National Minute’s Silence and gun salutes mark start of Prince Philip’s funeral


People across the UK have observed a minute’s silence for the Duke of Edinburgh in unison with mourners at his funeral.

As members of the royal family fell silent at 3pm at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, members of the public across the country – and Prime Minister Boris Johnson – did the same.

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a gunshot to signal the start of the silence at Windsor, with the pallbearers carrying Philip’s coffin and members of the royal family following it pausing in their positions, while those already inside the chapel also fell silent.

Gun salutes took place at the same time performed by royal regiments at sites including Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, Cardiff Castle and Edinburgh Castle, as well as on Royal Navy warships deployed in Portsmouth, Devonport and overseas.

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Dawn breaks over Windsor on day of Prince Philip’s funeral: Queen prepares to bid farewell to her husband of 73 years at service that will mark his ‘unwavering loyalty’



A golden glow fell over the grounds of Windsor Castle this morning as dawn broke on the day HRH Prince Philip will be laid to rest. 

The eyes of the world will be on the royal residence today as the Queen says her final goodbye to the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband, ‘strength and stay’ of 73 years.

In pre-pandemic times thousands of mourners would have travelled to the Berkshire town to pay their respects, but the Royal Family, the Government and police are asking the public to stay away.

Early this morning members of the armed forces, police, security and the media were taking up positions around the castle ahead of this afternoon’s ceremony.

While much of the typical pageantry has been pared back, Buckingham Palace says it will still reflect Philip’s life of service and the plans he himself spent years fine-tuning. 

Right down to the bespoke Land Rover hearse to carry his own coffin, the event will be executed with Philip’s characteristic military precision, leading up to the 3pm service at St George’s Chapel. 

The first glimpses inside the chapel shows the Duke’s insignia, Field Marshal’s baton, RAF wings and decorations from Denmark and Greece resting on cushions at the altar.

The Queen, 94, will say a private farewell to her husband before his body is driven to the chapel tailed by a small procession including Philip’s four children and three grandsons. 

Sources say she has been the ‘epitome of dignity’ this week, and the Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to her ‘extraordinary dignity and courage’.

Justin Welby, who will praise Philip’s ‘life of service to the nation and Commonwealth’ at the service, added that he hoped the nation prayed for her and ‘hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment’.

As the Queen prepared to lead the nation in mourning: 

It was a crisp Spring day at Windsor this morning, with sunshine forecast for most of the day.  

Signs have been erected around the town urging members of the public to stay away from the grounds and other royal residences. 

Police patrols have been stepped up to enforce Covid rules, which bans large gatherings. 

Marshals have also been drafted in to help and were seen trooping through the town in high-vis jackets. 

As with all royal events, there was tight security and police divers were pictured searching a drain near the grounds. 

Reporters were struck by how quiet Windsor was this morning, drawing contrast with past major events such as Harry and Meghan’s 2018 wedding when the streets were filled with royal fans.   

But a visible armed forces presence is on display, reflecting the Duke’s wishes for a military rather than a state funeral.

Philip served with distinction as a Naval officer in the Second World War and had association with all forces while the Queen’s consort.  

The duke’s coffin, draped in his personal standard and bearing his naval cap, sword and a wreath of flowers, will first be seen at 2.41pm today when it emerges from the State Entrance to Windsor Castle carried by a bearer party from The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

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Protests against Aboriginal deaths in custody mark 30 years since royal commission


WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images and names of people who have died

The protests also mark the 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, which handed down its final report on April 15, 1991.

The report made 339 recommendations but few have been implemented.

More than 470 Indigenous people have died in custody in the past 30 years, including at least five since the beginning of March this year.

Protests and marches took place in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Alice Springs and Lismore on Saturday.

In other cities, like Perth and Adelaide, rallies have been organised for Thursday, the exact date of the final report’s 30th anniversary.

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Australian Federation Guard fires a 41 gun salute to mark the passing of Prince Philip



This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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Politicians mark 'extraordinary life' of Prince Philip



Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer lead the condolences, as parties suspend election campaigning.

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Queensland COVID outbreak: Mark McGowan deems Queensland ‘low risk’ jurisdiction


Travellers from Queensland will be forced to quarantine upon arrival in WA as the state battles a new outbreak of COVID-19.

