Prince Harry gets work as a jackaroo
Posted Tue, 23 Sep 2003
Prince Harry posed for pictures with a koala at Sydney's zoo on Tuesday, hours after jetting into Australia for a three-month stay during his gap year before military college.
"He's not too sure about you lot," Harry told photographers, as he tried to give the koala instructions to look at the cameras.
Prince Charles' second son, third in line to the British throne, arrived at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport shortly after 5am on a British Airways flight from London.
He was whisked away by security officials, but re-emerged a few hours later for what is officially his only media event during the private trip.
As well as the koala, he met an echidna and a joey, or baby kangaroo, and chatted to zoo staff and schoolchildren, shaking their hands.
Wearing a wide-brimmed bush hat, white slacks, a blue open necked shirt and a grey blazer, the 19-year-old prince looked happy amid the relaxed security, although his minders kept watch a short distance away.
"We love you Harry and William, Diana, the lot," said one female admirer.
British businessman Michael Abbott, who sat across the aisle from the prince in first class during his flight, said he had a brief chat with him, but Harry gave little away about his plans for his trip.
"He's a very friendly guy, he was chatting with the flight attendants," Abbott said.
"He stayed up the whole night, reading, watching movies. He was pretty relaxed and pretty happy to be down here."
During his trip, Harry will work as a jackaroo at cattle and sheep stations. According to a spokesperson for his father's office, Harry will be "paid the going rate".
He is also expected to barrack for favourites England during next month's Rugby World Cup.
Harry was keen to learn about indigenous animals and wanted to visit Australia because he had heard about it from his father, the spokesperson said. He will return to Britain to spend Christmas at home.
The start of the trip has been marred somewhat, however, by controversy in Australia over the cost of the prince's security, costing the Australian taxpayer some AUS$600 000 (US$400 000).
Many Australians favour a republic, although the idea was rejected in a 1999 referendum.
The Australian Tourist Commission on Tuesday weighed into the debate on the government's side, saying the prince's visit and next month's Rugby World Cup were bringing publicity for Australia in Britain to its highest levels since the Sydney Olympics of 2000.