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Mitchell Shire memories of the Queen’s visits

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By Pam Kiriakidis

Kilmore’s Brian Clancy recalls the moment he sat at Kilmore East Railway Station as an eight-year-old when Queen Elizabeth II came past with Prince Phillip on a train, as part of their 1954 Royal Tour of Australia.

Mr Clancy, the current Kilmore Historical Society president, said when news reached his farm that the Queen was passing, his family of four knew they had to finish milking the cows and make their way to the station.  

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“Just the fact that she was going to Kilmore East, we thought we better go down there and have a look,” he said.

The railway station was packed with about 200 people, waving their flags at Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip on the royal train.

“Nobody had any idea exactly when the train was coming through. There were rumours that it could stop, but we did know that they were travelling in the royal train, which had a landing out the back that the royalty could go to and wave,” Mr Clancy said.

“There was no station master then – he would have signed off at that time of the day – so we had no idea exactly when the train was coming through.”

When the time came, the train slowed, but Mr Clancy only caught a slight glimpse of the Queen.

“[As former] Prime Minister Robert Menzies quoted ‘I did but see her passing by’ and I think that’s what we were left with,” he said.

“We understand that the train might have stopped at Seymour, and then went to Albury.”

The royal train ran for six days, slowing down at Seymour in the evening. Seymour Railway Heritage Centre now holds state cars five and four, which carried royalty.

Mr Clancy also found himself in another royal interaction at a government event with Prince Charles in October 1974, the Queen’s son who was officially proclaimed King Charles III following her death on September 8.

The government event was a function for youth organisation representatives.

Mr Clancy said his wife Carmen was the state president of Young Farmers and was given an opportunity to greet Prince Charles.

“We enjoyed the occasion … to go down to government’s house was quite impressive,” he said.

“What impressed me were all the different security people or minders moving around him, [who] kept moving him on.”

Jason Ronald, president of the Seymour Agricultural and Pastoral Society and a director of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, said he was fortunate to be presented to the Queen on several occasions.

The first time was at a reception at the National Gallery of Victoria hosted by then-Premier Lindsay Thompson in 1981, as well as at a Commonwealth Games reception in Sydney in 2006 on the invitation of former Prime Minister John Howard when Mr Ronald was chairman of the Royal Over-Seas League, ROSL, Australia.

Mr Ronald was also presented to the Queen in 2010 at St James Palace in London when he attended a centenary reception for the ROSL.

Mr Ronald said the Queen was charming, easy to talk to and interested in all things to do with Australia, as well as knowledgeable about important matters.

He praised the Queen for her dedication and service to the people of Australia, United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

Mr Ronald said the Queen’s interest in agricultural societies was well known, along with her interest in horses and horse racing.

The Queen’s daughter Princess Anne is president of the Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth.

“The sudden death of the Queen had been a shock to people around the globe and there was an understanding that her devotion to her people throughout the Commonwealth had been demonstrated through selfless service and an exemplary regard for the principles of constitutional monarchy,” he said.

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