SHE may be the Queen's representative in Australia, but Governor-General Quentin Bryce seemed every bit a local country girl when she visited the Clarence Valley yesterday.
Ms Bryce made a stop-over in the area to inspect flood damage, thank SES volunteers and talk to residents who had been affected by the flood last week.
The first stop was the SES shed in Brushgrove where Ms Bryce thanked SES members for their efforts and mingled with some of the locals over a cup of tea and a biscuit or two.
Brushgrove resident and SES volunteer John Beal said he was honoured to meet the G-G.
“I think it's great that she's here, she's a lovely lady and she's got such a depth of knowledge and understanding about how this country works so for her to be here, it's more than a token gesture,” Mr Beal said.
Brushgrove's Piper family, who had water through the lower section of their home during the flood, was also impressed with Ms Bryce's friendly, easy-going demeanour.
“She's the Queen's representative and I think it's quite good she's here, it shows she cares, she is a lovely lady,” Robert Piper said.
Mr Piper, also an SES volunteer, said he'd had a good chat with Ms Bryce's husband, Michael, who was along for the tour.
“Her husband, he's a top bloke; he could be just a bushy from the pub somewhere, he's that sort of bloke,” Mr Piper said.
Ms Bryce then visited the Clarence Community Recovery Centre in Grafton, where she chatted to people directly affected by the flood.
“It's a wonderful opportunity to be here in Grafton, this beautiful part of Australia, to talk to people about their experiences in flood,” Ms Bryce said.
“The effects of this flood have been terrible, of course on people's lives but also on the fishing industry, our beef and dairy industries, along with tourism.
“This is a much-loved part of Australia, the Northern Rivers, and I know that you're familiar with the ravages of flood here and that shines through because you can see that people know what to do and there is the most fantastic community spirit here, you see that the minute you step onto the footpath.”
Ms Bryce concluded her visit with a tour of the SES headquarters in South Grafton, where she thanked and chatted to emergency service volunteers.
Along with the Governor-General, yesterday also marked a visit from NSW Emergency Services Minister, Steven Whan, who inspected flood damage and officially opened the Clarence Community Recovery Centre in Prince Street.