Queensland’s “Lady Flo” dies aged 97

FORMER Queensland senator Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen has died aged 97.

The widow of the sunshine state’s longest-serving premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen passed away surrounded by her family and loved ones at Orana Aged Care Service in Kingaroy on Wednesday afternoon following a short illness.

Born on August 11, 1920, Florence Isabel Gilmour, or simply “Lady Flo” as she was fondly known by Queenslanders, was beloved for her political will, manner and, of course, her prize-winning pumpkin scones.


After marrying Joh on May 31, 1952, Lady Flo went on to become an influential Senator from 1981 to 1993, including serving six years after her husband was ousted from the Premier’s office.

Royal Tour of Government House in Brisbane in March 1977. From left; Governor Sir James Ramsay, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, HRH Duke of Edinburgh, Lady Ramsay, Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Florence Bjelke-Petersen | Source: Public Domain

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released a statement shortly after the news of her passing broke.

“On behalf of all Queenslanders, I want to express my sorrow and send my condolences to the family of Lady Florence “Flo” Bjelke-Petersen,” Ms Palaszczuk 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.”