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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 786 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

We also remember the special relationship of the Queen Mother with Canberra. In 1927, she and her husband, the then Duke of York, attended the opening of the Old Parliament House. I am always reminded of that visit, interestingly enough, by the large bunya pine tree at the head of Kings Avenue which was planted by her and the Duke of York. Over the century of her life, she was to visit Canberra several times. In 1958, she once again won the hearts of Canberrans, as she did in 1966 when visiting with Prince Charles, who was at school in Australia.

I know that all members will join with me in expressing sympathy to all members of the royal family, especially her daughter, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is with respect and affection that we remember Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the opposition, I support this expression of sympathy on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. As members have heard, the Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep late last month at Windsor. She was a much loved member of the royal family. Her life, spanning over a century, was devoted to the service of her country, the fulfilment of her royal duties and support for her family.

Mr Speaker, she was the ninth of 10 children of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. The story of her involvement, through marriage, with the royal family and the transition she made to become matriarch of the royal family has been put on the table of this place already by the Chief Minister. It is true to say, however, that at 101 years of age, she has been described as a symbol of courage and dignity during a tumultuous century of war, social upheaval and royal scandal. She was in many ways the backbone of the royal family, the rock that held the House of Windsor together.

Whether one is a republican or a monarchist, the Queen Mother undoubtedly had a strong following in Australia, and drew large crowds during her visits here in 1927 when, as we have heard, she opened with her husband, the Duke of York, the federal parliament to meet for the first time in Canberra, and in 1958 and 1966.

Mr Speaker, it is a matter of special acknowledgment in this place today, in the moving of this motion, that the Queen Mother was the last of the significant figures who featured on the historic day almost 75 years ago when the event occurred which firmly set the future course of the growth of the city of Canberra, that is, the opening of the first federal parliament here and the beginning of a gradual process of growth and change that led to the national capital which we see around us today. All of the other key figures in that special event have long since died. The Queen Mother was the last of those. I think a special affection might be felt towards her and a special sorrow at her passing in noting that that link with the beginnings of the city of Canberra has disappeared.

Hundreds have lined up at Government House in Australia to sign the condolence book for the Queen Mother, or logged onto the Governor-General's website where expressions of sympathy can be left. Many will remember her for her strength, her dignity and her common touch. Some see life as a royal as a round of dinner parties, fancy clothes and wealth, but the trials and tribulations that the Queen Mother experienced through her long life demonstrate that there is a less glittering side of that lifestyle. She was

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