Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen has died

FORMER Queensland Senator Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen, nee Gilmour, has died, aged 97.

Orana Aged Care Service announced her death in a statement on December 20.

"It is with great sadness that we inform you that Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen peacefully passed away at 3.46pm December 20 after a short period of illness at Luther Services Orana Aged Care Service where she had resided since August 2014," the statement said.

"She was surrounded by her family and loved ones including her sister Margaret Gilmour.

"We safely entrust her into the hands of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

"Until recently she actively participated as organist for church within the Orana community and other aged care facilities in Kingaroy. Lady Flo as she was fondly known was 97 years old.

"She will be sorely missed by her family many across Queensland and beyond.

"Lady Flo was loved and will be missed by all staff and residents of Orana.

"Funeral arrangements are yet to be advised."

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell led the tributes to Lady Flo, calling her a remarkable woman.

"She was just so down to earth, so caring, so compassionate and a lady who was forever grateful and thankful," Cr Campbell said.

"Her deep conviction of her faith and trust in the Lord will ensure her a good place in heaven."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took to Twitter to offer his sympathies to the Bjelke-Petersen family.

"After her long life of public service we say thanks to Lady Flo. Rest In peace," the Prime Minister said.

"Joh and Flo devoted their lives to Queensland and its success and dynamism owes so much to their vision and leadership."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also paid tribute to Lady Flo.

"On behalf of all Queenslanders, I want to express my sorrow and send my condolences to the family of Lady Florence "Flo" Bjelke-Petersen, upon reports of her death at 97 years," the Premier said.

"Lady Flo, as she is fondly known, was the wife of Queensland's longest-serving Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and brought her passions for cooking - those famous pumpkin scones - family and faith to the fore during Sir Joh's 19-year service as Premier and 40-year service as a Member of Parliament.

"They were a loving couple and a formidable political pairing.

"Lady Flo represented Queensland in her own right serving as Senator from 1981 to 1993, and supporting many local and State-wide causes."

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen with Lady Flo on thier wedding day in 1952.
Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen with Lady Flo on thier wedding day in 1952.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington, who sits in Joh Bjelke-Petersen's old seat of Nanango, paid tribute to Lady Flo on Facebook.

"Lady Flo was an outstanding and much-loved Queensland who made a wonderful contribution to the community of Kingaroy, Queensland and Australia," Mrs Frecklington said.

"Rest In Peace Lady Flo. You were a rock of our community and will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered.

"I will always cherish your support and guidance."

Maranoa MP and Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, whose father Brian served as Education Minister in the Bjelke-Petersen Government, said he wouldn't have put his hand up for Federal Politics if it weren't for Lady Flo.

"I wouldn't be a Federal MP if it wasn't for the Bjelke-Petersen family and my father wouldn't have been in state politics if it wasn't for the Bjelke-Petersens - I owe them a lot," Mr Littleproud said.

"My family and I joined the Nationals because of Sir Joh and Lady Flo's dedication to Queensland," he said.

"Their values, belief in reward for effort and commitment to community personified what being a Queenslander truly means.

Mr Littleproud said Bjelke-Petersen is a name synonymous with Queensland politics.

"Today, the day we lost Lady Flo, we lost a trailblazer," he said.

"She was a trailblazer in Queensland politics, a strong force who will never be forgotten.

"My sympathies are with Bjelke-Petersen family during this difficult time of loss. This is also a loss for Queenslanders as we remember and honour her legacy in our great state."

Florence Gilmour married Country Party MP Joh Bjelke-Petersen on May 31 1952, after they met when she was working as a private secretary to the Queensland Commissioner for Main Roads.

She served as a Senator between 1981 and 1993.

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen died in 2005.

She is remembered today for her pumpkin scones recipe.

Florence Bjelke-Petersen is survived by her children John, Helen, Meg and Ruth.

South Burnett

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