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'Within the Commonwealth Realm' – Australia

<![CDATA[Comprised of six states and multiple territories, the country of Australia is one of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms. What is now known as Sydney, the British colonized as a penal colony in 1788. Then, in 1901, former British colonies formed together to create the Commonwealth of Australia – an independent dominion of the British Empire. After the Imperial Conference of 1926, Australia developed independent government and the Crown was now made to be represented by the Governor-General.
Today, the Governor-General represents The Queen nationally and Governors for each state, all which of their roles are primarily symbolic. The Governor-General has the ability to summon and prorogue parliament and call elections, and is also Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. However, all these powers are almost never used without advice from the Prime Minister.
The Queen has visited Australia sixteen times for various occasions, from the 200 year anniversary of Lieutenant James Cook’s discovery of Australia, to the opening of now world-famous Sydney Opera House in 1973.
This past year has seen visits from Prince William, Catherine and Prince George, which was a much-anticipated tour, drawing world-wide attention.


Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Blue Mountains in 2014.

When in Australia, Queen Elizabeth is referred to as Queen of Australia, or her full title: ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’. Her flag consists of a six piece shield (a section for each State), with an ermine border. In the middle there is a seven-point gold star, a blue disk, a gold chaplet of roses and a crowned E.
In Australia, Queen Elizabeth’s birthday is celebrated as a public holiday. However, it is celebrated on different days depending which State you are in and none on The Queen’s actual birthday, April 21st. Each year, the Australian Post issues a stamp celebrating her birthday. The states Queensland and Victoria were named for Queen Victoria. The Capital of South Australia, Adelaide, was after her namesake, Queen Adelaide.
In return Queen Elizabeth has reciprocated her respect for Australia with monuments such as Hyde Park Corner in London. Home to the Australian War Memorial, which acknowledges the sacrifices of service men and women in the two World Wars, strengthening the continuous bond between countries.
Featured photo credit: ? Indigo Skies Photography ? via photopin  cc
Photo credit: Blue Mountains Library via photopin  cc]]>