Reception for the Conferral of Adult Recognition and Youth Awards, Scouts Australia (Queensland Branch)
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House tonight, this being our first engagement with the Scouts since my being sworn in as Governor last month.
Many of you would know that my Commonwealth counterpart, the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, is the Chief Scout of Australia. By agreeing to be the Patron of the Queensland Branch, I accept the honourable title of State Chief Scout, and, I should add, Kaye has agreed to be Patron of the Girl Guides, which makes tonight especially important to us.
Scouts has a long and fascinating history. The movement arrests in us that most wonderful, universal sense of enquiry and adventure we have as children, and provides challenging ways for it to grow, ensuring we have every chance of reaching our full potential.
Tonight, I have the honour of presenting the Baden-Powell and Queen’s Scout Awards to these wonderful young Queenslanders before me. I also acknowledge recognised leaders of the movement who will receive their Silver Kangaroo and National President’s Awards.
Kaye and I applaud whole-heartedly your commitment to advancing your physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development.
Older men tend to reminisce, and I remember fondly my time as a Cub then Scout at the Corinda – as then known – “troop”, in the early 1960s, which then met, and still does, at the Hut in Hives Park off Thallon Street in Sherwood.
In the course of our recent move to Fernberg, I discovered my Scout belt (display); I imagine it recently experienced its 50th or 55th birthday – and yes, there is a contrast to be noted in terms of waistline!
Consistently with my retention of the belt, it is the fact that I still cherish my Scout experience, for imparting in me at an early age a sense of service, and civic and personal pride, which I hope has survived.
When our 8-year-old grandson, Alexander, first learnt that Grandmother and Grandfather would be taking up residence at this magnificent Estate, his first question was whether he could fish in the Government House pond! So there’s hope yet for another true Scout in our family…
Once again, Kaye and I congratulate you heartily on your achievements, and my own nostalgic reminiscence aside, it is your achievements which we so enthusiastically celebrate tonight.
I leave you with a final thought from British poet and author Rudyard Kipling. Lord Baden-Powell was said to have had the moral universe of Kipling’s writings, particularly The Jungle Book, in mind when he created the Scouting movement in the early 1900s. This line is from another of Kipling’s works, the poem If:
As you meet with Triumph and Disaster learn to treat these two imposters just the same…
I am confident your experiences with Scouts will prepare you, better than most, to do just that, as you go about your journey reaching your full potential. Resilience is an important concomitant of the four aims of our wonderful movement. Thank you, and every best wish.