Australia’s first Les Clefs d’Or member was Tony Facciolo who arrived in this country in 1966. In 1976 he, along with Australia’s second Les Clefs d’Or member Alfred Jasinski, began to seek out fellow like-minded concierges from throughout Australia. In 1979 Tony James joined them, forming the nucleus of the Australian Chapter. Together they constituted the original, long serving Executive Committee that played a predominant role in the formation, recognition and early development of the Australian National Branch. Australia was the 21st country to be accepted as a member of the Society of the Golden Keys when its application for membership was accepted at the 29th International Congress in Dublin in 1981.
Since then, the Australian Chapter has passed a number of important milestones. Tony Facciolo was elected 3rd Vice President International of Les Clef d’Or in 1988. In 1990, he advanced to 2nd Vice President followed by 1st Vice President in 1992. In 1995 he was elected to the prestigious position of the International President of Les Clefs d’Or. This appointment was particularly rewarding for the Australian members as it was made during the 42nd International Congress, which was hosted by the Australian Chapter in Sydney.This was the first time a non-European domiciled president had been appointed, Tony now holds the position of Worldwide Ambassador for Life for Les Clefs d’Or.
As well as being held in such high regard by his own colleagues and peers, Tony’s efforts in promoting hospitality, tourism and Les Clefs d’Or have attracted official recognition by two governments. The Italian Government bestowed upon him the title of Cavaliere and he has been presented with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
There are approximately 58 active members of Les Clefs d’Or in Australia. Our first patron was Sir Peter Abeles whose support for the society over many years was significant, only stepping down from this position in 1995.
As concierges, we all rely on developing positive relationships with suppliers. The Australian Chapter owes much to the mutually beneficial associations it has developed with service suppliers. In particular Paul Highams (Brunel) along with Tony Hutton (Where Magazine), Ansett Australia (no longer in operation) have supported Les Clefs d’Or over a long period. In addition to material support, they have provided us with the impetus and expertise to bring together the successful projects and events our chapter has undertaken, such as the congress held in Sydney in 1995. Many other businesses, too numerous to name individually, but no less important, have supported, and continue to support our activities through sponsorship. At an international level, the society benefits through the substantial support offered by American Express Travel Related Services.
The ability of members to contribute to the activities of the society often depends upon the level of support provided by their hotels. Hotels may support in different ways, such as release time, accommodation, meeting space or financial assistance.