Official Opening of the 2014 'Ekka'
Opening the 2014 Royal Queensland Show (the 'Ekka'):
Good evening and welcome to the Ekka.
I at once acknowledge, with great respect, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we gather today, the Jagera and Turrbul people, and I thank Songwoman Maroochy for her moving and dignified welcome here tonight.
My wife Kaye and I are truly honoured to be here this evening, especially as this is one of my first major public duties as your Governor.
Along with all Queenslanders, we hold the Ekka very closely to our hearts.
For decades, it has been a constant in our lives; a gauge, you could say, from which we measure and track our own journeys against the advancement of this State we are so proud to call home.
As grandparents, we take great delight in witnessing the genuine sense of intrigue, adventure and eager anticipation which enlivens our grandchildren when the Ekka rolls around every August, just as it was for us many years ago…
It is nostalgically important for both of us, just as I trust it has been - and will continue to be into the future - for you all, our wonderful fellow Queenslanders.
For Queensland, the Ekka charts the unique evolution and pace of life here.
The meeting of town and country…
A place where our cattle and culture collide, and indeed complement each other in that unique and celebrated Queensland way…
The weaving together of genuine country charm with Brisbane’s worldly outlook…
Over the years, as Acting Governor, I have had the pleasure of attending and opening a number of Queensland shows.
Whether it’s here at the Ekka, or 2000 kilometres away in Cloncurry in Western Queensland, their purpose is the same: mirrors of the social fabric and very essence of our communities, and windows into the engine rooms of our society and economy. They are both emblems, and a source, of regional and civic pride.
Every year I marvel at the capacity of the Ekka to bring this regional pride straight from the farm-gates to the centre of Brisbane.
And it is this lively exchange which truly, magnificently gives the Ekka its unique energy and distinctive character.
This year the Ekka pledges to give Queenslanders more of what’s ‘best on show’ in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, art, education and – of course – entertainment.
During the very first Ekka in 1876, the organisers had to turn down an offer of fireworks for fear there wouldn’t be enough interest to make them commercially viable. These days, of course, the Ekka without pyrotechnic displays igniting the night sky is almost unthinkable. This year, organisers promise the daily ‘EkkaNites’ program will be filled with more flaring fireworks and flashier laser displays than ever before.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a Royal Queensland Show without the tireless work and dedication of the organisers, the volunteers, sponsors and staff. On behalf of all Queenslanders, I extend our sincerest regards to you all.
This year you may have noticed a few changes – the showgrounds, for instance, are no longer called the RNA but the Brisbane Showgrounds, and the skyline around the Ekka continues to transform as the precinct undergoes a major urban regeneration.
However what makes the Ekka tick is the enthusiasm and support of you, the show-goers, and I trust that over the coming days you will continue to be enthralled by Queensland’s ‘best on show’.
It is now my great pleasure to declare the 2014 Ekka officially open.