Prince William has told Australians that visiting their country is the realisation of a lifelong dream, reported Sarah Hughes, UK Sky TV’s Royal Correspondent (21/1). In a speech at the celebrations in Melbourne for  Australia Day celebrations, Prince William said that he had heard from his family about "the wonders of Australia" as far back as he could remember.

"My father had such a great time here at school – and is still misty-eyed about an immortal moment on Bondi, when an Australian beauty planted a smacker on his cheek," he said

"It's good to see this tradition is continuing!"

"I also remember my mother coming back from her time here in 1996, telling me what a profound impression this country had made on her, and how much she loved Australia.

"Three days here and now I know why.

"And of course, there's that other guy with the ginger hair – who just never ever stops banging on about you, and how I haven't lived because I haven't been to Australia … blah, blah, blah."

Sky TV included an extract of the Prince's speech on its web site which is accessed by its vast worldwide audience.

{youtube}xVRNfPvk4eg{/youtube}

Earlier, the Prince visited communities devastated by last year's bushfires and heard stories of tragedy and courage.

It is almost a year since Black Saturday – when the worst bushfires in Australian history raged across the state of Victoria. Some 173 people lost their lives and 2,000 homes were destroyed. It was clear thta his visit, and his evident concern was very much appreciated.

The Prince wrapped up his day, and his time down under, with an evening at the Australian Open where he was given a standing ovation as he watched Roger Federer beat Romanian Victor Hanescu.

Reported to her British and worldwide Sky TV audience, Ms Hughes assessed this visit to Australia:

 “His first official overseas tour has been judged a big success. William has charmed Australia and Australia has enchanted him”.

"If I may," he said, "I'll be back."