"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's Funeral

While I recognize this as a dramatic departure from the normal content of my blogsite I feel quite strongly about the content and would like to share it with you.

On Tuesday May 3rd the State Funeral of Sir Joh Bjelke- Petersen was held in his home town of Kingaroy, Queensland.

Sir Joh was Queensland’s longest serving Premier, with a term of just over 19 years for the Country (subsequently National) Party.

The circumstances leading to my attending this funeral were;

(a) Kingaroy’s location, a 90 minute trip from home.

(b) The fact that I had never attended a State Funeral

(c) I have a dear friend, who, as an ex-resident of Kingaroy, had expressed a desire to go.

(d) I Had long been an admirer of the good that Joh did his beloved Queensland.

So with the stage set, so to speak, we headed for Kingaroy.

The day started well when we managed to find the “miracle” car park, in a very busy town, only 50 metres from the Town Hall where the service was to be held.

There was almost a festive air around town with friendly smiles and nods all round, we arrived at about 10-15am and joined the “general public” area about 30 people back from the barrier, with planned opening of the hall at 12-00 noon we had plenty of time for chatting.

In our immediate area we struck up conversations with no less than 5 total strangers, with whom we spent about 4 hours, and came away feeling we had made 5 new friends.

We then watched a seemingly endless procession of "Friends and Dignitaries" file past us and into the hall.

Just when we were all thinking we would not get a seat inside they opened up a section, quite a large section as it turned out, to the general public and in we went to our excellent vantage point.

To say that it was an impressive funeral service would be like describing Uluru as a big rock, there was a tangible feeling of love in the air almost as though Cupid had emptied his quiver of arrows into the hearts of all present.

The speakers were without exception all excellent and very genuine;

John Bjelke-Petersen delivered the Obituary.

Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland. (Who faced strong opposition from his own Labor Party but held strong in his offer of a State Funeral to Lady Flo and the family.)

John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia.

Lawrence Springborg, Queensland Opposition Leader.

As Joh's life story unfolded before us, one couldn't help but admire the spirit of this man, and later the bond that existed between him and Flo.

Little known facts like his 40 years as a Lay Preacher and Sunday school teacher at the Lutheran church in Kingaroy, where so many locals credit his teachings when they were young for their Christian faith.

Both Jackie and I, (and our 5 new found friends) declared the day an absolute success which we would not have missed for anything, we all thought it lived up to the popular conception of a "celebration of the life of Sir Joh" rather than the mourning for a departed soul, the day had an almost joyous atmosphere about it.

I have been asked since whether we made any arrangements to maintain those new friendships, the answer is no, we were kindred spirits aboard ships that passed by in the night, and I’m quite sure it would have been much the same in any other group of 5-6 people there that day, this just happened to be our little group.

I had a special feeling also at this funeral as it reminded me so much of my Dads, there were many similarities between these two, both were successful self made men, they were born in the same year, both shared the same devotion to their wives, to name just a few.


Merle said...

Sounds as though you were impressed. I am so glad no-one protested to mar it for Flo and you public people! Joh sure loved Kinaroy and Queensland, and our Dad thought he was great.

Peter said...

It was a great experience.