Ex-WA premier recalls Queen's final visit

·1-min read

Queen Elizabeth II's last hours on Australian soil more than 10 years ago were spent with thousands of West Australians on the banks of Perth's Swan River.

Now, former WA premier Colin Barnett has revealed how he secured her approval for the naming of Elizabeth Quay in the city during a private meeting at Buckingham Palace.

Mr Barnett and his wife Lyn were invited to meet with Her Majesty in 2011 to discuss arrangements for an upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth.

"I (told) her that we were going to rebuild the old Perth port and I'd like to call it Elizabeth Quay," Mr Barnett told ABC radio on Friday.

"I'd been advised by everyone not to raise it directly but we were getting along pretty well, and she just said 'well, that would be nice'."

Months later, the Queen and Prince Phillip made their final visit to Australia.

Almost 100,000 people lined the Swan River to farewell the royal couple at a "Big Aussie BBQ".

While gifting the Queen a book of botanical drawings, Mr Barnett drew a blank on the artist's name but was relieved when Her Majesty joked about it afterwards.

The naming of Elizabeth Quay raised eyebrows when it was announced to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee the following year.

While not a "raging monarchist", Mr Barnett felt it was an appropriate sign of respect.

"She was the best-known person in the world probably since the Second World War ... I've always just respected the Queen and admired her," he said.

Today Elizabeth Quay is also known to locals as "Betty's Jetty".