Australia’s Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and his wife, Lady Lynne Cosgrove, visited the Bega Valley last week, touching the lives of scores of ordinary and extraordinary people during their two-day stay.
Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove arrived on April 3 for the visit, which spanned the district’s agriculture, child and aged care sectors, and marine and indigenous heritage.
On the Monday, Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove visited Tathra Wharf, the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, Imlay House and the start of the Bundian Way at Cocora Beach in Eden. A civic reception was also held in Bega.
Tuesday’s itinerary included visits to the Eden Killer Whale Museum, Eden Child Care Centre and Bega Regional Learning Centre, as well as a reception hosted by Sapphire Coast Tourism at Merimbula Wharf.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Kristy McBain said she was delighted to welcome them to the region, noting it was the first official visit by a Governor-General in 110 years.
Their stay at the Seahorse Inn at Boydtown also resulted in Sir Peter’s support for one of Eden’s most ambitious and romantic projects, the building of a replica of Ben Boyd’s topsail schooner Wanderer in the grounds of the historic building.
During the visit to the Eden Killer Whale Museum, Wanderer replica project spokesman Jon Gaul presented Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove with a copy of the newly-published biography of Sir Oswald Brierley, titled From Eden to Windsor Castle by Sydney author Bob Lawrence.
Mr Gaul said Oswald Brierley was a significant historical figure for Eden and for his regal connections; he was Ben Boyd’s official artist and the first manager of Boydtown during the 1840s, and later became marine painter to Queen Victoria.
Sir Peter said he looked forward to learning more about the Wanderer Replica Project and offered to officiate at one of the project’s “milestone” events in coming years.
Mr Gaul said it was “extremely gratifying” to have a dignitary such as the Governor-General take an interest in the project.
Later in the day, Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove visited Eden Child Care.
Lady Cosgrove had a captive audience as she read the children a story, and they were shown the facility’s latest early learning devices including a smartboard, the use of which was demonstrated by the children.