Heartache sets in as public remember Queen

·3-min read

A day after the Queen's death, the initial shock was starting to wear off and heartache had set in for many Australian mourners.

Dozens of bunches of flowers were left outside Melbourne's Government House on Saturday, as well-wishers wrote condolences and paused to honour the monarch.

Similar scenes played out in Sydney and other state capitals as the nation paid tribute to the Queen.

Some brought large, professionally-wrapped bouquets of flowers, while others left bunches of homegrown blooms fastened with ribbon or sticky tape.

Many mourners struck up a conversation with a stranger as they reflected on the Queen's impact. Others couldn't bring themselves to speak.

Sandra Alexandridis, of Reservoir, burst into tears outside the makeshift memorial in Melbourne as she remembered the Queen.

"She was a rock of society," she told AAP.

"It's like you've lost your grandmother, a member of your family."

"She always managed to put us all at ease and that's something that you cherish because not many people - even politicians - have that."

Despite the sadness, there were also smiles as people shared stories of catching a glimpse of the Queen or writing to her ladies in waiting.

Andrea Westh, from Middle Park, was a baby in her mother's arms when she was taken into central London to watch the Queen's coronation in 1953.

"She's just been like my grandmother, my spiritual leader," she said.

A devoted royalist who hopes to travel to the United Kingdom with her husband to attend King Charles' coronation, Ms Westh said she had always admired the new monarch as a long-standing champion for climate change.

In Sydney, 82-year-old Warren Fairfax had already prayed for the Queen, the new King, and his family at two separate churches on his way to Government House on Saturday afternoon.

In 1957, he was at the same location receiving a Queen's Scout award along with other boys from across the country.

"It was signed by the Queen and I'm very proud of that, my two brothers are Queen's Scouts too," he told AAP.

"I wanted to come back and just pay respects to her ... I just wanted to do that today."

Alexander Hartnell, 31, said he was a republican but the issue of constitutional change was "a question for another time" on the Saturday.

He came to pay his respects after seeing how moved people were by the Queen's death.

"I could tell the genuine grief on people's faces and it was the end of the 20th century for a lot of people," he said.

Mr Hartnell said King Charles's sense of duty was already on display after he stopped to greet well-wishers despite mourning the loss of his own mother.

Back in Melbourne, one woman wearing a Union Jack scarf, who wished to remain anonymous, said after visiting the memorial she planned to visit a travel agent.

She hoped to secure a plane ticket to London to see the funeral but feared she may not be able to make it in time.