Page 2587 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 20 September 2022

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There was another very Canberra moment in Her Majesty’s first visit. After a deluge the night before, a stinking hot Canberra day greeted dignitaries for the ceremony of the unveiling of a 220-foot-high memorial statue to America’s support of World War II. I quote:

On a slope dotted with gum trees and carpeted with yellow dandelions, officialdom in top hats and morning suits sweltered in the heat. Non-VIPs were happy in open-necked shirts.

I bet they were! That excerpt comes from The Royal Tour of Australia and New Zealand 1953-54.

During Her Majesty’s visit in 1963, she was introduced to the scientific expertise of the CSIRO, and one Canberra scientist in particular, Dr Doug Waterhouse. Apparently, at a garden party at Government House, Her Majesty was seen swatting flies away. The next day when she set out for a round of golf, her aids sprayed her with an insect repellent which had been originally developed for World War II troops to protect them from mosquitos. Shortly after Her Majesty’s visit, as reports from journalists filtered through about the effectiveness of this repellent, Dr Waterhouse was contacted by Mortein, asking for his formula. He gladly gave it over and Aerogard went on to become a staple in households across Australia and around
the world.

In 1970, Her Majesty officially opened the National Carillon, a gift from the British government to the people of Australia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the national capital. In 2022, to commemorate her platinum jubilee, the island on which it stands was renamed in her honour to Queen Elizabeth II Island.

Her Majesty made a number of visits to Canberra in the 1970s and 1980s, visiting many of our cultural landmarks, including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the High Court of Australia and our very own Canberra Theatre. Famously, she officially opened Parliament House in 1988 and unveiled a striking sculpture of herself in the Queen’s Terrace. Earlier this month, I placed a wreath at her statue on behalf of the ACT government and the people of Canberra, alongside His Excellency the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.

In 1992, Her Majesty visited Bonython Primary School in the lovely Tuggeranong Valley, officially opening the school and touring the facilities. She met with students and two of the children at the school, Sarah and Timothy, presented her with posies. I understand Her Majesty commented after the visit that the children behaved beautifully and were very polite, and she noted she was very happy with her afternoon at the school. I am sure there are many former Bonython Primary School students who have been reflecting fondly on that visit, 30 years ago now, in recent days.

Her Majesty met with many Canberrans. During her visit in 2006, she had the opportunity to meet some of our emergency services personnel and volunteers who were involved in the response to the 2003 Canberra bushfires. At a reception at Government House, she was introduced to staff from the ACT Fire Brigade as it was

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