Premier Mark McGowan tweeted this evening, “Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation in Queensland, additional steps are being taken to keep WA safe. Effective immediately, Queensland will be classified as a ‘low risk’ jurisdiction under WA’s controlled interstate border.”

“All arrivals from Queensland will now need to complete 14 days of self-quarantine. These new Directions also apply to those people who arrived from Queensland earlier today.”

While the border is not officially closed, a 14-day quarantine requirement means few travellers are likely to come to WA.

Dozens of close contacts of two new Brisbane coronavirus cases are awaiting COVID-19 test results as concerns grow about interstate travel restrictions a week before Easter.

Queensland health authorities revealed on Saturday night the latest man to test positive hosted a house party for about 25 guests before his result came back, ignoring a direction to self-isolate.

The 26-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night, one day after his friend, who had been infectious for a week.

All party guests have been ordered into quarantine and are being tested.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addresses the media during a press conference in Brisbane.
Camera IconQueensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addresses the media during a press conference in Brisbane. Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAPIMAGE

Queensland Health are also tracking down people who may have come into contact with the men at 24 exposure sites and asking them to isolate and get tested.

Earlier on Saturday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says there’s no evidence of widespread community transmission.

“We are very comfortable where things are at the moment, and Queensland is responding incredibly well, so if everyone keeps up their testing and the contact tracing we’re very comfortable with where we are,” she told reporters.

The cluster has sparked a lockdown of Brisbane City and Moreton Bay council area hospitals, aged care facilities, prisons and disability services providers.

NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT have also declared those two council areas as hotspots and all travellers arriving from there must self- isolate and get tested upon arrival.

Tasmania is only warning Brisbane and Moreton Bay travellers to get tested if they become ill, while South Australia and the Northern Territory have not changed their travel rules.

A file photo of a COVID marshal and other health workers wait for passengers to arrive at Perth Airport from Brisbane who will go straight into 14 days quarantine.
Camera IconA file photo of a COVID marshal and other health workers wait for passengers to arrive at Perth Airport from Brisbane who will go straight into 14 days quarantine. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged states and territories to be balanced and “proportionate” in their response to the outbreak.

He says the ongoing vaccine rollout has changed “risk calculations” and he’s confident the Queensland government has control of the situation.

“The economic recovery we’re seeing in Australia now is leading the world, and we want to keep that happening, and we don’t want to prevent that from happening by any possible disproportion or overreaction in response” Mr Morrison told reporters.

“The Queensland government’s got this, they’ve got a strong tracing system, they’ve got a very strong public health system there in Queensland. I have a lot of faith in that, I’ve seen it in action before, and I think we’ve got to backup people to keep this under control, and I have no doubt the Queensland government will do that.”

The Brisbane cluster has also put a number of Easter sporting fixtures in doubt amid concerns about travel restrictions.

Melbourne’s Good Friday NRL clash with Brisbane is under a cloud while the Gold Coast Suns return to Queensland is up in the air.

The Victorian government’s new rules caused a stir at the Suns’ AFL match in Geelong on Friday night, where some fans and commentators who had been in Brisbane in the past fortnight were ordered to leave mid-match.

The Lions’ AFLW team are also in Victoria and are due to play Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday afternoon.

Canterbury are already in Brisbane for their NRL clash with the Broncos on Saturday night, while Parramatta have been there since March 12.

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Photographer Mark Fitzpatrick on capturing great shots


It was an image so hilarious yet so apt that it resonated around a pandemic-scarred world. A turtle is pictured off Queensland doing just what everyone felt like doing to 2020 – flipping it the bird with a perfectly positioned flipper.

The photo of Terry the green sea turtle, taken off Lady Elliott Island, was actually shot in 2018, but took out the award for world’s funniest wildlife photo in 2020 – a year when the world needed as many laughs as it could get. 

To be fair, Terry was flipping the bird to only one person – Queensland-based photographer Mark Fitzpatrick who captured the underwater image.

Fitzpatrick had spent about four to five hours out on the water, taking about 4000-5000 shots all up, including several of Terry. It wasn’t until he was off the boat some hours later and looking through the photos that he realised what he had captured.

