125th Anniversary of Braille House
Member for Moreton, Mr Graham Perrett MP, General Manager, Braille House, Mr Richard Barker; members of the Queensland Braille Writing Association; supporters, volunteers and friends of Braille House, good afternoon.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
Earlier this year, Graeme and I were delighted to host an afternoon tea at Government House to mark the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the Queensland Braille Writing Association, and it’s wonderful today to see so many of the current and former members and volunteers here to celebrate this significant milestone.
Very few organisations reach such a venerable age. In some cases, it is because they fail to adapt to changing circumstances; in others, it is because they have lost relevance or can no longer attract support.
As Queenslanders, we can all be very grateful that none of these things apply to Braille House; the organisation is as strong and relevant today as it was 125 years ago when volunteers transcribed their very first book: Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.
The story since then has been something of a fairy tale itself. Braille House has grown from a small number of dedicated women, including the wife of one of my predecessors – the marvellous Lady Lamington – to the robust and focused organisation it is today.
The hard work and commitment of your Management Committee, staff, members, volunteers and donors has steadfastly progressed the goal of Braille House to put the world at the fingertips of all those who are blind or living with low vision.
Recent innovations such as the accessible bedding project with The Lad Collective are wonderful examples of what this flexible, forward-thinking organisation can achieve.
Ironically, it is the public who are often blind – blind to the fact that, for every one hundred books available to a sighted child, there are fewer than five that can be accessed by children with visual impairment; and blind to the fact that quality services like this one are essential if those children are to be empowered to grow into fulfilled, engaged and independent adults who are valued by their communities.
When I was sworn in as Governor last November, I pledged to do all I could to promote and enhance the health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders. It was a commitment I very much wanted to carry forward from my previous role as Queensland’s Chief Health Officer.
Now, as Patron of Braille House, I am very pleased to support your advocacy for equal access to health services for the blind and visually impaired.
I thank you all for your continued dedication to the mission of Braille House and congratulate you on 125 wonderful years of service to Queenslanders and to our State. Thank you.