Home World Asia News Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Australia’s bushfire-ravaged Blue Mountains

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Australia’s bushfire-ravaged Blue Mountains

Prince William and Kate Middleton have met Australian families whose homes were destroyed by wildfires last year.

The royal couple spent the day touring the Blue Mountains as part of the second leg of their trip Down Under.

They visited the town of Winmalee, which was ravaged by the fires in October, where they also talked to firefighters who battled the blazes.

One man who lost his house said the royal visit made those affected feel like they had not been forgotten.

Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince George arrived in Australia on Wednesday, having completed a tour of New Zealand.

On Thursday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took in the sights of the Blue Mountains region, near Sydney, which suffered devastating bush fires and where hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground.

Adrian Harrison, whose house was destroyed, told reporters: “Here we are five months down the track after we lost our house and for them to come out now, it makes us feel like we haven’t been forgotten.”

The royals also vowed to return to the Blue Mountains – one of Australia’s most visited beauty spots.


Prince William and Kate Middleton will spend 10 days travelling across Australia, visiting its famous sites, honoring its war dead and meeting locals.

They visited Echo Point in Katoomba to see the famous Three Sisters rock formation, where they were also greeted by Aboriginal elders representing the indigenous landowners.

The elders presented Prince William and Kate Middleton with a possum skin coat for Prince George and a kangaroo coat for themselves.

“That’s fantastic thank you very much, he’ll love that – very warm,” Prince William said of the gift for his baby son.

Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Echo Point in Katoomba to see the famous Three Sisters rock formation

Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Echo Point in Katoomba to see the famous Three Sisters rock formation

According to elder Aunty Sharon Brown, chairwoman of the Gundungurra Tribal Council, a baby would traditionally be given a possum cloak with another pelt added to the garment for significant milestones during its life.

They were also greeted by around 3,000 well-wishers, who lined crash barriers at Echo Point.

Anthea Hammon, joint managing director of Scenic World, which runs the visitor centre at the beauty spot, guided Kate Middleton, while Prince William spoke with Randall Walker, chief executive of Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism.

After speaking to Kate Middleton, who wore a Diane von Furstenburg wrap dress and wedges, Anthea Hammon said: “She loved it, it’s a pretty stunning day. She was amazed about how far you could see.

“I was talking to her a little bit about bush walking, she likes walking and there’s lots of places to walk here in the Blue Mountains. She said she was keen to come back.”

Randall Walker said Prince William had been “very impressed” with the views and was interested in the Aboriginal legend about it.

“He was surprised to learn it’s the most visited regional site in Australia,” he said.

The royal couple also did a walkabout, meeting the crowds who had waited to greet them.

Meanwhile, Prince William and Kate Middleton narrowly avoided a minor incident, which happened before they arrived in the town of Winmalee to meet the bushfire survivors.

Two men had allegedly harassed some locals, who had gathered to greet the royal couple, before being moved on by police.

A New South Wales Police spokesman confirmed: “At 12:10 [local time] today police stopped and spoke to two men aged 37 and 21 who were allegedly harassing members of the crowd who were gathered at the corner of Single Ridge Road and Vista Road, Winmalee.

“The pair were moved on from the area prior to the motorcade coming past.”

Prince George did not take part in the tour of the mountain region.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are expected to bring 8-month-old Prince George to Taronga zoo in Sydney on Sunday where an enclosure housing bilbys – a rabbit-like marsupial – will be named after him.

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