THE Queen insisted that there should be no gifts for her Diamond Jubilee – instead, she wanted people to contribute to a lasting legacy that would help communities around the world.
To celebrate Her Majesty’s unrivalled 60 year contribution to the Commonwealth the creation of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust was announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth in 2011. The Australian entity was launched in February, 2013.
The Australian entity, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia, jubileetrust.org.au ,was launched in February 2013, by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
It is chaired by former Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery. The purpose of the Trust is to raise funds throughout Australia and the Commonwealth to support projects that will enrich the lives of the people of those countries. It will join the world effort to eradicate avoidable blindness conditions in our region and the rest of the Commonwealth.This is part of a global movement to end avoidable blindness and the Australian arm will focus on trachoma, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
..The Queen of Australia …
The Queen has won the respect and admiration of Australians for her outstanding life of public service. In 1954, just two years after she became Queen, she became the first reigning monarch to come to Australia.
Since then, she has often been here on sixteen occasions, experiencing all aspects of the life and culture of our country and through her “Royal Walkabouts”, which she pioneered in 1970, has met many Australians. She has developed a warm and unique relationship with Australia and is extremely knowledgeable about our country.
In 1956, she sent Prince Charles to study at Geelong Grammar School’s Timbertop campus in at the foothills of the Victorian Alps and in 2011, she sent her grandson, Prince William, to visit flood victims in Queensland.
About 85 million people in Commonwealth countries are visually impaired, including 11 million who are blind – but 80 per cent of all cases are avoidable.Australia is the only developed country in the world to still have trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness.
With 58,000 people in indigenous communities infected, including 5000 children, the simple act of washing hands every morning and afternoon could reduce the number of cases by 60 per cent.
Launching the Australian Trust at Admiralty House on 11 February 2013 , the Governor-General Quentin Bryce said when she was in Vietnam she saw the revolutionary work of Australian medical staff with the Fred Hollows Foundation – one of the organisations that will be supported by the Trust.
"There, I removed bandages from the faces of women from rural areas who had undergone cataract surgery. I can't tell you how deeply touching it was to ask, 'Can you see me?'," she said.
"To sit on their beds and share grandma stories, to compliment them, the difference the surgery would make to their lives and their family's in both personal and economic terms.
The Chairman of the Trust, Major General Michael Jeffery, told guests at the launch: “In the course of 60 years on the throne, the Queen has developed a very strong personal relationship with Australia and its people through some 16 visits to our shores. “I believe my own deeply held respect and admiration for Her Majesty, is also shared by the Australian people, because of her impeccable personal example and her unmatched sense of service to us all. “The Trust gives citizens, governments and the private sector, the opportunity to provide a lasting tribute to Her Majesty across all generations and geographical boundaries, through the delivery of iconic, proven projects over a finite time frame of five years.” The Trust's patrons include former prime ministers John Howard and Bob Hawke, mining magnates Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest, and businessmen Anthony Pratt and Kerry Stokes. Australian of the Year Ita Buttrose also helped launch the campaign.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the government would contribute $5 million to the Trust and it is hoped more companies and individuals will donate via jubileetrust.org.au.