PM’s breakfast at Bronte

Mayor Martyn Evans, left, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
at  Willow Court this morning.

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spent an hour in New Norfolk this morning, meeting about 250 locals and dignitaries from the Lyons electorate over breakfast in Bronte House at historic Willow Court.

The guest list included representatives from throughout the electorate, including business operators, community members, primary and high school students, members of parliament, local councillors and a gaggle of mayors from the south of the state.

Welcoming the prime minister to New Norfolk, Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson said it was fitting that the event was being held in the largest town in the electorate. He went on to describe the municipality as the home of hops, cherries, the New Norfolk District Football Club and Her Excellency the Governor of Tasmania.

Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson, left, with
Premier Will Hodgman.

Mr Hutchinson touched on the significance of hosting the event at Willow Court, where the $2 million first stage of a conservation and redevelopment project has just been completed. He said the site’s nomination for National Heritage List status had progressed to the full assessment stage.

As well as acknowledging the assistance of the Derwent Valley Council in preparing for the visit at short notice, the federal member thanked the Magra CWA for taking care of the catering requirements.

Mr Hutchinson introduced the prime minister to special guest Ken O’Brien and related the story of how Mr O’Brien had provided armchairs for use by Sir Robert Menzies and Dame Pattie Menzies during their visit to New Norfolk in 1954. The then prime minister gave an election speech in the Plaza Theatre in High St and Mr O’Brien, who lived behind his family business across the street, was asked to provide several comfortable chairs for the Menzies’ use. Mr O’Brien still has the same chairs, 61 years later.

The venue in Bronte House at Willow Court.

Mr Hutchinson told the assembled guests that Mr O’Brien was also a distinguished veteran of World War II and this was seized upon by the prime minister in his own opening remarks, saying it was a privilege to have Mr O’Brien at the event. “Thank you for your service to this community and your service to our country,” Mr Turnbull said.

While not having any announcements to make during his hour at New Norfolk, the prime minister appeared to meet just about everyone present. He signed many autographs and posed for numerous photos, showing extreme patience in one or two cases. While being driven to his next engagement Mr Turnbull took to Twitter to express his thanks for the warm reception at New Norfolk and uploaded a photo of himself with Mr O’Brien.

How many Australian prime ministers have visited New Norfolk? At least six: Stanley Bruce in 1925 and 1929, Ben Chifley in 1947, Bob Menzies in 1954, Bob Hawke in 1990, Paul Keating in 1996, and now Malcolm Turnbull in 2015.

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