Longreach Community Barbeque to Mark the Arrival of the Spirit of the Outback andVice-Regal and Heritage Carriages
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
I at once acknowledge, with respect to their Elders, the Traditional Custodians of the lands around Longreach. The contributions of Indigenous Queenslanders imbue historical and contemporary aspects of our State.
Nearly 124 years ago, in October 1892, a young girl by the name of Bertha Macfarlane read a simple, pleasant address on behalf of the children and teachers of the Longreach day and Sunday schools to our State’s seventh Governor, Sir Henry Norman.
Sir Henry had just arrived aboard a special train, having journeyed along the newly laid rail line from Rockhampton, stopping, as Kaye and I have done today, at various communities along the way. (Although admittedly we may have travelled in somewhat more comfort, the Vice-Regal Carriage connected today in Emerald having been built to accommodate our Governors and visiting Royals a bit later in 1903.)
So taken was Sir Henry by Miss Macfarlane’s dutiful address, he shook her hand and, on that very same platform, declared all students should have a holiday the following day… only to be immediately informed he didn’t actually have that power – all the Longreach schools at that time were private!
Unfortunately for the school children here tonight, I also don’t have that power! And although, according to local media reports at the time, Miss Macfarlane’s teachers at the private school were nonetheless obliging to Sir Henry’s musings, I fear you may not be as lucky…
Sir Henry was the first vice-regal representative to visit Longreach. Kaye and I are very proud to continue Governor support for your wonderful town, not just because our particular visit draws also upon our State’s rich rail heritage, so integral to Queensland’s progression, but also because this is somewhat of a “coming home” for me.
And I am especially proud to return as, for the time being, Administrator of Australia, our Governor-General being overseas. You may have noticed the Commonwealth Standard flying above the Station. I am additionally proud to arrive in such fashion in this, the Longreach Station’s significant centenary year.
I spent a few cheerful years in Longreach in the 1950s, where my father was a school teacher and principal. I have wonderful memories – vivid memories – of a fulfilling and happy childhood here. And I was most moved to return here as your Chief Justice on two occasions, sitting in Court, in the early years of this century.
We are very pleased to be greeted by such a dynamic cross-section of Longreach life. We are more so pleased to offer, as best we can, our support for you all.
This is especially so during this prolonged drought. We hope our presence, in some small way, buoys spirits, as we know would more rain, following last week’s falls.
But you, the people of our vast West, are resilient; you are invariably big-hearted and community-minded, and your genuine disposition wonderfully enriches the social fabric of our State.
I thank the Mayor and Council for your support, and that of Queensland Rail in bringing this magnificent project, including the transportation of the Vice-Regal Carriage from Brisbane to Emerald for today’s journey, to fruition.
Kaye and I very much look forward to our Cobb and Co ride, with acknowledgements to Kinnon & Co, in the morning, and to meeting many more of you here in Longreach tonight. Thank you.