Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and US President Donald Trump walk during a State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. Picture: AP /Patrick Semansky.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and US President Donald Trump walk during a State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. Picture: AP /Patrick Semansky.

Famed digger's statue to grace White House

A STATUE of the digger who has come to represent the long US-Australia alliance for Scott Morrison and Donald Trump will find a home in the White House.

The prime minister told the US president the story of Leslie "Bull" Allen in their first phone call after Mr Morrison assumed the leadership just over a year ago.

He has a statue of the WWII soldier from Ballarat in his office at Parliament House.

Now he's commissioned Mudgee sculptor Scott Edwards to create a bronze statuette of Corporal Allen carrying a wounded American off the battlefield in Papua New Guinea as a symbol of the indelible bonds that tie Australia and the US together.

It is mounted on a black marble base with a plaque reading: "On the occasion of the official visit by the Honourable Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and Mrs Jennifer Morrison, to symbolise the enduring mateship between the peoples of Australia and the United States of America, September 2019."

Mr Morrison presented the figurine to Mr Trump when they met at the White House on Friday morning.

Later, at the state dinner in his honour, the prime minister revealed plans for an extra part of the gift.

"We would be honoured if you would permit Australia as our gift to erect a life-size memorial of this image here in Washington at a place of your choosing as a constant reminder of our dedication to our American friends," he said.

In return, the president also looked to the military relationship.

He presented the prime minister with a model of the US Navy's littoral combat ship USS Canberra currently being built in Alabama, and a piece of the aluminium cut during its construction.

Mr Trump also gave a framed map of the Battle of the Coral Sea, jointly fought by the two countries in 1942.

For first lady Melania Trump, the Australian couple brought a set of Paspaley earrings with baroque Australian South Sea Keshi pearls from WA.

And for Mr Trump's youngest son Barron, a keen soccer fan, they gave the president a personalised Socceroos jersey with his name and the number four on the back.

Mrs Trump gave Jenny Morrison a Tiffany's silver and gold infinity cuff in a jewellery box that features wood from a magnolia tree that fell on the White House grounds.

As well, the Morrisons jointly received a leather-bound photo album embossed with 23-karat gold and a pewter Tiffany's Revere bowl engraved with the presidential seal and the signatures of Mr and Mrs Trump, both customary gifts for official visitors.

The president's staff will fill the album with photos and mementos of the visit before handing it over.

Mr Morrison didn't go empty-handed to his state luncheon with Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He gave a pair of black RM Williams boots to Mr Pence, a silk scarf with a native meadow pattern to Mrs Pence, an Akubra to Mr Pompeo and a Pauline Gallagher merino woollen throw based on an Aboriginal artwork to Mrs Pompeo.


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