Goondiwindi State Primary School 150th Anniversary Celebrations in Conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of Goondiwindi State High School
I at once respectfully acknowledge the Bigambul Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet, and Elders past and present.
Kaye and I are truly delighted to be with you today to mark this historic occasion: 150 years of fine education at the Goondiwindi State Primary School, and 50 years at the Goondiwindi State High School. Today is especially important for us, as this is our first visit to Goondiwindi, and indeed our first visit to a town west of the Great Dividing Range, since my being sworn in as your Governor nearly two months ago. And it is enlivening that that centre should be Goondiwindi. We have met with the Mayor and the Councillors and are struck by the attractiveness and vibrancy of the town. We are privileged to be here, and to have the opportunity of meeting you.
On the occasion of my swearing-in, I made the very public, and right, commitment that Kaye and I will do all we can to promote the advancement of our great State, and this plainly includes visiting all communities in the State, especially, I suggest, in the regions.
Both my parents were school teachers, and I spent a significant part of my childhood – very happily – in regional and remote Queensland, including near Kingaroy, in Maryborough and in Longreach. The country schools I attended were instrumental in my own development (not least because my parents were often also my teachers, but) also because I found these schools – and the country lifestyle – so animating; I was transfixed by the way the schools cultivated a sense of authenticity of spirit and a sense of community – I still am!
So it is our great pleasure to celebrate this significant day with you all, at a school whose own history is so conspicuously entwined with that of our magnificent State.
It was with particular interest that I read in the marvellous commemorative publication that our sixteenth Governor (and the first to be born in Queensland) Sir John Lavarack, reportedly granted students of Goondiwindi State Primary School a holiday when he visited in 1949, actually the year after my birth year! Regrettably, boys and girls, the Governor no longer has that power, and maybe your parents are pleased about that. I am sure you will all nevertheless enjoy the September holidays which commence today and run for a fortnight!
Great schools are the foundations of great communities. This year, we celebrate 150 years of Goondiwindi State Primary School and 50 of Goondiwindi State High School assuring just that.
The year also marks 100 years since Australia became involved in the First World War. We pause today to also remember the 154 Anzacs, and indeed all service men and women, who fought from the Boer War to Afghanistan, who were born in Goondiwindi. Many of them attended this Primary School, instilling in them an enduring sense of service. I particularly applaud the efforts of the schools to remember and reconnect with this sense of service through the ‘Gundy to Gallipoli’ project. It is poignant that we think of these things today as Australian service personnel – Queenslanders – move to Iraq and Syria.
And so Kaye and I wholeheartedly congratulate the 150th Anniversary Committee, the principals, teachers and students – past and present – and the wider Goondiwindi community, for many and various valued contributions to today’s celebrations; you are all truly wonderful people.
What a marvellous job these fine schools have done – and continue to do – fostering and assuring exemplary citizenship; Kaye and I gratefully acknowledge this, and it is our great honour to be with you today for these memorable celebrations. Thank you.
Photo (above): Governor de Jersey with Goondiwindi State Primary School's youngest current student Ms Millie Carter, and the oldest suriving pupil, Mrs Runa Cairns.