Official Unveiling of the Portrait of Queensland’s 17th Chief Justice
A speech delivered by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia: Among the many important people who grace Kaye and me by their presence here tonight are the former members of my personal staff. Marie, Rod and Paul, your presence makes this occasion especially memorable for us.
You variously asked from time to time to be photographed with me in the grand robes. I hope you do not find this new depiction too disconcerting.
Also, I am very pleased my new private staff are here, the Official Secretary Air Commodore Mark Gower and Mrs Julie Gower, and the Deputy Official Secretary Cecily Pearson and Mr Trevor Farrell. They successfully accomplished the transition from long-standing Chief Justice to new Governor now a comparatively long time ago, but I know they will be intrigued to see tonight’s recognition of this vestige of that former life.
I am grateful to you, Attorney-General, and Justice McMurdo (as both Acting Governor and Acting Chief Justice), for your kind remarks; and I am abundantly grateful to the Government for commissioning this work – to be an addition to an obviously important public gallery.
I am flattered that the Judges would see fit to display it with such prominence – though I acknowledge as they no doubt appreciated that I would otherwise have languished in a postage stamp sized space in direct sunlight by the Plaza: I would not have matured well in that situation!
I was generously afforded the great luxury of nominating the artist to be approached, and so far is it matters publicly, I must say that I have been immensely pleased with the result.
As to the presentation, while I admired my predecessor’s elegant minimalist style – wonderfully produced by the artist Wesley Walters, I felt I should uphold the tradition while it remained, hence the full rig… and I was personally very pleased to note the continuation of that tradition at yesterday’s service at South Brisbane.
I sat for Mr Hannaford in what would these days be called a ‘pop-up’ studio in the Cottage at Fernberg. The sittings lasted 26 hours spread over 6 days (Mr Hannaford does not paint from photographs).
Most of the sittings were in the morning, because that was when the light was looking best.
My speech writer added that that is when the Governor might also have been looking best, but I decided not to adopt that observation.
Over that lengthy period Mr Hannaford also produced the Bar’s portrait, in day clothes.
Our children actually think I look uncharacteristically severe in both (Kaye has reserved judgement) – Mr Hannaford told me not to smile.
All of this was a bit arduous, notwithstanding being with such a brilliant artist at work.
I would dearly like to share with you some of our exchanges, but I would not want to breach another prospective sphere of confidentiality, as yet undeclared by the High Court, which is of communications between artist and subject.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am greatly honoured that this portrait now joins this historically august gallery, and I hope you agree with me that the artist, the Government, and I, have all done our very best to ensure it is a worthwhile addition!