The Mackay-based photographer sent the photo to his girlfriend, Emilie-Jain Palmer, 32, who confirmed what he thought – the turtle was giving him the finger.  The photo appeared on Fitzpatrick’s Instagram account where it caught the interest of the team at the Worldwide Funniest Wildlife Photo Award.

Fitzpatrick ditched his accountancy job in Mildura and turned to photography full-time a few years back after meeting his girlfriend, then a radio announcer, when he was holidaying in Queensland. He returned to Mildura, packed his bags, and relocated. “You can be an accountant anywhere,” he says with a laugh.

He always liked taking holiday photos, but the idea of making photography his profession came after photos he took of a storm were published in a regional newspaper. It was an affirmation that  his photos were actually good. Now Fitzpatrick is living his dream – travelling and photographing above and below incredible stretches of water.   

Which photographic destination has left an impact on you and why?

“Lady Musgrave Island is probably the place that has had the most impact on me as a photographer. It’s where I took my first under or over style photos,” he says.

Fitzpatrick had mainly been shooting landscapes frames up until this point. The experience allowed him to broaden his style. “Those photos from Lady Musgrave were really well received on social media and I loved that I was able to combine what was happening below the surface with the world above.

“There weren’t a lot of those types of photos being shot at the time and it’s where I fell in love with underwater photography.”

How important is having a sense of humour as a photographer?

“I definitely think you need to be able to laugh at some of the situations that unfold,” Fitzpatrick says referring to some tricky situations he has faced especially when wild weather hits. “You can do all the planning in the world for a shoot but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and you just need to be able to laugh about it.”

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned being a photographer?

“Patience,” Fitzpatrick says. “Especially when it comes to working with wildlife,” he adds.

“You have zero control and if you make any sudden movements or noises then you can easily spook the animal and they’ll take off and you’ll lose the chance to get the shot.”

Fitzpatrick says taking the time to observe subject animals and understand when and why they do certain things can help you get a good shot.

Have you been in any hairy situations?

Fitzpatrick was in Papua New Guinea to shoot images of the fish and coral around the islands. He’d just gotten into the water for the first snorkel of the trip when he felt tingles on his arm. “I thought it was just sea lice to start with but it quickly got a lot more painful and I realised I was covered in jellyfish tentacles,” he says.

Fitzpatrick hurried from the water and locals came running down the beach to help pick off the tentacles that were wrapped around his stomach, back, arms and legs. He and his team then caught a boat back to the main island where the stings were doused in vinegar. It took an hour for the pain to go away.

While it was “the most painful experience” he’d had, it didn’t stop him returning to the water.

“I really needed to get a few shots so the day wasn’t wasted. There weren’t any wet suits or stinger suits around, so I just had to risk it and get back in the water. Fortunately, I didn’t get stung again and I managed to get a few good shots.”

What are your tips for posting travel photos on social media?

“It’s important to focus on quality and capturing something unique,” Fitzpatrick says, noting the thousands of photos being uploaded daily. “If you want to stand out then your images have to grab people’s attention. Try shooting from a different angle to give viewers a unique perspective.”

How important is technology as a photographer?

Fitzpatrick says technology and understanding it is incredibly important as a working photographer. One example, he explains, is the drone. “In the last five years drones have come onto the scene and given photographers a whole new way of shooting destinations. They’re now a standard piece of equipment and clients now expect that you’ll have a drone as well,” he says.

Social media  helps him keep up-to-date with tech changes. “I’m regularly researching destinations on social media and quite often if there’s a photo that really stands out and it’s been shot in a completely unique way, then I’ll find out as much as possible about that shot including the technology that’s been used to capture it.”

What are your top five places in Australia?

Check out the gallery at the top of the article to see Mark’s photos of these destinations

1. Lady Elliot Island

“Lady Elliot has so many turtles living in the waters around it and the reef is so vibrant and healthy, and the water visibility is incredible. It’s a must-visit if you love snorkelling and diving.”

2. The Whitsundays

“It’s home to one of the best beaches in the world (Whitehaven Beach), so many beautiful islands, as well as fantastic reefs to snorkel. I’m also very lucky to have it just one and a half hours from where I live so I get to visit pretty regularly.”

3. Lord Howe Island

“It’s an island unlike any other in Australia. The two towering peaks of Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird dominate the skyline and the island is surrounded by the world’s most southern coral reef, which is full of amazing marine life. The landscapes here are unlike any other island that I’ve visited in Australia.”

