TO Australia he is His Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AC MC (retired).
However to six-year-old Bailey Bergin of Ulladulla and her family, Australia’s new Governor-General is simply Uncle Peter.
And just minutes after he was sworn in as Australia’s 26th Governor-General, Sir Peter had Bailey sitting on his lap during a luncheon in Government House.
Bailey represented her younger siblings Daniel, four, and two-year-old Rose when she joined parents Peter and Sue Bergin in Canberra to witness General Cosgrove’s swearing in as Governor-General, and she created a number of firsts.
The swearing in took place in the Senate, and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said Bailey was among only a handful of children ever to have been on the Senate floor as it had always been a taboo.
Not only was she on the Senate floor, Bailey and cousin Jack, the son of Marl and Meagan Bergin of Engadine, engaged in a game of leap-frog while in the Senate.
Sir Peter asked for a photograph of the two playing to be blown up and put in his office.
“He thought it was brilliant,” Mr Bergin said.
“It’s probably not the first time there has been leap-frog on the Senate floor, but quite possibly the first pre-teen,” the Governor-General said later.
“I was very proud to have my great niece and great nephew with me.”
Bailey and Jack were also believed to have been the first children to attend an official lunch in Government House with the Governor-General, and earlier in the day Bailey was given royal treatment, being chauffeured around in official cars and offered official greetings “whereas we just got ushered in,” Mr Bergin said.
His mother Janice Bergin is the sister of Sir Peter’s wife Lynne, and said General Cosgrove had always been close to their family.
He recalled his uncle taking him shooting following a tour of the 1RAR barracks in Townsville, where General Cosgrove was in command.
Mr Begin described his uncle as “an ordinary man who has achieved extraordinary things”.
“It’s amazing how much respect Uncle Peter commands over the whole thing,” he said.
“When he talks they all stop and listen.”
Mr Bergin said it was “a great honour” to be included in the swearing in, but said it was typical of his uncle and his strong focus on family.
“His family stood behind and beside him all the way,” Mr Bergin said.
He expected the strong family link to continue, as General Cosgrove and Lynne had been to Ulladulla “many times”, and Mr Bergin said that would continue.
Which is great news for Bailey, because, “Bailey absolutely adores Peter,” Mr Bergin said.