newsletter out – by March 1987, it boasted 36 pages and a one-page advert. The earliest copy in existence (that we know of) is from January 1992. While the format and style of the magazine has evolved, becoming more like the glossy publication it is today in the 2000s, the content and focus on community, information, support and fun has remained at the core.

In 2023, ANZA communicates via our bi-monthly magazine, weekly e-newsletter, website, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

In 1953, the annual ANZA subscription for a married couple was S$10; an individual was S$8 and a junior member (18 – 21 years) was S$5


Although ANZA began as a male-only club, it soon became a family organisation, with women at the forefront of organising activities, fundraising and events. The Women’s Auxiliary Committee (now known as ANZA Action) was formed in 1974, with a focus on raising money for local charities. The first ANZA Ball was held at Singapore’s Seaview Hotel in the 1950s-60s. In 1979, ANZA Soccer sent out its first registration letter to parents inviting young players to join the ANZA International Junior Soccer League. ANZA Tennis also began in the same year, with social games played on Thursday mornings at the Minden Road Courts. ANZA Swimming was also popular, with meet-ups at the Singapore Swimming Club and Island Country Club.

Early ANZA Events

From Left: ANZA held a tea party in 1953 at The Cathay restaurant for New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and wife Louise who’d got married four days earlier. New Zealand Forces Troupe Performers take part in the ANZA Fete in 1979
In 1981, the fun of the fair involved the arrival of a giant bear. See the kids cute ANZA t-shirts too!


By the 1980s ANZA was running a range of classes for expats, from craft to cooking, alongside regular cultural tours throughout Singapore. Events were in full swing, with the ANZA Fashion Parade a particular hit throughout the decade. The ANZA ‘Black and White’ Ball was launched and became an instant success. A Children’s Christmas Party was a yearly highlight, with families turning up to meet Santa and watch children’s performers. In 1987 a Newcomers Coffee Morning was introduced, which still runs today as Casual Coffee.


Right: Haka at the Golden Jubilee Ball
ANZA Tours today visiting Little India

ANZA celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1998 and a grand Golden Jubilee Ball was held at the ballroom at Shangri-La Singapore. To commemorate the occasion, a team of members compiled a book entitled ‘Snippets from the Past’, documenting ANZA’s history. The Women’s Auxiliary Committee also celebrated their Silver Jubilee in the same year. ANZA Netball began in 1991, catering to the demand for the sport in the Lion City. ANZA Tours were super-popular with adventures to Pulau Ubin, Little India, Changi Prison Chapel – just a few of the destinations we still visit today. Classes were held in computing, hat making, perfect dinner parties, and mahjong.

The Melbourne Cup

Party-goers at the1998 MC

The first ANZA Melbourne Cup happened in 1998 at Singapore Turf Club where the venue had the license to televise the event. Unbeknown to revellers, panic set in a few days previously when rumours circulated that the Singapore government had banned the public broadcasting. However, it all came good in the end and there was a Hat Parade, a Grand Sweep Draw and a buffet lunch. The ANZA Melbourne Cup 2023 will be ANZA’s 25th MC, and this iconic day is still ANZA’s signature and most popular event which raises funds for Riding For The Disabled, Singapore (RDA).

The Balls

  • In 1977 the Annual ANZA Dinner Dance was held in the Churchill Room of the Tanglin Club. The menu included salmon, soup, pork and peach melba – fancy!
  • In 1980 the Black and White Ball was held at Raffles Hotel
  • The 1987 Black and White Ball was held at Sheraton Towers and attended by 400 people. The band was Ruff ‘n’ Ready Roadshow – wonder where they are now?
  • In 1989 a ‘sheep dog trial’ was the entertainment during the band break. Apparently, some guests were not impressed by the dogs’ presence and felt it inappropriate!
  • In 1997 Phil McDonough and Mark and Joy Greedy arrived in fancy dress as the Ugly Sisters (see pic above!)
  • In 1998 the ball’s theme was gold and black to celebrate ANZA’s Golden Anniversary
    ANZA’s 75th anniversary will be marked by the ANZA Black Tie Ball – GLITTERBALL on 25 August 2023 at The Ritz-Carlton.

THANK YOU to all ANZA members, past and present, for your support, dedication and enthusiasm for ANZA.

Additional information and images courtesy of ’50 Years of The Australian and New Zealand Association of Singapore, 1948 – 1998′.