IN less than a month London is going to be transformed. Not from Olympic fever or Trenton Oldfield histrionics (fingers crossed) but from a righteous celebration that will be the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is going to be more than just a couple of days off work for the hard minions of London. It is going to be more than just the bunting and Union Jacks hailed from high and dotted around the English capital and the whole United Kingdom.
No, it is going to be a festival to remember and a festival to celebrate Her Majesty’s 60 year reign. London will be the centrepiece of the event, and the conduit of emotion and celebration and colour and verve will be the snaking grey concourse that is the River Thames. It is going to be (apparently) ‘the greatest show the Thames has ever seen’!
Now, you may be wondering why I am getting so excited about such a shindig. As Australians, it will mean little to us, no? That is where you would be wrong. While I remain a staunch republican and long to see our great nation of Australia unfettered by the chains of a monarchy that is rooted in a nation far, far away on the otherside of the world, I still respect The Queen and her right to govern her country. I admire her longevity in her role and the huge part she has played in British history. And I commend her for allowing Australia, our country, to have it’s place in her Jubilee celebrations.
Yes, expat Aussies of London, the Jubilee is going to feature our countrymen and women of the land Down Under. And this is why I am getting excited about this momentous occasion. A lucky few of our compatriots will have the chance to share in this moment and shine on the grandest of stages. Already in the Diamond Jubilee press releases and paraphernalia they are extolling the virtues of Oz. “The island continent pioneered Internet Wi-Fi, Google Maps, the black box flight recorder, solar hot water and the refrigerator. Spray-on-skin, the bionic ear, electronic pacemaker and world’s first feature film also came from the country considered home by 12 Nobel Prize winners.” That is what they are saying about us! How exciting is that? More commonly remembered as a nation of sportsmen and breathtaking landscapes, Australia is finally being taken seriously.
And that is why, when the Queen’s Flotilla sails down the River Thames on Sunday 3 June, Australia will be an integral part. Our Aussie brethren will line the riverside and in the midst of the action, Aussie surf lifesavers will be representing our nation. Nine Australian surf boats will make up part of the 1,000 strong flotilla and are set to sail between the flags and ahead of the Royal barge. It is a reflection of the importance of not just the people of Australia and what they give to Britain, but also of the global surf lifesaving movement and the many lives that have been saved, and will continue to be saved, because of it.
So London Australians. I urge you to get out there on the Jubilee Sunday, wearing our national colours with pride, and support our fellow Aussies who will be helping make the event such a memorable one. Spare a thought for the thousands of lifesaver volunteers who go about their business every day back home. Spare a thought for the men and women, like you, who continue to represent Australia’s good name. And spare a thought for Queen Liz. Because 60 years is a bloody long time to be in any job, let alone her one. Here’s to Her Maj, for She’s a jolly good fellow!
What will you be doing for the Diamond Jubilee? Tell us below: