Australians mark 'enormous loss' of Queen

·3-min read

Australia's prime minister and other political leaders have honoured Queen Elizabeth II, laying wreaths at Parliament House as mourning continues around the country.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Governor-General David Hurley and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton marked her passing with a ceremony at the Queen's Terrace on Saturday.

It comes some 34 years after the monarch opened the new Parliament House, unveiling a statue of herself at the site.

The Queen's eldest son became King Charles III upon her death early Friday morning at Scotland's Balmoral Castle.

He was officially declared King at a ceremony at London's St James's Palace on Saturday night (AEST).

Earlier, he promised to serve the crown's realms and territories worldwide with "loyalty, respect and love".

"As the Queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself," King Charles said.

Shortly after the wreath-laying, Mr Albanese pointed to the King's comments on the "affection, admiration and respect" the Queen inspired, which became a hallmark of her 70-year reign.

"That's why so many Australians have made moving tributes and are mourning this enormous loss," he said.

"She was a constant reassuring presence."

Mr Dutton said the King had shown he was continuing with the same selfless spirit.

"That continuity is an essential part and King Charles has demonstrated his commitment," he said.

"His dedication to the throne will mean an enormous amount, not just to the United Kingdom but to Commonwealth countries as well."

The sails of the Sydney Opera House, which the Queen opened in 1973, were illuminated in her honour on Friday. So too were monuments in other cities, and again on Saturday night, as flags fly at half mast around the nation.

Across the country, Australians continued to mark the historic death, laying flowers at Government House in Sydney, Melbourne and other state capitals.

Sandra Alexandridis, of Reservoir, burst into tears outside Melbourne's makeshift memorial while remembering the Queen.

"She was a rock of society ... it's like you've lost your grandmother," she told AAP.

In Sydney, 82-year-old Warren Fairfax prayed for the Queen at two separate churches on his way to Government House on Saturday.

Some 65 years ago, he was there receiving a Queen's Scout award along with other boys from across the country.

"I wanted to come back and just pay respects to her ... I just wanted to do that today," Mr Fairfax said.

On Sunday, a proclamation ceremony for the King will be held outside Parliament House in Canberra, followed by a 21-gun salute. Similar ceremonies will take place involving state governors.

A 96-gun salute took place in the federal parliament forecourt on Friday - one round for each year of the Queen's life.

A date for the funeral is yet to be confirmed, but Mr Hurley and Mr Albanese will fly to London on Thursday to attend.

No official mourning period has been declared in Australia, unlike the UK which has begun 10 days of mourning.

Queensland and federal parliaments have suspended sitting days next week, while NSW, Victorian and West Australian MPs will move condolence motions on Tuesday.

The AFL and NRL will observe one minute's silence at games on Saturday and Sunday, also expected at cricket and soccer matches.