Home' Greymouth Star : August 18th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, August 18, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
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uLetters to the editor
1227 - Death of the Mongol conqueror
1743 - First rules of boxing approved -
they were drafted by John Broughton, third
heavyweight boxing champion of England.
1862 - Sioux Indians begin an uprising in
US state of Minnesota; it was later crushed.
1914 - US President Woodrow
Wilson proclaims American
neutrality in World War I;
Germany declares war on Russia.
1932 - Scottish aviator Jim
Mollison makes first westbound
transAtlantic solo flight, from
Portmarnock, Ireland, to Pennfield,
1964 - South Africa is banned from the
Olympic Games because of its apartheid
2002 - Pope John Paul, addressing some
2.7 million people, his largest crowd ever in
Poland, warns that the new millennium is
threatened by an onslaught of evil.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Meriwether Lewis, US explorer (1774-1809);
Lord John Russell, English statesman (1792-
1878); Casper Weinberger, US politician
(1917-2006); Shelley Winters, US actor
(1920-2006); Roman Polanski,
French-born film director (1933-);
Robert Redford, US actor (1937-);
Patrick Swayze, US actor (1952-
2009); Christian Slater, US actor
(1969-); Edward Norton, US
actor (1969-); Cameron White,
Australian cricketer (1983-);
Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Kurt Cobain
and Courtney Love (1992-).
“ New opinions are always suspected, and
usually opposed, without any other reason but
because they are not already common. ” — John
Locke, English philosopher (1632-1704).
“ I press on toward the goal for the prize of
the Heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
— P hilippians 3:14).
After half a century
of coal production in
which it has produced
more coal than any
other mine on the West Coast, the Liverpool
No 2 State colliery is about to close. Its closure
has no connection with Kapuni gas or a drop
in demand for coal — after 53 years it has been
Since 1912 the mine has produced more than
5,820,000 tons of bituminous coal. Now the
workforce, which has dropped from 194 men in
1964 to 30, is working its way up the roadways
finishing off the remaining pillars in the last
two sections. Just over 12 months ago, the
Mines Department prophesied very accurately
that Liverpool No 2 had an approximate life of
between a year and 15 months. It is expected to
finally close within three months.
One hundred years of postal pioneering on
the West Coast is to go umarked and unsung.
This morning, following an inquiry from the
Greymouth Evening Star, Greymouth’s chief
postmaster, Mr G M Parkhouse, confirmed
that the centenary of the change of name from
Grey River Post Office to Greymouth Post
Office (on October 20, 1865) would not be
commemorated in any special way.
Research last year by the then postmaster
Mr L R Cobb, Greymouth public library staff
and the Star, confirmed that the Grey River
Post Office was opened on August 1, 1864,
under the stewardship of the town’s pioneer
storekeeper, Reuben Waite. The site of this
first post office is now occupied by the present
Riverside railway station. Waite’s appointment
as first postmaster was gazetted on February 7,
uFood for thought
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over what was
as the world’s
most famous dysfunctional family, next
month becomes Britain’s longest-reigning
She never expected to take the throne
and only did so because her uncle
abdicated, but on September 9 she will
beat the record held by her great-great-
grandmother, Queen Victoria, who
reigned for more than 63 years.
“It is a job for life,” the 89-year-old
Elizabeth once said, and unlike some
European monarchs recently, and even a
pope, she is not expected to abdicate.
While the world and British society
have changed dramatically during her
reign, the Queen has always appeared
dependable and reassuring. Despite
traumas in the 1990s, such as the death of
Princess Diana, that seemed to threaten
the monarchy’s very existence, the Queen
has been able to lead the thousand-
year-old institution into a new era of
“The key to the change has been
anticipating what ’s coming next,” Simon
Lewis, her former communications
secretary, said. “ The lesson of these last
20, 30 years has been for the institution
always to be slightly ahead perhaps of
where the British people are.”
Britain itself has become a more
egalitarian society as old class divides
were broken down and deference based
on background ebbed away, something
reflected in the monarchy itself.
“It’s become much less elitist,” said
royal biographer Robert Lacey. “ The
monarchy has continued the process
of disassociating itself from the social
pyramid headed by an aristocracy and
attempting to make itself classless.”
