The “very hot” February weather the Queen arrived to at Dubbo in 1992 and her interest in lessons for students located hundreds of kilometres away are vivid memories Barry Foster has of a “fantastic day”.
As principal of Dubbo School of Distance Education he was front and centre as the monarch and Prince Philip visited.
More than 25 years later Mr Foster is full of praise for the regal guests - and thinks the impending visit of Prince Harry and new wife Meghan is “fantastic for Dubbo”.
“I think they are very popular,” he said of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The now-retired principal recalled the bomb squad from the army went through the school in the lead-up to the day and the “protocol people” did a test-run with the Rolls Royce to measure the turning circle in front of the school, Mr Foster said.
Then when the Queen arrived, she went on air, talking by radio to students across western NSW.
“For the Queen to be introduced to that side of distance education and actually talk to students who were on the radio, on their properties and so on, I think was really something she appreciated because just by the questions they asked how far away these students are,” Mr Foster said.
“... You could see they were really interested in how the system worked and how the students got to do their lessons and what were the follow-ups and how you did things like science and that sort of thing, which are often not the type of questions you would expect people of that stature to be asking.”
The pupils had been interested to hear from the Queen about her corgis, Mr Foster said.
The monarch spoke to every person there at the school, “shook hands with them and asked them relevant questions”, Mr Foster, recalled and praised her as a “remarkable woman”.
Yes, it was just unbelievable how good she was on that particular day because I think there were probably a few of our local people who even found it a little bit hot, a little bit overwhelming on the day.Foundation principal of Dubbo School of Distance Education Barry Foster
“Yes, it was just unbelievable how good she was on that particular day because I think there were probably a few of our local people who even found it a little bit hot, a little bit overwhelming on the day,” he said.
Also that day son Jamie, who was captain of Dubbo South High School, was part of the honour guard at Western Plains Zoo.
Now Jamie’s wife Dannielle is hoping to catch a glimpse of the duke and duchess on Wednesday.
“I’m excited, they are such a lovely couple,” she said.
“I think a lot of people like them.”