‘Grandma, come to Australia!’: Hackney girl is face of new Visit Oz campaign

Esme Rowling, from Homerton, at a surf school in the new ad

Esme Rowling, from Homerton, at a surf school in the new ad - Credit: Archant

A Homerton baby has become the unexpected face of Australian tourism in a viral video campaign

Esme Rowling, 8, enjoying the surf in the BA advert

Esme Rowling, 8, enjoying the surf in the BA advert - Credit: Archant

Esme Rowling, 8, lived in Hackney until her parents moved to Australia, and is now the poster child for the sunny state’s ‘Visit Soon’ campaign.

The video, which features a smiling Esme enjoying Sydney’s sun and sand, was shown to her unsuspecting grandparents when they settled down to watch a film at a local cinema.

Secretly filmed, the shocked grandparents soon realised what was going on, as Esme pleaded on the big screen for the pair to give her a visit, saying “I wish they were here with me.”

Esme’s father, Joe Rowling, said: “The ad had a very good reaction. The grandparents will be coming over in the next few months. Alec and Catherine who were featured in the ad are my wife parents. But British Airways have very kindly given my parents flights out too.”

Esme, who attended the borough’s Ann Taylor centre before her transatlantic move and was born in Homerton Hospital, has even found more home-grown children in her local Oz school- bizarrely uncovering seven kids born in Hackney.

One of Esme’s palls from the centre, Suki, also moved to the Sydney suburb of Bondi, where a change meeting saw the two kids reunited.

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BA held auditions for British kids living in Sydney, with Esme beating out 50 other expats to become the star.

Esme’s parents lived in Hackney all their lives, with her little sister Ruby being born at their old house on Cassland Road before the family packed up and moved to Sydney four and a half years ago.

As part of the ‘Visit Soon’ campaign, BA is encouraging expats to download a postcard inviting their British friends and family to take the transatlantic trip.

Tourism Australia UK regional general manager Denise von Wald said: ““With an estimated 40,000 Brits immigrating to Australia every year, and so many ‘Poms’ now calling Australia home, the Visiting Friends and Family market is huge and one we are very keen to tap into.”