At the start of her reign she was a
glamorous figure who seemed to typify
Britain’s post-war resurgence, but by the
40th anniversary of her accession the
royal family appeared to have become
little more than celebrity fodder for the
While her marriage to Philip, a Greek
prince, has stayed solid, she described
1992 as an “annus horribilis” when three
of her four children’s relationships broke
up, with scandalous details exhaustively
reported in the papers.
Diana’s death in a Paris car crash
in 1997 was undoubtedly the darkest
moment of her long reign, with the
Queen forced to return from Scotland
to address the nation amid a general
outpouring of grief and dismay.
“For about a week it seemed as though
the institution had been rocked to its
foundation,” said Lewis.
With a more professional and
sophisticated media operation, the royal
family’s reputation has been restored
from the dark days of the 1990s and even
taken to new heights.
Commentators say that also reflects
how the Queen has provided stability in a
time of great social upheaval and growing
discontent with elected leaders, while
giving Britons a sense of identity.
“The fortunes of the monarchy have
gone through peaks and troughs, she
hasn’t really changed but the public
reaction to her has,” said professor
Philip Murphy, a historian and author of
Monarchy and the End of Empire.
“It’s become a significant part of the
way we see ourselves as a nation.”
Elizabeth only became Queen due to a
quirk of history after her uncle Edward
VIII abdicated because of his love for
American divorcee Wallis Simpson and
the crown passed to her father George VI
when she was 10 years old.
She was just 25 when she became
Queen Elizabeth II on February 6,
1952 on the death of her father. At the
time she was on tour in Kenya with her
husband Prince Philip, who has been by
her side throughout her reign.
“In a way I didn’t have an
apprenticeship. My father died much
too young and so it was all a very sudden
kind of taking on and making the best
job you can,” she said 40 years later.
She was crowned queen of Britain and
other realms, including Australia and
Canada, on June 2, 1953, in a televised
ceremony in Westminster Abbey.
She became the 40th monarch in a
royal line that goes back to William the
Conqueror, who took the throne in 1066
after winning the Battle of Hastings.
While on the throne, she has seen 12
prime ministers, beginning with Winston
Churchill, and bade farewell to the
British Empire amassed by her forebears
from Kenya to Hong Kong.
Her views on the subject remain a
mystery as during her long reign she has
never given an interview, and insights
into her opinions and character come
from brief appearances in tv programmes
and from comments by other members of
The most revealing insight into her
private life, a documentary titled Royal
Family broadcast in 1969 after cameras
had followed the Queen for a year,
has never been shown since, reputedly
because it made them seem too ordinary.
“It is a most remarkable achievement
to have been in the spotlight for so long
and for no one really to have a very
strong sense of what her views are,” said
Although she is the world’s oldest
living monarch, Elizabeth is only the
second-longest currently reigning, behind
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej,
who is almost six years ahead of her.
The longest-reigning monarch of all
time — King Sobhuza II of Swaziland —
ruled for almost 83 years until his death
in 1982, while King Louis XIV of France
ruled for 72 years, the longest period for
any major European country.
During her reign, she has made more
than 250 overseas visits to well over 100
countries and met four million people in
“S he ... has surely travelled more widely
than any other head of state in history,”
Prime Minister Cameron told parliament
in 2012. “As she herself has been heard to
say ... ‘I have to be seen to be believed’.”
In recent years, she has curtailed her
timetable of foreign trips with Prince
Charles and other royals taking her place.
While other European monarchs
have abdicated, there is no prospect of
Elizabeth following suit.
Millions turned out for spectacular
celebrations to mark her 60th year on
the throne in 2012, while a few months
later her starring role in a spoof James
Bond film became one of the highlights
of the London Olympic Games’ opening
However, in keeping with her more
usual discreet style, aides say she wants
little fuss over next month’s milestone.
“The fact that my mama has been
a constant feature on the scene has
provided that sense, I think, of continuity
in a time of immense change,” Prince
Charles said in a documentary to mark
her diamond jubilee.
“I suppose when you first set out you
don’t think about how long things might
go on for, but the Queen has provided an
amazing record of devotion, dedication
and commitment.” — Reuters
Long lives the Queen
Queen Elizabeth wearing her New Zealand honours.
Queen Elizabeth with Prince Philip after her coronation.
The Queen with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
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