• Seeing Her Majesty The Queen in Perth at CHOGM 2011
  • Seeing Her Majesty The Queen in Perth at CHOGM 2011
    Written by battye
    Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:01 pm
     


    Queen Elizabeth II visted Australia for the 16th time as the English monarch during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting between 28 and 30 October 2011. CHOGM was staged in Perth, Western Australia and the event marked the Queen's 8th visit to the state.

    The Queen had several engagements in Perth including a visit to Clontarf Aboriginal Academy and hosting a private garden party at Government House. Before departing for England, one final event was held in Her Majesty's presence - the Big Aussie Barbeque.

    Like an estimated 100,000 other Western Australians, I braved the perfect weather conditions and went into the CBD on Saturday, October 29 to witness what could be the 85 year old monarch's final engagegment in Australia. Despite being a fantastic turn-out, it was no doubt reduced by an ill-conceived notion that the traffic in Perth would be torturous. Despite a number of road closures due to CHOGM, parking was easily available if you knew where to look. Plenty of free parking is available on weekends in certain parts of West Perth and the free central area transit (CAT) buses ensure the heart of the CBD is just several minutes away.

    From West Perth, the bus travels along Wellington Street past the old Entertainment Centre (now demolished) to the Wellington Street bus station. The return journey to West Perth runs west along Hay Street from William Street

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    The Big Aussie Barbeque was taking place by the Swan River foreshore on the Esplanade, which is about a 900 metre walk from Wellington Street. After walking south down William St and cutting through Hay St Mall and the picturesque Trinity Arcade, police could be seen ushering the large crowd an in easterly direction as the main viewing area by the Esplanade was already at capacity. All of St Georges Terrace down to Victoria Avenue was barracaded to stop people from crossing the road.

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    On Riverside Drive by the foreshore was the best position to view the passing motorcade with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The royal couple passed twice and waved to the crowd, firstly towards the Esplanade to address the crowd and once more as they headed to Perth International Airport to depart Australia. Both times they were accompanied by a large security escort including the full quota of police on horseback!

    The first minor controversy of the royal visit was when the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, did not curtsy to the Queen upon her arrival in Canberra. A second minor controversy occurred in Perth after the master of ceremonies for the Big Aussie Barbeque, former ABC weatherman Russell Woolf, was instructed by the event organisers to introduce the Queen without wearing a tie.

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    Big TV screens were set up along Riverside Drive to view all of the action while barbeques also featured prominently. Delicious sausages and bread was available for a gold coin donation while free water stations were also installed.

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    The Big Aussie Barbeque was an enjoyable and very well run family friendly government-event which raised over $250,000 for charities.
     
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