The changing face of Governor transport
Ever since our first Governor, Sir George Bowen, stepped ashore from the paddle steamer Breadalbane, Governors have employed a huge variety of transport to meet the people of Queensland.
Bowen once wrote that “You should never send a Governor here who cannot ride and shoot”. His advice was born of experience - he once rode seventy miles in eight hours on a vice-regal tour of the Darling Downs.
In the early days of the colony, travel times were daunting. After Governor Blackall sailed by steamer to Maryborough in 1860, the Brisbane Courier reported the Governor left for Gympie by mail coach in the morning and arrived at half past five in the afternoon.
Once Lady Diamantina Bowen turned the the sod on the first railway line in Queensland - from Ipswich to Grandchester - the rail network expanded rapidly. In 1901, Sir Herbert Chermside was the first to arrive by train from Sydney, instead of coming by sea.
Governors were frequently transported by horse-drawn carriages - including Sir William Cairns who travelled to the very first Ekka by carriage in 1876.
Governors embraced the motor car as enthusiastically as their fellow Queenslanders - long before the system of sealed roads kept up. Governor Sir Leslie Wilson frequently had to hop out of his vehicle to dig it out of a bog, after a Queensland thunderstorm turned the road to mud!
On a vice regal visit to Longreach in 1912, Governor Sir William MacGregor noted longingly that a flying machine would be useful over such a large scope of country.
In the past twelve months, the Governor has made use of planes – and trains and automobiles, ferries, four-wheel drives, and even a beach buggy – to cover a "large scope of country" as he carries out his promise to be a Governor for all Queenslanders.