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The Queen holds fond place in Doug Daws’ heart

From a schoolboy in Boulder to a local councillor to community stalwart, Queen Elizabeth II has a fond place in the heart of Doug Daws.

Self-proclaimed royalist, Mr Daws first saw the Queen in Boulder during her 1954 visit.

He said the town was buzzing with excitement for her visit, with the main street adorned with homemade decorations in an attempt to spruce up the typically country WA town for Her Majesty.

Queen Elizabeth II had only held the crown for two years but drew a large crowd.

“We were all lined up in big rectangles with roadways in between and they drove in between us,” he said.

“I can remember standing there with one of my friends and it was sort of surreal, we’ve just met the Queen. We didn’t meet her formally but she drove past us, she was right there.

“I remember the excitement of getting all the streets cleaned and people standing along Federal Road and Lane Street as she drove down from Kalgoorlie, and then around the corner at the post office and up to Boulder Oval.

“They were very ordinary roads, very ordinary buildings and it was very much homespun decorations. It was all manufactured by groups locally, with a lot of excitement.”

Queen Elizabeth II meets Kalgoorlie residents Andrea Wilks, 5, and her brother David Wilks, 3, in 1988.
Camera IconQueen Elizabeth II meets Kalgoorlie residents Andrea Wilks, 5, and her brother David Wilks, 3, in 1988. Credit: Barry Baker/Rod Taylor/The West Australian

Mr Daws told the Kalgoorlie Miner he then officially met Queen Elizabeth II as a councillor in 1988.

He said he remembered that experience well as an innocent sudden movement from a nearby councillor set security — and Mr Daws — on edge.

“As the Queen got to (my fellow councillor) he reached into his inside coat pocket, and it was completely unexpected and I could see the security people that were just hovering around,” he said.

“I thought ‘s… I’m going to get shot here’ and he reached in and pulled out an official message stick from the Aboriginal people to the Queen.

“She never flinched, she never battered an eyelid. I just thought what a wonderful lady.

“I remember it with great clarity as one does when you think you’re going to be shot.”

Mr Daws said although he was not surprised to hear of the Queen’s passing given recent concerns about her health, he was saddened to hear her 70-year reign had come to an end.

“I’m not a weepy person but I’m genuinely saddened by the passing of one of the great monarchs of the kingdoms of the world, and we’ve been privileged to live through the longest reign ever of a British monarch,” he said.

“There’s been a continuum there that is pretty unique and I feel especially privileged having formally met her and been introduced to her and shaken her hand with all the obligatory bending of the knees.

“(She’s) an outstanding monarch who is the envy of the world, really.”

Mr Daws told the Kalgoorlie Miner he had also spent time with the newly crowned King Charles III while he was a prince visiting Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

“I’ve actually driven in the royal vehicle with the Prince, now King Charles III,” he said.

“When we got to the Kalgoorlie Town Hall, he had to get out the other side because he’d gotten in on the right side but had to get out on the left at the Town Hall.

“It was all pre-arranged that we had to swap seats and fortunately there was a fair bit of room in the back of it.”

During this trip, Mr Daws said the then-prince was staying not far from his home so those travelling with and supporting the member of the royal family spent time at Mr Daws’ home.

“They all ended up coming down to my place, not to party, but to have a drink and talk to the locals,” he said.

“We actually had arranged for the Prince to actually have a swim in my sister-in-law’s pool because it was warm . . . and everybody was very enthusiastic about it and the Prince was too until security got a hold (of our plan).”

Mr Daws said it was a privilege to live a place that was important and large enough for the Queen to visit, but small enough that he had the chance to formally meet her.

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