The ceremony recognised Australia’s contribution to the restoration of historical monuments in Venice.

The Australian Committee of Venice is one of 37 foreign committees, which, under the auspices of UNESCO and the Italian government, participated in the International Campaign for Saving Venice.

Since its establishment in 1970, thanks to the work of the Lady Valerie Howse of Canberra, the Australian Committee was invited to concentrate its efforts on the restoration of the parish church of San Martino di Castello, which dates back to the 11th century.

Thanks to the funds which were collected by the committee, it was possible to restore first and foremost the roof and windows the building.

Restoration of the church organ then began.

The double organ was constructed and installed by Nacchini in 1737, and is one of the few organs of historical importance which remains in Venice today.

Restoration of the antique instrument was completed by the Australian Committee, with Dr Franz Zanin at the helm.

Dr Zanin runs a family business in Udine which has specialised in this field for an entire century.

The Church of San Martino contains precious works of art and boasts a very interesting history, having been the parish of the Admiral of the Venetian Fleet.