2014 Wattle Day High Tea Hosted by Open Minds
Thank you, Kristine, for your introduction. Kaye and I are delighted to join you on what is our first engagement with this remarkable organisation, Open Minds, since my being sworn-in as Governor last month, and since I accepted your generous offer to become your Patron.
As we travel the length of this State we so fondly call home, Kaye and I are truly honoured to witness the extraordinary generosity of spirit fellow Queenslanders display in their chosen endeavours.
Today, we unite behind wattle – acacia – both as a symbol of this generosity of spirit and national pride, and to acknowledge the enriching legacy of the Queensland Wattle Day League, the organisation that founded this day in our State in 1912, and is now known as Open Minds.
Like many Queenslanders, wattle could rightly be described as the floral emblem of my childhood, having grown up in regional parts of Queensland, including Longreach, where certain varieties of wattle bloom abundantly.
The Cooktown orchid may be Queensland’s floral emblem, however wattle has also been a prominent feature of my Governorship to date.
Firstly, as already mentioned, I am honoured to be the Patron of Open Minds, following in the footsteps of Sir William MacGregor, Queensland’s eleventh Governor, and his wife Lady MacGregor, who were the first Patrons of the Queensland Wattle Day League more than a century ago.
Secondly, the acacia fimbriata – better known as ‘Brisbane golden wattle’ - is currently blooming, rather magnificently, in the native bushland at our new residence, Fernberg, in Paddington.
Supporting Wattle Day is therefore a natural fit for Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Queensland. Wattle has a special meaning for Australians, and, this is what the nation celebrates on Wattle Day. In Queensland, the historical associations with the Wattle Day League and Open Minds add a unique gloss of charity, dignity and compassion to the day, and this is a truly remarkable achievement.
Kaye and I whole-heartedly congratulate Open Minds for the work you undertake assisting people who are living with mental illness, disability, and acquired brain injury, and your recent efforts to revive the vital support they historically provided to our returned services personnel.
This is true generosity of spirit and exemplary service, and we are privileged to commemorate this with you today. Thank you.