Queensland Remembers Queen Elizabeth the Second
Her Excellency today joins with all Queenslanders in mourning the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second on 8 September 2022.
She had served as Queensland’s Head of State since February 1952. At 3pm on the 8th of February 1952, the then Governor, Lieutenant General Sir John Dudley Lavarack, read the proclamation of her accession to the throne from the balcony of Parliament House, and a 21-gun salute was fired at Victoria Barracks on Petrie Terrace.
Governor Lavarack was the first of 12 Governors to serve as Her Majesty’s personal representative in Queensland, and the first to welcome her to the State as Queen of Australia, the year after her coronation on 2 June 1953.
The triumphant 1954 tour was to be the first of a total of eight visits she would make to Queensland.
On the first visit, Queen Elizabeth was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and spent seven days in Queensland. Public holidays were declared and people turned out in their thousands to see the Royal couple.
Her Majesty’s second visit to the State was in March 1963 as part of a Royal Tour of Australia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Canberra. The Royal couple visited Brisbane and Coolangatta, arriving in the Royal Yacht HMS Britannia and staying at Government House as guests of the then Governor of Queensland, Colonel Sir Henry Abel Smith, and his wife, Lady May.
Queen Elizabeth II returned with The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne in April 1970, as part of the bicentenary celebrations of Captain James Cook’s voyage up the east coast of Australia. Her visit took in Brisbane, Longreach, Mount Isa and Townsville as well as Cooktown where she unveiled a memorial stone on the site where the Endeavour landed.
In March 1977 during the Silver Jubilee year of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Brisbane for three days during which they attended a state reception at Cloudland Ballroom and unveiled a silver jubilee fountain at the Queensland Cultural Centre.
The Royal couple again visited Brisbane on the occasion of the Commonwealth Games in September 1982 when Her Majesty officiated at the colourful closing ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Sports Centre which she had opened five years earlier, during her 1977 tour.
World Expo ‘88 was opened by The Queen during her visit to Brisbane in April 1988, arriving at the opening ceremony by Royal Barge from the HMS Britannia.
In March 2002, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh made a short visit to Brisbane and Cairns, and to Coolum where she opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Queen Elizabeth II made her final visit to Queensland in October 2011 to attend a Queensland Government Reception in Brisbane for those affected by the natural disasters during the summer of 2010–2011.
The strength of the bond between the peoples of the Commonwealth member states and their sovereign was powerfully expressed in April 2020 when she broadcast a special message, as COVID-19 spread rapidly around the world. Her wisdom and calm assurance were a source of strength, encouragement and solace to all.
This year, we had the pleasure celebrating The Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee, acknowledging her remarkable 70 years of service to the people of Queensland and the Commonwealth as our longest-reigning monarch.
From childhood, The Queen was held in great affection by Queenslanders and was respected and admired throughout her long and successful reign for the impeccable, gracious and dignified service she gave.