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Callea to perform at Queen’s Canberra memorial service

Having met Queen Elizabeth in 2006, singer-songwriter Anthony Callea will help commemorate the late monarch in a national service in Canberra.

September 18, 2022
By Luke Costin
18 September 2022

Just as cricketer Shane Warne and entertainer Bert Newton were, Queen Elizabeth II will be farewelled in Australia with a performance by ARIA Award winner Anthony Callea.

The appearance of the former Australian Idol contestant – who met and sung to the Queen in Sydney in 2006 – is one of several details confirmed for Thursday’s national memorial service at Parliament House.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton will deliver short tributes at the service, to be led by TV presenter Melissa Doyle.

Premiers and chief ministers of each state and territory, all state governors and justices of the High Court have confirmed their attendance, the prime minister said.

Thursday’s national service will be the centrepiece of a day of mourning, marked with a one-off public holiday and memorial services in each state and territory.

“It will be an opportunity to mourn as a nation,” Mr Albanese told Sky News.

“It will be an important day to pay tribute to the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II.”

Melbourne-born Callea performed his cover of The Prayer at Newton’s state funeral in November 2021 and the spin king’s memorial service at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March.

It is a song the Queen heard herself during a church service in Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral that marked Commonwealth Day in 2006. Callea was among a handful of guests privileged to chat to the Queen during a royal reception later that day.

Each jurisdiction is treating Thursday differently, with South Australian retailers having to stay closed until midday as a mark of respect, as occurs on Anzac Day.

In Victoria, NSW and Queensland, the day will be a normal trading day, as is the case for Australia Day, Boxing Day and other public holidays.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has instructed his department to retain as much of their planned elective surgery as possible.

In Western Australia, public holiday trading hours will apply, with general retail stores able to trade from 11am-5pm. There will be no restrictions on trade in Tasmania, but businesses will have to comply with penalty-rate arrangements.

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