God save the King!

From a 14-year-old who is anchor of a news channel here in Oz. Leo is a Year 9 student in Victoria — happens that he had yesterday off school because of a staff development day. If he looks a little tired it is because hearing of the Queen’s (final) ill health he “pulled an all-nighter”! (His Twitter account gives the details.)

And from someone rather older:

In the treasured company of my grandfather, Roy Hampton Christison, whose father John, it is said, may have danced before Queen Victoria at Balmoral, I as a besotted 10-year-old stood by the railway line at Sutherland in February 1954.

Fairy Sparkle and the Old Queen — #Repost 1

Posted on  by Neil

Nice title, eh! Almost takes me back to the many hours I passed in the Albury Hotel all those years ago.

But no, the fact is today is the Old Queen’s Birthday – the official one that is – and there in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List is Fairy Sparkle.


And deservedly so: see Gongs galore, with a touch of fairy dust.

Glitter and wand make a rare addition to investitures and Fairy Sparkle has been honoured for her work with sick children and help in establishing ”Fairy Gardens” at six hospitals in NSW and Queensland.

”Nothing makes me happier than seeing a child’s face light up – and then seeing that same glow reflected in their parents’ faces. If I can wave my wand and make something positive happen, why wouldn’t I?”, said Ms Sparkle, who has volunteered in hospitals for 23 years and is now a holder of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). ”I’m a little bit left of field, so to have my work recognised is such a wonderful honour.”

The University of Wollongong Library has just released this delightful bit of nostalgia:

It was arguably one the biggest days in Wollongong’s history, with local dignitaries and thousands of spectators packed into the city centre to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their visit in February 1954.

Now, 60 years later, the excitement of the day has been brought back to life, with original footage of the Royal procession, as well as memorabilia including maps, programs and newspaper coverage, being published online by the University of Wollongong Library.

The seven-minute film, along with original commentary, has been digitised and published by the UOW Library in time for the Queen’s birthday long weekend.

See also Lesley Coombes, A 1954 royal flashmob and my posts 60 years ago today… and Sixty years on – and mortality. I wasn’t in Wollongong that day, but my grandfather Roy Christison and I did watch the Royal Train make its way back to Sydney.

Happily tugging my forelock: the Queen at 90 — #Repost 2

Posted on  by Neil

Earlier posts on Elizabeth R include Random Friday memory 28: seeing the Coronation from Sutherland (2015), The young princess and her 1933 wave (2015), Fairy Sparkle and the Old Queen (2014), Diamond Queen (2012), Oz Republic? (2008). In 1999 I voted in the referendum for the republic. In 2008 I wrote:

It will happen, no doubt about it, by 2050 if not by 2020. I honestly cannot imagine the current constitutional arrangements carrying on for all that much longer, but by 2050 I will of course be long dead. I guess though that at that time Australian Monarchists will seem rather like the Jacobites in McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series, and like those Jacobites they will probably still be having meetings. (The irony for the Jacobites is that they resent the displacement of the true monarchs of Scotland by the German Princeling George I, and instead look to another German Princeling, that of Bavaria, as the True Monarch. It’s true that the nearest descendant of James II is a Prince of Bavaria, but that line long since relinquished any claim themselves.)

Meanwhile, reading as I am the wonderful and sometimes cantankerous Norman Davies, this time Europe East & West, I should like to point out, as he does, that the last Queen of England was Anne. Since 1707 there have been no English monarchs as such; Elizabeth II (or perhaps to be quite accurate Elizabeth I) is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but not, technically, of England. All of which no longer has any direct relevance to Australia, but she ALSO happens to be Queen of Australia, and in that role is her connection with us. (See for the current position The Australia Act 1986.) Then there is of course the somewhat vaguer, but still I believe useful, Commonwealth, of which she is the head duly recognised by quite a few republics….

By 2012 I was saying:

I am not normally disturbed one way or the other by the fact Australia is a constitutional monarchy whose Head of State may or may not be an old lady who lives in England. (It is either her or the Governor-General, depending on who you ask or where you look.) As far as I am concerned the whole odd thing has a certain charm, and it works. Every time I see the ongoing saga of a US Presidential Election I am rather glad we are at least spared that – and spared the spectacle of turning the judiciary into yet another gaggle of elected politicians.

So roll on the Diamond Jubilee, as far as I am concerned. And I like the Queen…

And today with the Queen just turned 90 I may have moved even further, to the point where I am not sure big men in red bandanas really excite me into voting for a republic any time soon.


Yesterday I watched the 2002 telemovie Bertie and Elizabeth. First, it isn’t nearly as good as the 2010 The King’s Speech. But it isn’t all that bad either. There are some splendid performances: Robert Hardy as Roosevelt, for one, and David Ryall as Churchill. On the other hand Wallis Simpson is rendered rather as the Wicked Witch from the West – cartoonish. And there are some notable goofs.

A British Movietone Newsreel, complete with commentary, shows the Duke of York attending the Empire Exhibition at Wembley. This visit took place in October 1925 – not only is this four years before Movietone News began in Britain, but it is two years before sound film was invented. The Exhibition was covered by British Pathe News but the film is of course silent.

But I enjoyed revisiting the story nonetheless. See Review of Bertie And Elizabeth and a very thorough backgrounder on the Canadian blog Enchanted Serenity of Period Films:  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth – a peek into the past.


Still from Bertie and Elzabeth: death of George VI  in 1952


Conversation at City Diggers with a retired wharf labourer —  proud to be a leftie. “What do you think of the monarchy?” he asked. Turns out he is all in favour of it these days! You never know, do you?

Now the case of P J Keating — republican extraordinaire

I am actually quite a fan of this former Prime Minister — and I take these two items together with a degree of pleasure, even though I am no longer a dead cert to say “yes” to a republic — and I did say “yes” in the 1999 referendum — because contemplation of Donald Trump and the weirdness of the US voting systens have made me more devoted to the Westminster System with Australian adjustments like preferential and compulsory voting and even the constutional monarchy it currently is packaged with.

Around 10 years ago — and typical PJK!

But yesterday this rather beautful statement:

Very well said PJK!

Solemn music

And apparently this is the very first time….

3 thoughts on “God save the King!

  1. RIP Queen Elizabeth ll. When I was lad in Detroit, my Scottish grandmother would update us on the Royal family every time she visited. Prince Charles is only a few years older than you, Billy, she’d say back then, and he’s a good boy, too. Well, all I want to say is God Save the King!

    • The Albanese government has for the first time appointed an Assistant Minister for the Republic, committing to a transition to an Australian republic in Labor’s second term. If thet get one! Yes, the process certainly was for many awaiting the death of the Queen.

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