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The Outback mourns Queen Elizabeth II

Members of the Bourke district gathered around the Bourke Cenotaph last Thursday, to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo TWH

Members of the Bourke and wider outback community gathered around the Bourke cenotaph last Thursday, to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

After a wreath laying, a combined church ceremony, and the singing of the Australian National Anthem and God Save The King, Bourke Mayor, Councillor Barry Hollman took to the podium to share a few words about the Queen and recite the speech that the (then) Bourke Mayor, Wayne O’Mally, made when the Queen visited.

“It is my great pleasure to welcome your Majesty and your Royal Highness to Bourke,” the speech went.

“Your visit here is an immense privilege and an honour for the residents of the town, district, and the western area of NSW.

“This is a relatively small community, but it represents a large part of NSW, with Bourke Shire covering an area of 43,000 square kilometres.

“On behalf of the Bourke community, I thank you most sincerely for giving us this unique opportunity to be your host and to show you some of the success stories within the shire.

“Such are the achievements of the irrigation industry, educational programs, and radio stations 2CUZ FM and 2WEB.

“During the past decade, regional Australia has suffered difficulties; however, this community, a resourceful and committed one, has demonstrated a strong will to survive and prosper.

“The mighty Darling River has always been Bourke’s heart and soul; our community is now profiting economically and socially from the innovative irrigation industry the river has made possible.

“This contrasts with an earlier era where more wool was consigned from the Bourke railway station than anywhere else in the world.

“The river also contributes significantly to tourism, which is recognised by the theme chosen for our proposed Back O’Bourke heritage project.

“This exciting project, when completed, together with Russell Mansell’s replica of the Jandra paddleboat, will accelerate the expansion of our tourism industry, which will benefit from the sealing of the Kidman Way and the Kamilaroi Highway.

“Your Majesty, Queen of Australia, thank you for your recognition of the achievements of the people of this area by your presence.

“We hope you have enjoyed your visit to Bourke.”

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