Skip to main content

Saturday, 6 June 2020
Government House, Sydney
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales

Sixty-six years ago, Her Majesty sat here on the Arcade at Government House, with Prince Philip, my predecessor Governor Northcott, and his daughter Elizabeth, who was deputising for her mother who, sadly, had been ill for some time.  It was February 1954 and this snapshot looks to be a short moment of respite in Her Majesty’s programme on a sparkling summer’s day.

Sydney was the first port of call for the young Queen in a tour that took in 57 towns and cities over 8 weeks. In New South Wales, the Queen and Prince Philip attended 28 major programs over 10 days.[1]

This weekend we mark the Queen’s official birthday. At 94 years of age, her affection for Australia has remained undimmed and except recently, because of the pandemic, her schedule has barely slowed.

In correspondence over the last 12 months, Her Majesty has shared messages of encouragement with us at difficult times.

In October last year, Her Majesty sent a message of support as the bushfires in New South Wales had started to get out of control.

I subsequently wrote to Her Majesty, keeping her informed of the impact of the bushfires on communities and businesses across northern New South Wales. The bushfires continued to devastate communities over the ensuing months as far south as the Victorian border – and across the border and westwards across the Great Dividing Range. 

In April this year, Her Majesty again had our citizens at the forefront of her concerns as we navigated the challenges of COVID-19.

On that occasion, Her Majesty said:

“Whilst it can be difficult to remain hopeful in such challenging times, especially following the summer's devastating bushfires and recent flooding, I am confident that the stoic and resilient nature of the Australian people will rise to the challenge.”[2]

Her Majesty shared calm words of leadership in her address to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth[3] regarding the Coronavirus, and again, on  the 75th Anniversary of VE Day where she recalled the message of VE Day, in words so apt for what the world is now going through: “Never give up, never despair.”[4]

This weekend, there will be no parades or ceremonies here at Government House. Her Majesty has indicated that those events are unsuitable at this time of the pandemic.

Today, as the representative of the people of New South Wales, I want to say thank you for the way you have responded to the disruption and demands of the COVID-19 crisis. Your actions, your concern for others, your sense of community, your spirit of service has undoubtedly saved lives.

May you have an enjoyable Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Back to Top