House of Representatives
Friday 23 September 2022
Death Of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Mr PASIN (Barker) (09:56): The people of Barker have honoured the Queen’s life of service with tributes and memories shared throughout the region. I’ve read many of these in local newspapers, and I’ve heard stories on local radio stations as I’ve driven around the electorate over the past fortnight.
I’ve spoken to so many people in the community, particularly as they’ve come to leave their condolences at my offices in Mount Gambier and in Murray Bridge. Sharing stories, of courses, is an important way to come together during a period of mourning, and these shred experiences have brought us closer together as a community.
The Queen was crowned on 2 June 1953, and, in the following year, in February 1954, she visited Australia, with her first stop on South Australian soil being Mount Gambier, my home town. On 26 February, Her Majesty, together with her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, spent the day in Mount Gambier, where she arrived by plane and was greeted by South Australian governor Air Vice Marshal Sir Robert George and then premier Sir Thomas Playford.
Cheering locals lined the six-mile route from the airport to the town. Indeed, farmers along the route also ensured their very best cattle lined the fences along the way. More than 50,000 people were in Mount Gambier on that day. That’s more than five times the population of the town at that time. Over 6,000 school children dressed in red, white and blue assembled to watch the Queen plant a tree at Queen Elizabeth Park to commemorate her visit, one of an estimated 1,500 trees she planted during her reign. Reporting on the royal visit in February 1954, the Sydney Morning Herald described the Mount Gambier reception as a ‘rollicking, carefree country welcome’.
The following month, on 25 February 1954, the Queen and the Duke visited Renmark, where a crowd of 35,000 people from across the Riverland congregated to welcome the couple. The Queen was presented with a basket of freshly grown produce picked that morning by the mayor’s daughter, Gillian James. It was a symbol of Renmark’s productivity, and the Queen later remarked about the Riverland:
Our visit here will always remind us of what can be achieved by the use of natural resources in what must perhaps have originally appeared difficult and unpromising surroundings.
That settlers, including so many ex-servicemen, should have found a profitable and useful way of life on the banks of Australia’s main water way, is evidence of their ingenuity and hard work. For they have succeeded in harnessing nature’s resources to achieve a wonderful result.
Later, in 1977, Her Majesty visited Australia for her silver jubilee, which included a trip to the Barossa Valley. At the Kaiser Stuhl winery in Nuriootpa, the Queen and Duke were shown the wine production process, and the history of the Barossa was explained to them.
Her Majesty’s love of horses was honoured with a visit to Lindsay Park Stud in Angaston on the same day. The Queen is said to have bonded with a dashing stallion called Without Fear. The Australian government later sent a filly sired by Without Fear to England for the Queen to race.
Her Majesty’s third and final visit to Barker was in February 2002, when she travelled on the Wine Train from Adelaide to Lyndoch and Tanunda and visited Chateau Barossa, where Her Majesty planted a Queen Elizabeth rose and unveiled a plaque to officially open the Chateau Barossa Rose Garden.
In Tanunda the Queen and Duke visited Tanunda Lutheran Home, where 180 nursing-home residents enthusiastically welcomed her into their home, including Mr Eric Roth, who had previously met the Queen and Princess Margaret at a London party in 1946, where he’d attended as a Royal Australian Airforce officer.
Not only did our Queen earn our trust as our monarch but she also won our admiration. That is blindingly clear to me in the remarks and memories that have been shared over the past fortnight, right across Barker. Queen Elizabeth II was a monarch who ruled with an empathetic heart and wisdom, both innate and gained from almost a century of life and experience.
She was Australia’s longest serving monarch and, for many of us, the only one in living memory, having served for over seven decades. As our second Elizabethan age comes to an end, and as our period of mourning concludes, may the memories of our Queen, both personal and shared, inspire the very best of us, particularly for those of us in Barker and, indeed, the wider Commonwealth. May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace.
Long live the King.