Toowoomba Grammar School 2015 Speech Day and Prize-Giving Ceremony
Headmaster, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, teachers, Mayor, Councillor Paul Antonio, Local Member for Toowoomba North, Mr Trevor Watts, Ladies and gentlemen, and boys and young gentlemen of Toowoomba Grammar School
Thank you, Headmaster for your invitation that I attend this 2015 Annual Speech Day and Prize Giving Ceremony. The occasion wonderfully caps off a full and fulfilling day of official engagements for me in the Lockyer Valley and now Toowoomba, for which my wife Kaye and I have always felt such affection and regard.
I now follow this evening in the distinguished footsteps of the premiers, ministers, and many distinguished other people, including Old Boys, who have addressed Speech Days at Toowoomba Grammar since the school was established as long ago as 1875.
In this ANZAC Centenary year particularly, I wish to acknowledge two past speakers in particular: Sir Harry Chauvel, an Old Boy of the school, and Sir Thomas Glasgow, both of whom distinguished themselves heroically at Gallipoli.
A few of my predecessor speakers, like me, had careers on the “right” side of the law and many, like me, were Governors of Queensland.
Indeed, as of today, as many as twenty of the twenty-three Governors who have served this State since 1875 have addressed the school on Speech Day. That’s a first-class strike rate! I am most privileged to be continuing that tradition, as yet only your 26th State Governor in our 156 year State history.
It is interesting to note the way in which the backgrounds of these Governors reflect changes in our society over the past 140 years.
Well into the 20th century, Governors of Queensland were very much products of the British establishment, with a notable exception in Sir William MacGregor, in that he was a Scot who rose from very humble beginnings as a result of a good education and hard work.
The first Australian-born Governor was Sir John Lavarack, who I recall from my early years: he was the Governor when I was born. He was a most distinguished soldier, whose appointment was a clear sign of Australia’s growing national confidence.
Almost 50 years later, the first woman Governor of Queensland, Mrs Leneen Forde, spoke to the school on this important occasion. The appointment of women governors is now, as it should be, entirely unexceptional.
Change has not been confined to societal attitudes. Nowhere has this been more obvious than in the field of technology.
Now I don’t wish to distress the young people here, but I am old enough to remember a timewhen there was no television. In fact, for the first 11 years of my life there was no TV in Queensland. Now we carry our TVs in our pockets and even I am now a citizen of the Twittersphere – with my own Twitter account. And I see you have your own school “App”.
The term “disruptive technology” describes the enormous impact such technologies can have. Email has all but killed off snail mail; Air BnB is shaking up the travel industry; and 3D printing has almost unlimited applications.
This trend will doubtless continue, and boys of TGS, your generation will be the first to feel its maximum “disruptive” power. We all hope of course that the “disruptive” will prove largely at least “constructive” in the end. Things which cause us to re-think, to think differently, can often have good and helpful outcomes.
It will fall to you to you to navigate the opportunities offered, and threats posed, by rapid change of this kind. Chief among these is the need to meet continuing challenges including sustainability and social justice and inclusiveness.
The principles instilled in you by your parents and reinforced by your teachers will guide you in your efforts to secure that ultimately ‘productive’ exploitation of these new phenomena; and your example, may greatly influence others. I hope so. Schools as carefully managed as this one should have an abiding influence.
To the Year 12s here tonight, and those who will follow to Year 12 in the coming years: You boys and young men face these challenges well-prepared by your time at the school, with its 140-year history of promoting the intellectual, physical and cultural well-being of the boys and young men in its care.
The rest of the task lies with you, with the reassurance of the invaluable support of your families and friends.
I warmly congratulate the young men of Year 12 in 2015 on your attaining this major milestone in your lives. I wish you every success in your future endeavours.
I know you will on leaving remain proud and grateful “old boys” – a description not really apposite for 18 year olds I suppose – so I will say proud and grateful “former boys” of an excellent school which follows a fine tradition
And I congratulate the school 2015 prize-winners.
I wish you all an enjoyable summer holiday, and I ask you boarders returning to drought-affected areas of our State to reassure your families that they remain very much in Queenslanders’ thoughts.
I have as your Governor been impressed and reassured by the great concern expressed to me by South-East Queenslanders, indeed all Queenslanders, for the plight of our drought affected fellow citizens; and by their preparedness to back that up with practical, meaning financially worthwhile, assistance. We Queenslanders are big-hearted people, and we do our best to look after one another.
Boys of TGS, I sincerely hope that a good number of you may one day stand where I stand this afternoon, privileged to speak to a sea of bright, young, optimistic Toowoomba Grammar faces.
This experience has certainly strengthened my confidence in our joint futures.
I am proud to be your Governor, as I know you and your families are proud to be Queenslanders. You all have my very best wishes.