During her long reign of 70 years, late Queen Elizabeth developed special relationship with Australia and its people.
She first visited the continent two years after her coronation. Reports are that she had been there fifteen more times during her ruling and was looking forward to each of those visits.
As a constitutional monarch, the Queen was not involved in the day-to-day activities of the Australian Government but played important ceremonial and symbolic roles, one now passed to her heir, King Charles the Third.
Back in 1999, Australians voted on a referendum of whether or not they wanted the Queen to be retained their head of state. It ended with 55% voting in favor of keeping the monarchy, mainly because many were concerned about what the model of a future republic would look like.
In the past, Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia who served between 2015 to 2018, referred to the people of Australia as “Elizabethans.” In a room full of people gathered in the Great Hall of Sydney University in 2016, he said: “The vast majority of Australians have known no other head of state than the Queen.
“She is so admired and respected that few of us can say — whether monarchists or republicans — that we are not Elizabethans.”
Before the referendum took place, many significant people, among which politicians, visited Britain and had meetings with the Queen.
One of those people was Patrick Lionel Djargun Dobson, an elder of the Yawuru people. He, alongside an Aboriginal delegation, met Her Majesty in 1999.
In the ABC documentary The Queen and Us, Dobson recalled how the Queen treated the Indigenous leaders with dignity and respect “for the first time in our lives.” While he spoke of the meeting with her, Dobson got overwhelmed with emotions.
“It’s a funny thing, to feel a bit emotional about it because she was so welcoming,” he was reported to have said. “And she thanked us for coming. I think for the first time in our lives, we were treated properly. She treated us as human beings.”
In November 1986, 36 years ago, late Queen Elizabeth II penned a letter to the people of Sydney. Today, the letter lies in a vault in one of Australia’s historic buildings, the Queen Victoria Building, and wouldn’t be opened in the next 63 years.
The letter is addressed to the “Right and Honourable Lord Mayor of Sydney, Australia” and signed by the Queen. Ever since it was written, it has sat inside a glass case inside a restricted area in its dome.
“Greetings. On a suitable day to be selected by you in the year 2085 A.D. would you please open this envelope and convey to the citizens of SYDNEY my message to them,” the Queen’s instruction read.
The content of the letter has never been seen by anyone, except for the Queen herself.
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