Thirty years after the Australian State coach was presented to Queen Elizabeth II, coach builder Jim Frecklington OAM recalls the experience.
The Australia State Coach was made in 1978/1988 by Jim Frecklington who grew up in Peak Hill among a team of local engineers, welders and other craftsmen.
Mr Frecklington said he was given permission to build the coach because of his long history with the royal family as a former employee of the royal household and the manager of the Royal Coaches Exhibition for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
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He said worked at the Royal Mews in 1972 at Buckingham Palace where he was responsible for the care of the horses and driving the coaches for many royal occasions.
Mr Frecklington was invited to manage the Royal Coaches Exhibition when it toured Australia in 1977 as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year celebrations.
“Her Majesty gave me permission to build a new state coach, which I built in Dubbo that was the first new coach to be built for the British Royal Family since 1901,” Mr Frecklington said.
“After making it in Dubbo, it was displayed throughout Australia, it was loaded onto a jumbo jet, we flew it to Japan, Heathrow airport and took it on a tour of England.
“In late 1988 the Queen used the Australian State Coach, for the state opening of the British parliament.”
He said the coach is kept at the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace “ and when not being used ... the Australian State Coach is placed at the front of Buckingham Palace for the public to see.”
Mr Frecklington said, he later built the Diamond Jubilee State Coach “mostly in Manly but some parts were also from Dubbo.”
“That is what the Queen uses today for the state opening of the parliament and for other major events,” he said.
For his service he has been awarded the Royal Victorian Order and an Order of Australia medal.
“I am a great lover of the coaches and horses, always has been a passion of mine, to be involved in beautiful things, through working at Royal Buckingham Palace and managing the royal coaches,” he said.
“I always feel very honoured when Her Majesty rides out the gates in one my coaches.”
He said building the coach was a “very long process” as it “takes a long time to steam and bend all the timber work”.
“I personally think it’s one of the rarest skills in the world,” Mr Frecklington said.
He said “there were many people involved to make something up to the standard.”
The Dubbo team included Jack Layard, Allan Moore, Ian Graham, Ian King, Rodd Carr, Ross Wallace and Bill Manusu.
“I think it may be one of the reasons why Prince Harry and Meghan will be coming to Dubbo.”
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