4. Nitmiluk Gorge

“Out of all the places I’ve travelled to, Nitmiluk Gorge has been one of the most captivating with a very spiritual feeling to it. The ancient Aboriginal rock art, mesmerising landscapes and stunning sunrises and sunsets here will leave you feeling awestruck long after you’ve gone.”

5. Esperance

“As a beach lover this place is heaven. Esperance has so many beaches to choose from and all of them with ridiculously clear waters and bright white sand. The most famous spot here is Lucky Bay with kangaroos that frequently hop up and down the beach and about an hour from Lucky Bay is the clearest wave I’ve ever seen at a place called Wharton Beach.”

And what’s your favourite travel experience beyond Australia?

“Swimming with the reef sharks and rays at Moorea in French Polynesia,” Fitzpatrick says.

“Gigantic, luscious green jagged mountains drop straight down into the turquoise ocean and the morning I spent here snorkelling and photographing the reef sharks and rays was a dream come true.”

Follow Mark on Instagram @_markfitz

See also: ‘The world flipped’: Globetrotting Aussie photographers focus on home

See also: Photo of two cuddling penguins in St Kilda wins global photography award



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Mark a year since clubs closed down with $5 beer and wine


A year after pubs, hotels and clubs were forced to shut their doors due to COVID restrictions, the venues are marking the date with $5 beers and wines.

On National Local Day on Tuesday, March 23, Australians will be encouraged to shop at and support their local pubs, clubs, bars and hospitality venues in order to help the sector rebound.

One of the venues taking part on the event will be Cherry St Sports Club in Ballina.

They will be offering $5 lunch specials for members, $5 pints of any Tooheys product and $5 glasses of house wine.

General manager Tere Sheehan said the date was more than just a chance to get a cheap drink.

“We’d always planned to do some type of celebration, depending on what restrictions were in place, and since we are back to the 2 sqm rule now and we can stand up and have a drink, we though it was a good time to proceed with that idea,” he said.

“This is to show our appreciation to our members who came back and supported us when we reopened on June 1.

“We live and breath our community, and we have a phrase here which is ‘profit with a purpose’.”

Cherry St Sports Club general manager Tere Sheehan with staff member Brad Benson, in May 2020.

Mr Sheehan said the team was able to stay employed via JobKeeper, and he set up his staff to make phone call to check on the well being of their members, offering take away meals delivered and keeping an eye on the most vulnerable or lonely.

“We made 7000 to 8000 phone calls in that seven-week period, done by four members of our team, so we went through our whole membership database and we followed up on some of them,” he said.

“JobKeeper enabled us to do that, and managers also kept in contact with the staff we had to let go before JobKeeper kicked in.

“It may sound corny but it’s true, this is not just a group of people who work here, this is a family.”

The manager was also happy to confirm all community donations, sponsorship deals and other benefits to the community were back n the table.

“When we closed, on March 23, 2020, nobody knew how long we were going to be closed for, so we have to suspend virtually everything, because we had zero income,” he said.

“We support around 20 sports clubs, plus a number of community not-for-profit organisations who meet here free of charge, they have all come back and we have confirmed our support to all of them,” he said.

“The home meal centre has been restarting with a $75,000 funding donation, plus our commitment to Our Kids is back to buy equipment to kids’ hospitals and transport for sick kids, so everything we can possibly do, we get behind because one day, one of our members, may need some of those services that we fund.”



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Streaming highlights March 19-25: Making Their Mark, Ghost Of The Mountain & Persona




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It started as an anti-graffiti initiative and now artists are lining up to make their mark in Brisbane streets


Turning the city’s traffic signal boxes into canvases began as an anti-graffiti initiative in 1999.

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said public art was “very important to recognise the identity of a city”.

“The idea was not only to enliven and have a drive-through gallery, but it was also about crime prevention,” she said.

Since then, more than 1,200 traffic signal boxes have been painted by 5,000 volunteers.

Artforce Brisbane releases about 70 boxes each year, with entries open to local artists and amateurs of all ages.

Kiana Kilford and Tanya Rivera jumped at the opportunity to put their new-found artistic talent to the test.

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