'pounds 10 Poms' still clinging to the mother country

AT THE top of a gravel driveway shaded by graceful silver gum trees, Barrie Hunt is chopping dead wood. He breaks off to give a guided tour of his spacious garden. There are tall eucalyptuses and wispy grevilleas. "I only plant Australian natives", he says.

Mr Hunt, who emigrated from Manchester in 1960, has taken the local flora to heart. But for the head of state for his adopted country, only the monarchy will do. "I've always been a patriot" he says. "The British way of life and British institutions have a lot to offer."

He is determined to vote "no" in Saturday's referendum asking Australians whether they want to break their country's 211-year-old link with Britain to become a republic with an Australian president.

So too will most of the million-plus Britons who have settled in Australia since the Second World War, many of them "pounds 10 Poms", enticed here by the offer of a pounds 10 passage from a government desperate for fresh blood.

The British migrants like Australia just as it is, and are horrified by the idea of waving goodbye to the mother country. Guernsey-born Mr Hunt, a research scientist with a government agency, explains: "When you come to Australia, you feel at home. The laws are very similar, they speak the same language and they drive on the correct side of the road"

Hell will freeze over before Mr Hunt abandons the monarchy. He is upset by the sniping at the Queen in Australia's press, particularly Rupert Murdoch's pro-republican newspapers. Mr Murdoch spoke out yesterday in favour of a "yes" vote, warning that Australia would suffer a "loss of self-respect" if it rejected a republic.

Pat Mathew, 61, a pounds 10 Pom who has been in Australia for 40 years, is laid-back about the prospect of change. "I've not made my mind up yet about which way to vote, but I don't think that life would be much different under a president" she says. "The only thing that I would miss about the Queen is the pomp and fanfare."

Alan Bouch, another British migrant, disagrees. "The Queen is like an umpire ... If someone misbehaves, she gives out a red card or a yellow card. If you take away the system we've got now, there'll just be politicians dictating to us".

Many Britons have become naturalised Australians, albeit some rather grudgingly. But another 300,000 British settlers have not taken Australian citizenship yet are eligible to vote because of a legal anomaly. Not surprisingly, republican campaigners are infuriated by this state of affairs.

Mr Hunt has a novel response to the argument that Australia needs its own head of state. "Why don't we start our own monarchy?" he says, straight- faced. "We could invite Princess Anne over. That would keep the feminists happy. And I believe her eldest son is a terrific young man, so there would be no problem with the succession."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'