This is a report in the section on the Diamond Jubilee on the ACM site.
In many ways Australians were preparing for the Diamond Jubilee in the reception they gave The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on her visit to Australia late last year for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
All along the Brisbane River, and in Melbourne around Federation Square, Australians gathered to honour the Sovereign. And then, for the farewell, over 120,000 gathered along the banks of the Swan River in Perth.
As the accession approached, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy gathered in Sydney at Parliament House on the Friday before (3/2) to hear Professor Anne Twomey speak on changes to the succession. The large assembly asked the National Convenor to convey her appreciation and loyalty to The Queen.
No doubt what was happening in Sydney was but a mirror of what was happening elsewhere.
On the Sunday evening (5/2) a large congregation attended Evensong at Christ Church St Lawrence in Sydney.
…60th Accession Day….
Then on Monday, Accession Day itself, the bells of the nation’s oldest church, St James, rang across the city in celebration. At a magnificent ecumenical service, in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer, the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, His Eminence Cardinal George Pell praised The Queen and the institution of monarchy. He contrasted the stability the monarchy offers, and emphasised its Judeo-Christian origins. The service included a Te Deum.
When the service ended the bells rang out again from the legal and parliamentary precinct across the city.
"It does not seem 60 years since those pre-television days in Australia when we followed her Coronation in Westminster Abbey," the Cardinal told the packed congregation, according to Jane Fraser’s report in The Australian (7/2).
"Although we could only follow by radio, newsreels, newspapers and magazines, there was probably even more interest in the coronation than in the recently televised wedding ceremony of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and that generated huge audiences around the world."
Her Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir and the Chief Justice of New South Wales, the Hon.Tom Bathurst QC read the lessons. The Governor then presided at a lunch offered at Parliament House, addressing a large assembly in the Strangers’ Room. The Premier, the Hon Barry O’Farrell also spoke on the significance of the occasion.
The former Prime Minister John Howard OM AC addressed a packed formal dinner in Sydney that evening, for which there was a long waiting list.
And in Melbourne the dining room of the magnificent Windsor Hotel was filled for a dinner arranged by a number of dedicated not-for-profit Commonwealth associations, and attended by two former Governors-General, General Michael Jeffery and Dr.Peter Hollingworth.
We will be posting other reports as these come to hand.
Four months ago, Jane Fraser writes in The Australian , Queen Elizabeth II won a legion of new admirers during her 16th trip to Australia.
In the meantime, “likes” or “fans” of the ACM Facebook page have just gone over 30,000, at the time of writing 30,245.
Facebook offers precise statistics of usage. Almost 40% of fans are under 24. Unlike visitors to our website, where one quarter are from overseas, most are Australian. Of those who saw content on the page in the last week, 64% are under 24. Among the most active –the statistic is “talking about”- 43% are under 24.
Australian politicians and church leaders have joined in praising The Queen.
"For today, it is enough to say we are marking a remarkable event for our monarch," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.
"She is the second person to reach the diamond jubilee anniversary. A truly remarkable event."
Jane Fraser reported that the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, noted the warmth and enthusiasm that greeted The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh when they visited Australia last year.
It was a "reflection of the immense regard in which you continue to be held", she said in a message Buckingham Palace.
The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, who Ms. Fraser noted was the former executive director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, offered his congratulations.
“It was sixty years ago today that Her Majesty The Queen ascended the throne on the death of her father, King George VI,” he said.
“Though The Queen will formally celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in June it is appropriate that we acknowledge today The Queen’s sixty years of service.
“As evidenced by the tens of thousands who greeted her during her most recent visit last year, The Queen has a special place in the hearts of all Australians
"The Queen's first Australian prime minister was Sir Robert Menzies. No less than 11 Australian prime ministers and 17 opposition leaders have come and gone in those 60 years."
"Whilst the Queen herself has been unchanging in her commitment to the values of service and loyalty, the Crown has evolved with the people it serves."
“Over the past sixty years, for instance, the office of Governor- General has evolved into a fully Australian office.
“Today Australians will think of our Queen with respect and affection.
“I hope all Australians will have the opportunity to celebrate and commemorate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee during 2012. The Coalition will be supportive of appropriate national commemorations that honour this significant event.”