Lady Musgrave Trust Annual Homelessness Forum 2015
Thank you, Ms Reid, for your kind introduction. I too acknowledge Rob Molhoek MP, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I were very pleased to be able to accept this year’s invitation to open this important Forum. I thank Kaye for attending last year’s Forum on my behalf.
In the 1880s, a small group of women – well-known faces in Brisbane society – were to be found waiting on the wharves whenever passenger ships arrived in the city.
They were not there to greet people they knew, but to offer assistance to strangers – to young women who had arrived, alone, in Queensland.
Many of new arrivals had limited means and could too easily fall on hard times, making them vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation.
The women waiting on the wharves were determined to do all they could to prevent this.
They were, of course, members of the Lady Musgrave Trust, led by the extraordinary Lady Jeanie Lucinda Musgrave, wife of the then Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, the 6th Governor, who took up office in 1883.
Soon after, the Trust built a lodge providing safe accommodation and training in skills thought to be appropriate for young women of the time.
Our communities have changed in many ways since the Trust was established in 1885.
But, regrettably, the substantial and growing challenge of supporting at-risk young women in need is still with us.
Fortunately, so too is the Lady Musgrave Trust. Indeed, this year the Trust’s celebrates its 130th anniversary.
Through these many decades, the Trust has demonstrated an outstanding capacity to express compassion for at-risk young women in practical and positive ways.
Today’s Forum is yet another practical expression of that compassion, bringing together the Trust’s partners and allies to identify, through collaboration, ways of enhancing strategies to address homelessness.
This year’s themes are topical and challenging – mental health, the well-being of Aboriginal women, and social inclusion, and I wish all participants a highly productive and successful day.
And today marks another significant occasion. It is a turning point for Her Majesty The Queen (our Head of State and of whom I am the representative in Queensland), who today becomes the longest reigning British monarch – it is a splendid example of dedication to duty, a microcosm of which is before us today in the Lady Musgrave Trust.
As Governor and Patron, I congratulate the Trust on the marvellous milestone of its 130th anniversary. And I wish the Trust every success for the future as it carries, into its 14th decade, Lady Musgrave’s legacy of reaching out to help young women in need in Queensland.
It is now my great pleasure to declare the 2015 Annual Homelessness Forum officially open. Thank you.