As a seven-year-old in 1954, I, like a generation of young flag-waving Australians, was with my parents waiting in cool early morning anticipation for a black royal Humber car to flash by. In my case, the venue was near the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Flemington Road. Although I came in time to identify as a republican and found the British class system associated with the Crown frankly absurd, the Queen remained an ethical constant; and admirable in her multicultural Commonwealth sympathies and remarkable work ethic. ″A sense of duty″ has become a media cliche but, in relation to her, it truly applied. Mantelpieces of our grandparents were often weighed down with royal memorabilia; and I still have a ″Coronation Bible″ as a memento of my childhood. For many Baby Boomers, her death is deeply felt as a passage in our lives.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
A rock of certainty is gone
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, one of the centres of certainty and consistency in a confused and drifting world has been removed. She performed her duties steadfastly, often at great personal cost. She did not seek her leadership role and all the munificence that surrounded her did not distract her from the demands of her regal office.
Peter Barry, Marysville
The connection in a community
I grieve more than for any other notable death. I would lay flowers at the gates of Balmoral if I could. Elizabeth II became Queen the year I was born a commoner in Glasgow. We stood on the grassy slopes of St Kilda Road to cheer her visit here to open the National Gallery of Victoria. We never missed her Christmas messages. She has been the consistent elder statesperson of our lives for 70 years, a beloved connection to that ancient human community fabric where our elders were born among us and grew old with us. Our first people still enjoy this. Sadly, our elected leaders haven’t demonstrated they can replace it.
David Marshall, West Brunswick
A servant to her country and people
The image of Queen Elizabeth II standing to swear in her latest prime minister a couple of days ago should inspire everyone to follow the advice in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address with the historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”.
John Allsop, Mont Albert
Give it a little time, please
I find it disgraceful and disrespectful that within hours of the Queen’s passing people were pushing the idea of a republic. Adam Bandt called for it in his condolence message. I know this discussion is inevitable, but can we please show a little sensitivity and, at the very least, wait until after the funeral.
Robyn Lovell, Epping
Symbol of solidity
My 79-year-old mother arrived in Australia with her parents in 1954 as a 10-year-old displaced person from the war in Europe. Her father was a doctor, her mother illiterate. Mum’s dad died within 12 months of their arrival here. Mum told me that in this strange place on the other side of the world, the Queen was her symbol of solidity, hope and reassurance – not the Royal House of Windsor, nor some bloated, out-of-touch patriarchy, but Elizabeth herself, a young woman. It helped my mother and her mother feel like they belonged, were welcome and looked after. I thought it was an interesting perspective on the monarchy, through the lens of the Australian migrant experience with all its trepidations and fragility. It makes me appreciative and grateful. And while I am ambivalent about the Crown, maybe right now – at least for a day or two – is not the time for grandstanding about the alternatives.
John Skaro, Malvern
A model compliment
The historian A.J.P. Taylor described George V as ″a model of constitutional rectitude″, and the compliment is every bit as applicable to his late grand-daughter.
Bill James, Frankston
The glorious age
The second glorious Elizabethan age has come to an end with the passing of our beloved Queen and head of state. This wonderful life of service, devotion to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth was matched with her perpetual empathy and love for the disadvantaged. Combining the regal bearing of long-reigning monarch with the winsome smile so evident in her outings to meet her people, Elizabeth II was simply a wonderful human being. Undergirded by a strong Christian faith, this magnificent lady fulfilled her consecration vows to the end and the fragrance of her beautiful life will never be forgotten.
Peter Curtis, Werribee South
For most citizens within the Commonwealth, we have only known the Queen’s presence and poise during our lives. While her death at 96 will not surprise us, it will still strike and sadden us as unexpected, for the Queen’s devotion to duty as a symbol of stability has been something of a bulwark for more than 70 years during repeated tremulous seasons in our civil history. Our world often changed, but somehow, curiously and mercifully, she did not.
In her first Christmas broadcast in 1952, still six months before her coronation, she made the following request: “I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day – to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making and that I may faithfully serve him, and you, all the days of your life.“
As the simply remarkable Elizabethan age now comes to a settled end, how apt are Christ’s words, ″Well done, good and faithful servant.″
God save the Queen. And long live the King.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Time for change
Condolences to the royal family and British people on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and warm congratulations to King Charles III who has served the world’s longest apprenticeship. Long may he reign over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
However, now is the time for us to move to have our own Australian head of state.
James Young, Mount Eliza
A bunch of roses
For as long as I’ve lived, the Queen has always been there, a stable and reassuring backdrop to my life. The world has changed out of sight during the past 50 years, but she was always there with a ready smile and her retinue of corgis.
In 1977, I was lucky enough to be selected as one of only two representatives from my school year level to see the Queen in person at her Silver Jubilee Parade in Melbourne. I bought a large bunch of red roses to give to her.
I remember being very worried when I took the roses to school, because I thought my classmates would tease me about them. Instead, everyone thought it was absolutely wonderful that I’d bought them for her.
