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The Queen Heads To Australia For 11-Day Tour

Australia is due to welcome the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for an 11-day royal tour that will embrace all elements of the nation.

The monarch's visit is her first to the country in five years and comes ahead of her attendance at a major gathering of Commonwealth leaders in Perth.

The royal couple will be based for much of their time in the capital Canberra but will also travel to Melbourne and Brisbane, experiencing everything from a giant barbecue to a tram ride and a riverboat journey.

Some commentators have said the visit by the 85-year-old monarch could be her last to Australia, but similar views have been expressed about other royal tour destinations ever since she turned 80.

In a country where republicans believe it is only a matter of time before Australia opts for an elected head of state, few protests are expected against the Queen.

Hollywood star Hugh Jackman described the high esteem the sovereign is held in by some people back home, when he joined Elle Macpherson and a host of other stars at a reception for Australians hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace last week.

He said: "Even the republicans, the ones in Australia who want to see Australia move on, still have great respect and love for the Queen. I've never heard anyone say different."

Highlights of the Queen's 11-day tour include a record-breaking barbecue, and travelling by tram through Melbourne and by boat up the Brisbane River. The royal itinerary reveals a comprehensive list of events for the Queen and the 90-year-old duke, with an away day to Brisbane on October 24 and Melbourne two days later.

Australia's military heritage and its servicemen and women, and veterans, will be recognised by the Queen. Colours will be presented by the monarch to the Royal Military College, Duntroon, which trains the country's officers, on October 22 and three days later a wreath will be laid at the Australian War Memorial.

The efforts of the emergency services who dealt with the Brisbane floods earlier this year and the families they helped will also be recognised. The royal couple will travel through the city by boat and meet firefighters, paramedics, police and local communities at a reception.