Royal Queensland Show 2015 (The ‘Ekka’) Annual Governor’s Reception
A speech delivered by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia: Good evening, I acknowledge Minister Lynham representing the Premier, RNA President Justice Thomas, Council Members, CEO Brendan Christou, our twenty-fifteen Miss Showgirl winner and runner up and Rural Ambassador runner-up, ladies and gentlemen.
At once, congratulations to the winner and runner up in the Miss Showgirl and Rural Ambassador competitions.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all to Fernberg tonight. It is a great source of pride to continue the vice-regal links to this foundational Queensland institution – through patronage of the
RNA, hosting this reception, and, as I did on Friday, officially opening the Show (this year as Administrator of the Commonwealth).
This magnificent residence, like The Ekka, is both inextricably linked to Queensland’s history, and owes a lot to agriculture.
A few short years after the first Ekka (the ‘Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876’), Fernberg, then a modest villa, was purchased by one of colony’s most successful pastoralists, John Stevenson, who transformed it into an Italianate mansion.
We are so fortunate as a State that, apart from the addition of the wing we are now standing in, and the recent installation of lifts and ramps to improve access, the house built by Heussler 150 years ago, expanded by Stevenson, has been preserved and is celebrated as part of our heritage, in the same way as the Ekka.
Both institutions – The Ekka and Fernberg, have necessarily and beneficially evolved.
(I am not sure Huessler or Stevenson, though, would have understood the ‘benefit’ in the ‘Official Selfie Zone’ we demarcated here at Fernberg this year for our June Open Day.)
The Ekka has continued to set the highest standards and maintains its commitment to innovation. And yet it still wonderfully fulfils its original charter – promoting and encouraging our State’s agricultural and industrial prowess; and bringing together city and country.
The Ekka does this uniquely as a State-wide barometer.
Locally, our regional shows do this wonderfully – like the ones we have attended from Alpha and Springsure in our Central West, to the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Laidley, Maleny and Mt Gravatt closer to Brisbane.
Attending these regional shows is very important to Kaye and me. Before this evening’s reception, I was delighted to receive in my study Mr Keith Bettridge, President of the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies. He presented me with a collage of photographs reminding us of our wonderful experiences at Alpha.
Kaye and I have been assured by the trust and inherent optimism of the people of our vast West we have met, despite drought and financial constriction; their resilience provides a bulwark for all our spirits.
And I pause to thank particularly the organisers of last week’s fundraiser for children affected by drought, attended by Kaye, and especially Mrs Jane Thomas. It was an outstanding success due to the generosity of many good-hearted people. This is one of the many ways The Ekka and the RNA continue – through new initiatives – to maintain relevance, reflecting and supporting Queensland’s dynamic contemporary population.
For this you should all be very proud – Kaye and I are, of all of you! And we thank you wholeheartedly!
We wish you all a most enjoyable celebration this evening, and a very happy and successful Ekka.