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PM renames Canberra landmark island as a perpetual tribute to Queen Elizabeth

Air Force aircraft from No.100 Squadron and Central Flying School conduct a flypast and aerial display during a ceremony to rename Aspen Island to Queen Elizabeth II Island. Photo: AAP
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Australia has renamed one of Canberra’s most distinctive landmarks in honour of the Queen.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese presided over the renaming of Canberra’s Aspen Island on the southeastern side of Lake Burley Griffin within a ceremonial precinct known as the Parliamentary Triangle.

Now formally known as Queen Elizabeth II Island as part of Australia’s celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the location is home to the 57-bell Australian National Carillon built in 1970 as a gift from Great Britain.

“Like Canberra itself, like this lake, this island, the Carillon was an act of imagination, a touchstone of both tradition and progress,” Mr Albanese said on Saturday.

“Her Majesty said at the time, the bells’ harmony will be a reminder of the enduring ties of kinship between Britain and Australia and, indeed, they have been.”

Echo of Big Ben

The Prime Minister noted the bells chime every quarter hour as “an echo of Big Ben” at London’s Houses of Parliament.

Mr Albanese, whose newly installed government has appointed the nation’s first assistant minister for the republic, said the Queen had stood with Australia as a “true and steadfast friend, through the good times and also the hard times”.

“Indeed, she has been constant in our ever-changing world, a singular figure who has reigned through some of the most profound moments of the post-war era, through some of the greatest turning points in modern history,” he said.

In a speech marking the Queen’s 70 years on the throne on Thursday, the Prime Minister said Australians held her in respect and affection, even though the bond with Britain was not what it was when she assumed her title in February 1952.

Landmarks across the country, including Parliament House and the Sydney Opera House, have this week been lit in royal purple to mark the Jubilee, which is being held over four days.

Australia’s Governor-General David Hurley hosted a Zoom call with the Queen and the nation’s 2022 Australian of the Year award recipients on May 9 as part of the commemorations.

The call coincided with the exact day the monarch opened Parliament House in Canberra 34 years earlier, a milestone Mr Hurley reminded her of.

“I don’t know whether it’s still there but there’s a little pond inside. I wondered how many people had fallen into it,” the Queen said.

The duo were joined on the call by Australian of the Year and retired wheelchair tennis champion Dylan Alcott, Senior Australian of the Year Valmai Dempsey, Local Hero Shanna Whan and Young Australian of the Year Dr Daniel Nour.

-with AAP