(North Sydney) (13:36): This week we lost a wonderful Australian, Daphne Dunne, who passed away on Monday at the grand age of 99. Daphne captured the hearts of many of us—in my community, across our nation and, perhaps most famously of all, in the royal palaces of London. Daphne celebrated her 99th birthday just last Friday.
She was the widow of one of our nation’s heroes, Albert Chowne VC, MM, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during an engagement with Japanese forces in Papua New Guinea in 1945. In one of those sad twists of fate, Lieutenant Chowne had arranged flowers to be sent to her for her birthday. The roses for his young bride arrived after Chowne was killed and just moments before the fateful news of his death was conveyed to Daphne. It is no surprise that Daphne spent much of her life ensuring the legacy of our veterans is never forgotten.
Daphne became something of an international celebrity because of her affection for Prince Harry, who she met in Australia on several occasions. She was his No. 1 fan, and they established an instant and genuine rapport. Daphne Dunne lived her life to the fullest. In fact, just last year I was amazed to find her at the Sydney Mardi Gras, which she was attending for the first time at the age of 98. Always with a cheeky smile, a story to tell and a grace that was common of many of her generation, she was well known across my community, where she lived. I was proud to call her a friend and, like so many, I mourn her passing today. I send my deepest condolences to her family. Rest in peace, Daphne Dunne.