At the parade itself in Royal Park (next to the Zoo), there were so many people that her procession was reduced to a couple of vehicles. The Queen sat in a high, open-topped car so she could wave to everyone.
Alas, once it became clear the car was not going to stop, I panicked as I had no idea how I was going to give the roses to her. I was lucky enough to have a spot very near the roped-off barrier so I stepped under it and held up the flowers so she could see them. The driver slowed and I tossed them up to her. The Queen caught them and gave me a big smile.
I even appeared on TV, just for a very few moments, in the act of throwing her the roses. But mum was very disappointed because she’d hoped for a photo of me with the Queen. Our 1977 photo album has an ostentatiously blank page to remind me of the missed opportunity. God save the Queen! We’ll miss you.
Mason Blunt, Doncaster
I had absolutely nothing personal against Queen Elizabeth II. In her long reign she displayed all the strengths and frailties of most decent human beings.
However, during the royal visit of 1963 our teachers at a small rural primary school had organised for the entire school to catch a train to Melbourne to see the Queen and Prince Philip. I was the only pupil who opted out, preferring to stay home. I couldn’t understand why there was going to be such adulation for a person whose claim to fame was being born into a wealthy family that lived thousands of miles from our shores. I didn’t realise it then but at the time I was perhaps Australia’s youngest republican.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
Named in honour
On June 29, 1953, the newly crowned monarch performed one of her first official duties: to inspect the entire fleet of the Royal Navy. The fleet was assembled in Derry harbour, Northern Ireland, it being the only port large enough to host so many vessels.
My father was a young Royal Navy lieutenant. On that day I believe he was presented to her majesty aboard the royal barge. He saluted and bowed, and then they shook hands in mutual respect.
Meanwhile on that same day, near Portsmouth, England, another naval base and my parents’ home town, my mother delivered their third child. A girl. So while my mother shook hands with the midwife, and my father shook hands with the Queen, the decision was made that I should be called Regina.
And that is how I got my name.
(Re)Gina Brotchie, Soldiers Hill
The steady reign
I woke to gentle rain then heard the news that Queen Elizabeth II had died and immediately thought the following haiku:
″The rain outside is softly crying
The Queen is dead
God save King Charles.″
King of Australia
Lamenting the Queen’s death, we must also welcome the new monarch and start using the term “King of Australia”. That is warranted under our Royal Style and Titles Act which recognises the Australian Crown and the monarch’s position as head of the Commonwealth of nations.
However, the transition which occurred at the moment of the Queen’s passing, will require no restatement of allegiance by any current civic authority, since every politician, judge, police officer and member of the defence force has promised not only to serve Queen Elizabeth II but also her heirs and successors, and therefore owe immediate loyalty to the new sovereign.
David D’Lima, Sturt, SA
A new chapter?
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we enter new possibilities for Australia – we thank her for her service, but can we now become a republic?
A life of service
Queen Elizabeth II was a woman with a strong Christian faith, a true servant leader. A woman, who when she took her vows, handed over her life to serve. May she rest in peace.
Jennifer Le Messurier, Kyneton
No more a colony
The Queen is dead. Perhaps an appropriate time for the colony of Australia to sever its connection with the British monarchy and simultaneously remove the imperialist symbol from the corner of our flag.
The long reigns
Three out of four of the longest reigning monarchs of Great Britain in the past 1200 years were women. The first two – Elizabeth I and Victoria – oversaw two great empires from a small island.
Elizabeth II was a steady pilot for the nation for seven decades So why the problem with women in Australia running organisations – touch of cultural misogyny perhaps?
Laurie Mason, Fairhaven
AND ANOTHER THING
For some reason I thought Queen Elizabeth II would live forever.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East
The second Elizabethan era has finally come to an end, but let’s hope the dignity, kindness and grace which so typified her reign will never end. World leaders in every sphere of life can learn much from her peerless example.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
I am a dyed in the wool republican for our country. Nevertheless, I consider the late Queen the greatest public figure in my long lifetime – she was always dignified, measured and respectful.
Michael Helman, St Kilda East
Nations in mourning and a warm statesmanlike speech from our PM (eschewing talk of a republic) as we are reminded of our mortality.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Thank you, Ma’am.
Kevin Rugg, Sandringham
Vale Queen Elizabeth II. No one can replace your regal presence. We grew up with you on the throne and regard you as the measure of what a leader should inspire throughout the world.
Robert Scheffer, Bayswater North
It’s time to think about a republic.
Sandra Torpey, Hawthorn
Even though I am a republican I shed a tear for the Queen, a life of service well-lived is really something to admire and respect.
Nola Cormick, Albert Park
I’m old enough to remember the proclamation: “The king is dead, long live the queen”. She did, and did it well, but does Australia really need a king?
Kevan Porter, Alphington
I am not a royalist, however, if we had more people like Queen Elizabeth, the world would be a far better place.
Steve Barrett, Glenbrook
Please may we now become a republic?
Phil Bodel, Ocean Grove
Thank you Mrs Simpson
Susie Holt, South Yarra
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