Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove is still coming to terms with being a knight.
On his first official duty since being sworn in as governor-general, Sir Peter was asked about how his knighthood fitted with his already lengthy title.
A reporter asked: “Are you still getting used to `Sir Peter’?”
“I don’t think I ever will, ” Sir Peter said.
“I’m not going to get too taken up with titles – I’ve had titles since I was a staff cadet at Duntroon.
“Never been a mister since I left school – I’ve always been a something else. I’m honoured by that but I’m not going to become too sort of …”
A press minder moved on Sir Peter before he could say anything further.
The governor-general, a former defence force chief who led the recovery effort in north Queensland after Cyclone Larry hit in 2006, has visited bushfire-hit areas north of Melbourne, joined by his wife Lynne.
They spoke to townspeople and BlazeAid volunteers in Wandong, about 70km north of Melbourne, before also visiting a property in nearby Chintin where a home was destroyed in February this year.
“Surreal, it’s been absolutely magic,” BlazeAid founder Kevin Butler said of the visit.
“What a great governor-general – he brings to the office just a wealth of leadership, charisma, empathy … (he) just embraces everything that is Australia.
“What a wonderful five years or whatever he’s got (in the role) that we have as Australians.”
Mr Butler said the visit had shown bushfire-hit communities that their plight has been recognised, that they should put up their hand for help and in future years they may be able to help others.
BlazeAid is a not-for-profit group that provides voluntary labour to repair or rebuild fire-damaged fences.
It was founded by Mr Butler after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and now has 11,000 volunteers nationwide.
Its volunteers were rebuilding fences on Scott Pape’s Chintin property on Monday as the financial adviser and media personality, his wife Elizabeth and 10-month-old son Lewis met with Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove on the hillside overlooking the foundations of their destroyed home.
“We got married under that tree, had been living here for two years and to lose everything so soon was heartbreaking – although the idea is we’ll be here till the day we die so it’s a short-term blip,” Mr Pape later told AAP.
He described the visit, and the work by BlazeAid, as a real turning point of what has been a tough couple of months.