Stan Grant’s mum had no socks and almost missed out on seeing Queen Elizabeth II on 1954 visit

How Stan Grant’s mother was so poor she almost missed out on seeing The Queen visit Australia because her family had to share SOCKS – as he reveals his ‘asphyxiating anger’ over Her Majesty’s death

  • Stan Grant’s mother almost missed out on seeing The Queen during 1954 visit
  • She couldn’t afford socks and had to borrow pair worn by brother day before
  • Grant shared family’s struggle with poverty and racism in Australia in 1900s 
  • He vented frustration at being unable to speak up on Aboriginal issues
  • Journalist felt important issues were called ‘inappropriate’ after Queen’s death 
  • He said he could not mourn the death of The Queen without ‘conflict’ 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

ABC star Stan Grant’s mother almost missed out on seeing The Queen during her first royal visit to Australia because she couldn’t afford socks.

The veteran journalist said his mother Betty Grant lived outside of Coonabarabran, in regional north-west NSW, when The Queen toured the country in 1954.

He said his mother grew up poor and almost missed out on a school trip to Dubbo to see Her Majesty because of a strict dress code enforced by her school.

Students at the time were required to wear socks and his mother didn’t have any – so she had to borrow the same pair her older brother wore on his trip the day before.

Stan Grant has recalled the time his mother almost missed out on seeing The Queen during her first royal visit to Australia because she couldn't afford socks

Stan Grant has recalled the time his mother almost missed out on seeing The Queen during her first royal visit to Australia because she couldn’t afford socks

The veteran journalist said his mother Betty Grant was outside of Coonabarabran, in regional north-west NSW, when Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia in 1954

The veteran journalist said his mother Betty Grant was outside of Coonabarabran, in regional north-west NSW, when Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia in 1954

‘Socks were a luxury. Clothes and shoes were shared among a dozen siblings,’ he wrote in an opinion piece for ABC.

‘Mum’s older brother had made the royal trek a day earlier and met mum at the back fence between the primary and high schools and threw his socks over.’

Grant reflected on the poverty and racism his family experienced in the 1900s as he opened up on the unfair treatment of Aboriginals in white Australia.

He admitted the ill treatment and ongoing issues in the community had prevented him from joining the rest of the country to mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. 

‘I have watched as others have worn black and reported on this historic event, participated in this ritual mourning. And knowing I cannot,’ he wrote.

‘They come to this with no conflict. I cannot.’

He shared stories of his grandfather being tied to a tree by police, his aunts and uncles being taken to welfare homes, and his family living in poverty.

‘The girl with no socks got to see the Queen, while her family and other black families lived in poverty that the Crown inflicted on them,’ he wrote.

Grant said he felt ‘asphyxiating anger’ at being forced to remain silent on Aboriginal issues out of respect for the late monarch.

‘We aren’t supposed to talk about colonisation, empire, violence about Aboriginal sovereignty, not even about the republic,’ he wrote.

A fired-up Stan Grant has vented his frustration at being unable to speak up about ongoing Aboriginal issues in the wake of The Queen's death

A fired-up Stan Grant has vented his frustration at being unable to speak up about ongoing Aboriginal issues in the wake of The Queen’s death

The veteran journalist, who is of Aboriginal heritage, said he felt 'asphyxiating anger' he has been forced to remain silent out of respect for the late monarch

The veteran journalist, who is of Aboriginal heritage, said he felt ‘asphyxiating anger’ he has been forced to remain silent out of respect for the late monarch

‘I’m sure I am not alone amongst Indigenous people wrestling with swirling emotions.’

The ABC, which employs Grant as its international affairs analyst, also looked at the dark side of The Queen’s reign.

Grant’s piece was one of the national broadcaster’s top two stories on Sunday, both of which criticised the monarchy – breaking with the media’s otherwise respectful observance of the mourning period.

‘Queen Elizabeth’s empire is a shadow of its former might – but its damage can’t be undone,’ the first headline read.

The second was the opinion piece written by Grant airing his frustration with the headline: ‘As my colleagues have worn black in mourning for the Queen, I’ve wrestled with asphyxiating anger — and I’m not alone’.

Grant said he was ‘wrestling with swirling emotions’ wanting to speak up on Aboriginal issues but being told it was not an appropriate time.

He said everyone from the prime minister down told Indigenous Australians it was not appropriate to talk about colonial history during mourning for The Queen.

The ABC, which employs Grant as its international affairs analyst, also looked at the dark side of The Queen's reign

The ABC, which employs Grant as its international affairs analyst, also looked at the dark side of The Queen’s reign

Grant turned his attention to the latest push by prime minister Anthony Albanese to introduce an Indigenous Voice to Parliament

Grant turned his attention to the latest push by prime minister Anthony Albanese to introduce an Indigenous Voice to Parliament

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted a number of high-profile Aboriginal Australians to criticise her 70 year reign

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted a number of high-profile Aboriginal Australians to criticise her 70 year reign

Indigenous NRLW star Caitlin Moran was also served a one-game ban after appearing to celebrate the Queen's death in a since-deleted Instagram post

Indigenous NRLW star Caitlin Moran was also served a one-game ban after appearing to celebrate the Queen’s death in a since-deleted Instagram post 

Grant turned his attention to the push by prime minister Anthony Albanese to introduce an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 

He said enough Australians voting in a referendum to create one was likely, but it would be no use if it was silenced at time like this. 

The Indigenous Voice to Parliament is proposed to be an elected body of First Nations representatives enshrined in the constitution that would advise the government on issues affecting them. 

The Queen’s death has prompted high-profile Aboriginal Australians to criticise her 70-year reign.

Indigenous Australian newsreader Narelda Jacobs (pictured) called on Britain to apologise for its colonisation of First Nations people following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Indigenous Australian newsreader Narelda Jacobs (pictured) called on Britain to apologise for its colonisation of First Nations people following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

She was head of state during the Stolen Generation and before Aboriginal Australians were finally recognised as citizens at the 1967 referendum. 

The AFL sparked backlash after announcing it would not observe a minute of silence for The Queen’s death during the AFLW Indigenous Round out of sensitivity.

Indigenous NRLW star Caitlin Moran was also served a one-game ban after appearing to celebrate the Queen’s death in a since-deleted Instagram post.

Indigenous Channel 10 newsreader Narelda Jacobs called on Britain to apologise for its colonisation of First Nations.

Indigenous Voice to Parliament slammed as ‘waste of money’

Aboriginal senator Lidia Thorpe has labelled a referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament a ‘waste of money’. 

Ms Thorpe first wants a treaty with First Nations people and believes a referendum to change the constitution is a waste of time.

‘The costs involved in a referendum are better spent on what is needed in our communities,’ she said. 

Ms Thorpe has also dismissed the indigenous leaders who will steer the Indigenous Voice to Parliament as ‘captain’s picks’.

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney has launched a working group to push the issue towards a referendum in the next two years.

Aboriginal senator Lidia Thorpe has labelled a referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament a 'waste of money'

Aboriginal senator Lidia Thorpe has labelled a referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament a ‘waste of money’ 

The group included prominent leader Noel Pearson, human rights lawyer Megan Davis, and health advocate Pat Anderson.

But Senator Thorpe said they were ‘captain’s picks’ who did not reflect indigenous voices and the focus should instead have been on grassroots leaders and activists.

‘I mean, we want to talk about grassroots. I don’t see anyone different in the list that I’ve seen so far, so they haven’t gone very far and wide,’ she said.

‘There’s a lot of work to do and grassroots people have been contacting me since the announcement – they’re not happy and they need to do better.’

‘We need to define who Aboriginal leaders are in this country, because it’s very easy to label one, and we also need to define who grassroots are in this country.

‘Grassroots don’t have big paying jobs; they’re not CEOs or chairpersons of organisations, grassroots are the people who you never hear from and they’re the people that should be behind the microphone today.’

Senator Thorpe complained she was ‘locked out of the conversation’ with the Albanese Government but would soon meet with Ms Burney about ‘truth, treaty and voice’.  

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