Esk Centenary Campdraft
I acknowledge the Member for Nanango and Shadow Agriculture Minister, our Mayor and Deputy Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Thank you all for your kind welcome. Kaye and I were honoured to receive earlier this year an invitation to attend the May event commemorating 100 years since the inaugural Esk Camp Draft in 1915.
Not to admonish rain at this critical drought juncture, I was delighted a suitable alternative could be found which allowed for our attendance in lieu of May’s washout.
This is our first visit to Esk since my being sworn in as your Governor July last. However, as a child I lived with my family variously in Coolabunia, a bit further north of here near Kingaroy, and at Patrick Estate just outside Lowood where my father ran the one-teacher school.
My memories – vivid and happy memories – of this part of Queensland are I believe the earliest I recall.
There is additional significance to our being here during this the Anzac centenary year.
The 1915 Draft – then known as the Esk Bushmen’s Carnival – was very much focused around World War 1 service.
Queensland’s Governor at the time Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams was in attendance. He presented wrist watches to the newly enlisted recruits from the district about to depart to the War. Servicemen who had recently returned from Gallipoli were honoured at an official dinner.
So it is with certain pride that as your current Governor I seek to afford vice-regal acknowledgement to this significant and historical event, and to our service men and women, just as Governor Goold-Adams did 100 years ago.
There are, of course, some notable differences between the Governor’s attendance then compared to today.
The Brisbane Courier reported in the week leading up to that first Bushmen’s Carnival that, coinciding with the Governor’s visit, a public holiday was declared in the Esk Shire – I am sorry to have to disappoint you all in this regard!
Governor Goold-Adams was also invited to judge some of the camp drafting events in nineteen fifteen; I am happy to have spared you all in this regard!
Having just witnessed these fine stock horses ride so majestically in union with their riders, I much prefer to spectate this wonderfully unique Australian event, and present, as I shortly will, trophies to our worthy winners.
I thank the members of the organising Esk and Australian Camp Draft Associations, the competitors and their families, and my fellow spectators, for contributing to the ongoing success of this event.
Your support also ensures that camp drafting continues to contribute to our wonderful rural Queensland identities, so beneficial to the fabric of our State.