Queen Elizabeth 2 Farewell To Australia
On the 5th March 2008, the QE2 made her final call in an Australian port.  She had passed her cumbersome replacement, Queen Victoria, as she left Sydney and QE2 was moved to Circular Quay.  She'd visited Melbourne where they did nothing for her departure, went onto Adelaide then Albany before Fremantle.  Originally due for 8am, she was for some reason late.  No Australia news said why but she had helicopters buzzing around her as she headed around the north mole and into the port.  Hundreds apparently turned out to watch her dock at 9am.

As she had arrived an hour late, the 6pm sailing was put back to 7pm.  My friend Juanita in Perth agreed to drive to Fremantle to get photos of this monumental occasion.  Unfortunately she had a meeting so couldn't get down as early as she'd hoped to get a good spot.  The following is her review of the occasion.

I arrived down at Fremantle at 6pm since that was the time of departure, cursing the traffic all the way as I was trying to fight peak hour as everyone went home.  Once there I found the area already crowded - there were even traffic wardens directing traffic in the area!  All the free parking areas were already taken (unless you wanted to park right back out on the streets of Fremantle and walk in which I would have done if I had known I would still have some time to wait).
The departure was supposed to be 6pm, however with her late arrival it was half expected that she would be delayed leaving and sure enough a large neon sign had been erected to inform people that the departure was now 7pm.  It was still quite warm at this time so people were trying to buy drinks and ice creams.  Despite this being considered a rather big event in a way there was only one small kiosk that stayed open which quickly ran out of both drinks and ice cream, including water.  People were not happy.  There were old people and young children all there to watch, many holding Australian flags to wave.  I chatted with a lady who had come down with an elderly friend who sailed on the QE2 when she first left Fremantle so it was very much a nostalgic event for her.  I also overheard many similar conversations from people lining the wharf.  The helicopters were still buzzing around, as well as the plane with the banner which kept circling the ship - think of the fuel costs.
At 7.10pm you could just make out the gangway being swung away, then at 7.20pm there were three blasts from the QE2.  Only about a minute later, she gave another 3 blasts - rather loud isn't she?  There was a patrol boat to escort her which set up their three water spouts which did look quite good, I'll give them that.
The QE2 began to move then, it didn't take them long to move away from the dock and into clear water.  Police boats had cleared the area fully so everyone at that stage was keeping a wide berth.
Once she was moving she actually made passage very quickly, only taking a couple of minutes.  Guess she wanted to make up time since she was late.  She gave another 3 blasts at this point.  Everyone was waving and cheering, people on the ship were waving back and it was rather heartwarming to see the banner hanging from the side thanking Australia from the QE2 crew.  Of course, I'm sure they would have a similar banner for every port they had been going to so they would just swap them around!  Still it was a nice gesture on their part.
As the QE2 moved along, heading out to open sea, a flotilla of small boats, including yachts, all fell in behind as an escort to see her off.  It sort of reminded me of lttle ducklings chasing after their mother.
At this time of night the sun was setting so unfortunately Lizzie was sailing directly into it so it was a little hard to get some photos as she was nothing more than silhouette - still it was probably a fitting end to her journey here.  The proverbial 'sailing off into the sunset' was actually very true.
I'd like to thank Juanita for going out of her way to do this for me.  She knows I'm a 'mad shipper' from my visit in 2006.  I owe her big time now - more than 2006!

I think the above photo is very poignant.  Unlike mine when
Lizzie also sailed into the sunset, this time it is never to return.

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© Juanita Adie-Cooper 5th March & Patricia Dempsey 12th March 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission