The Governor General Peter Cosgrove didn’t speak to media during his whirlwind visit to the Illawarra on Tuesday.
But Sir Cosgrove did let it slip that he almost moved to Wollongong many years ago.
“You nearly had me as a temporary resident,” the retired senior Australian Army officer told those at a civic reception held in his honour at Wollongong Art Gallery.
“The local ABC radio wanted me to replace a presenter who was leaving...unfortunately I couldn’t meet the schedule attached to that.”
This request was after his army days but before the then prime minister Tony Abbott announced in January 2014, that the Queen had accepted his advice to appoint Peter Cosgrove as the 26th Governor-General of Australia.
Mr Abbott is no longer in charge, having been ousted by Malcolm Turnbull, who himself suffered the same fate at the hands of Scott Morrison just a few weeks ago.
While Mr Cosgrove didn’t talk about how the latest prime minister came to power, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery inadvertently broached the subject – while praising the role the governor general plays in the “execution and maintenance of the Australian constitution and of the laws of the Commonwealth”.
“It has been detailed and complex, especially over the last month. And, I’m sure there are more fun and games to come,” Cr Bradbery said.
Sir Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove started the day at the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Discovery Space.
The hands-on creative learning venue is designed for children from birth to 10 years and their accompanying families, carers, educators and teachers.
Mr Cosgrove was impressed with Australia’s only dedicated children’s museum, and the first-of-its-kind in the world set on a university campus.
“What a brilliant concept. There’s actually nothing else like this in the world. It is such a wonderfully sophisticated but very enjoyable experience for kids,” he said.
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Mr and Mrs Cosgrove also dropped by Kiama High School.
During their visit they got to meet with the year 7 students primarily responsible for leading the school’s efforts to reduce waste by introducing BioPak compostable packaging as a more sustainable option for single-use disposables in the school canteen.
Kiama High School’s initiative recently featured in an episode of the War on Waste series screened on ABC.