Michael Dillon

I was lucky enough to be at one of two schools at which the Awards were trialled in Australia in the early 1960's. I was just the right age and my mates and I were thus the first Aussies to roam the Australian bush doing our "Duke of Ed". We used to put ourselves and our bicycles on an overnight train and ride all over the Australian Alps.

I became the first Australian Gold Awardee but not the last. An astonishing 800,000 Australians have done the "Duke of Ed" over the last 60 years.

I come across them in the bush and my heart rejoices to see them. Out in the bush where they might otherwise never have ventured, relishing one another company, phones nowhere in sight, getting fit, soaking up the natural world, being nurtured by it, and learning to love and protect it.

I know from my own experience, that what they have been exposed to will shape their values, their passions and maybe even their careers. They will keep on doing the "Duke of Ed" their whole lives.

So Prince Philip, on behalf of us 800,000 Duke of Ed Aussies, we thank you for enriching our lives. Thank you for this, your greatest legacy. You have taken us all on thousands of journeys. It's now our turn to wish you bon voyage.