Opening of the Wings Over Redlands Exhibition Redland Museum
Speech delivered as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia:
Kaye and I are delighted to join you today for the official opening of this latest Redland Museum exhibition. It was a special privilege to be greeted by a Guard-of-Honour of Air Cadets and to view the exhibition with the official party before proceedings began.
Exploring the exhibition reminded me just how crowded the skies of South-East Queensland were during the Second World War. Pilots from the Australian Air Force, as well as US crews, flew countless training missions from airfields in this region, in aircraft with names which were absorbed into our language: Tiger Moths, Kittyhawks, Gipsy Moths, and, of course, Wirraways.
Today, we recognise the Wirraway as one of the great stories of Australian manufacturing. Well before Holden became ‘Australia’s own car’ and the Hills Hoist made washing-day easier, Australia built seven hundred and fifty-five of those iconic aircraft, and proudly gave it an Aboriginal name – the word for ‘challenge’.
It’s fitting that we remember that derivation today because Terence Hendricks certainly set the Museum a challenge when he proposed this exhibition!
Fortunately, everyone associated with this marvellous museum loves a challenge, and over the next few months visitors of all generations will be able to read about the famous mid-air Wirraway collision in nineteen forty-two, the loss of the Hudson Bomber at Jumpinpin, the history of crop-dusting in the Redlands, and, of course, the now legendary flying-boat services of Redland Bay.
In his most recent Annual Report, President Doug commented that no museum can survive as just a collection of things; that survival needs active and involved people who are passionate about preserving the collective memory of their community.
This philosophy has clearly lain at the heart of this museum since the very beginning.
I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting your founding President, Norm Dean, but he was evidently a very persuasive man to convince the Rotary Club of Cleveland to rescue abandoned farm implements and establish this museum.
It’s also clear that Norm’s belief in the power and importance of community collaboration and volunteering has continued and has guided not only his three successors as President, but everyone associated with the Museum in its forty-seven-year history.
It takes substantial resources, effort and support to operate any local museum, let alone one which has more than fourteen thousand items, presents a rolling program of exhibitions and activities, and welcomes more than a thousand visitors every month.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, and indeed all Australians as I am presently Administrator of the Commonwealth, I thank and congratulate the Board, the Redland City Council, the generous donors, and – especially – the many volunteers who have contributed their passion, skills, and countless hours to building that reputation and raising funds.
(I say ‘countless’, but because your Board has very professionally collected detailed statistics, I know there were precisely nineteen thousand, seven hundred and twelve volunteer hours contributed during the last financial year!)
It is now my pleasure to declare open ‘Wings over Redlands’ – but I know the fun isn’t over yet! We are very much looking forward to the display of model, radio-controlled planes – when they take to the skies, there will truly be wings over Redlands once again.