Community Morning Tea in Honour of the Governor of Queensland and Mrs de Jersey
It is an absolute pleasure that you have taken time to join Kaye and me here this afternoon, on what is our first visit to Bundaberg since my being sworn in as your Governor nearly two months ago.
I at once pay my respects to the Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng and Gurang peoples, whose traditional connection to the area around Bundaberg goes back thousands of years.
Kaye and I have always valued greatly our visits to regional Queensland – as Chief Justice and now as your Governor – not least because we remember, so fondly, our own upbringings in regional areas.
Indeed, I am overcome with a particular wave of majestic nostalgia whenever I visit Bundaberg. Majestic, not just because I revere the stunning natural beauty of this region, situated at the confluence of the mighty Burnett River and the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, but because my very first memory, so cherished, of being in Bundaberg was seeing Her Majesty The Queen on the back of a Humber Tourer as it circled the Bundaberg Showgrounds in 1954. I was one of thousands of adoring schoolchildren – a Grade 1 student if I remember correctly – who lined the arena. As most families didn’t have television sets at this stage, we were all desperate to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty and the Duke in person on their inaugural Australian tour.
That was my very first memory of being in Bundaberg. My most recent memory of being in this fine city was just last year when I visited as Chief Justice. Following January’s devastating floods, by invitation of the Mayor and encouraged by Kaye, special arrangements were made for me to sit in the Bundaberg Supreme Court.
The Mayor organised a reception at which I was referred to as the guest of honour; however, given the personal devastation endured, and because the city was still very much in a state of recovery, it was my place to honour and seek to support the people of Bundaberg.
I will forever remember the gracious and warm hospitality I received, even though the city was emerging from one of its darkest hours. We hope today will be a memorable occasion for you all – as it will be for us - and that it will be received as a token of our own personal gratitude.
Having being briefed just this morning by the Mayor and Councillors, I understand the city, and many residents, are still on the road to recovery, if almost there. A remarkable city like Bundaberg, powered by brilliant community-minded people, including those who are with us today, undoubtedly has a bright future.
You are all truly wonderful people who, in your individual areas of endeavour, strive to make this city such a great place to live for your fellow Queenslanders. I may be The Queen’s representative in our great State, but I speak genuinely and with reverence when I say, Kaye and I can’t help but admire the ‘majesty’ of your actions. Thank you.