Sunday, 11 September 2022

Just as on the 8th of February 1952, South Australia’s twenty-third governor, Lt General Sir Willoughby Norrie, stood here on the steps of Parliament House and proclaimed the accession of a young Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, so today, seventy years later, I stand as South Australia’s thirty-sixth governor to proclaim her son as our King.

As the Vice Regal representative in South Australia it is a privilege to do so, albeit under the sad circumstances, which, of necessity, herald the succession.

The thoughts of all South Australians are with King Charles III and the Royal Family in their grief.

Her late Majesty had a deep and abiding affection for Australia. King Charles’ love for our country and its citizens was founded in his teenage years when he attended Timbertop School in Victoria for two terms in 1966.

There he embraced the rugged beauty of our landscape and the spirit of our people.

South Australians enthusiastically welcomed the then Prince of Wales to our State on six occasions.  Our King knows us well, just as our Queen did.

In marking his accession to the throne, we acknowledge the bountiful legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whose unwavering service to the Realms and the Commonwealth will continue through the service of her son.

Words cannot adequately express the high esteem in which her Majesty was held, the deep respect which her extraordinary life of service commanded or the love she engendered.

Her messages of hope and sympathy inspired Australians in times of need when we battled floods, bushfires and drought. Her messages of respect for our service men and women were from the heart.

Let us not forget that as well as monarch, the Queen was also a devoted wife, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Like many of us, she experienced both joy and sadness in these roles, but her enduring grace and dignity reminded us all of the importance of family and community.

At Government House we have welcomed - and will continue to do so during the period of mourning - people who come to honour this remarkable woman.

South Australians and visitors from all walks of life wanting to express their grief in a tangible way; young children with bright eyes telling me “we have a new king”; people quietly conveying their thanks for a life devoted to service.

Rod and I were touched by a group of Kaurna people, including Uncle Moogy, who came to perform a smoking ceremony as a way of conveying their respects to the Queen and in preparation for a new beginning. It was powerful gesture of Reconciliation.

Her Majesty was the only monarch most South Australians have ever known, and an enduring symbol of stability, strength and hope.

Their heartfelt messages, written in the condolence books, speak for all of us.

Let me share a few:

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was an incredible model of strength and dignity. She was the epitome of all that a leader should be. Her loss will be mourned by many. Sending comfort to her family.”

“A constant person in my life. I feel like I lost a grandmother today. Thank you for everything you did for our country.”

“Rest in peace your Majesty. Reunited with your beloved Phillip once more. Thank you for your lifetime of service. For being an example of a strong, passionate woman. What a legacy you leave behind. God Bless.”

“All the best King Charles for your journey ahead.”

“His Majesty the King will be loved by us just like we loved you.”

As Governor, I have sent a letter to the King conveying deepest condolences on behalf of all South Australians and wishing him well in the discharge of the heavy responsibilities which he now so willingly shoulders.

Long live the King.