124th Queen's Prize Presentation, Queensland Rifle Association
Thank you for extending such a warm welcome to me on my first visit to this superb facility – and for giving me my first opportunity to witness the grand tradition of chairing and piping the Queen’s Prize winner into the room.
Earlier this afternoon, during my all-too-brief visit to the marvellous Queensland Rifle Association museum, I was reminded of just how important tradition is to this organisation and of how strong the Association’s vice regal ties have been since the link was first forged more than a century and a half ago by our State’s first governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen.
As many of you will know, one of Sir George’s first actions when he arrived in Brisbane in 1859 was to establish Queensland’s Volunteer Forces in order to protect the new colony.
What some among you may not know is that, within eighteen months of his arrival, in addition to creating the volunteer forces, Sir George had agreed to become the Patron of the newly established Queensland Rifle Association. He saw clearly that the new Association would lend vital support to the defence of Queensland by providing instruction and shooting practice for the members of the Volunteer Forces.
That link between the volunteer forces and the Association continued well into the 20th century when so many young rifleman signed up to serve Australia in the First World War – something we were all reminded of, less than a fortnight ago, when nations around the world conducted sombre ceremonies to commemorate the centenary of the declaration of World War I.
Of course the 2014 Queen’s Cup competition also falls only weeks after a much happier occasion – the triumphant return of the 29 members of the Australian shooting team from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. With six gold and two bronze medals, the team won more gold than any other nation competing in the sport, and earned a spot as one of only three Australian sports to exceed their medal target.
That is a truly exceptional result and augurs well for the 2018 games when this world-class centre will once again play a starring role as a Games venue.
By then it will have been 26 years since we watched Matilda, the Games mascot, circle the arena, winking at the world, but given the excellent form of the Australian shooters in Glasgow, I have every expectation that we will see this year’s Games total exceeded, especially with competition once again on home soil.
Certainly, the future of the sport of shooting, in all its disciplines, appears to be in good hands in Queensland at the moment – as the only Queenslander in the Glasgow team, young Kippa-Ring skeet shooter Paul Adams has set a great example for all up-coming shooters, and I know every Queensland shooter, irrespective of his or her preferred speciality, is right behind the two young Queensland shooters who, today, are beginning the adventure of a lifetime as competitors in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
Thank you once again for the invitation to be with you today.
I commend the Association on their excellent organisation of the event, I congratulate the winners on their success, and I look forward to presenting the Queen’s Prize Winner and top place-getters shortly.
Finally, I thank all competitors for entering into the spirit of the contest and for their continued enthusiasm and advocacy for their sport.