Ceremony and Afternoon Tea to Mark the Relocation of the Statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from Queen’s Place to Government House
Minister for Housing and Public Works, the Honourable Mick de Brenni MP, representing our Premier; the Chief Justice of Queensland the Honourable Catherine Holmes; former Governor-General of the Commonwealth and Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce; Mr Jarrod Bleijie MP, representing the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
Kaye and I enthusiastically welcome you all on this Open Day to historic Government House.
I at once extend respectful greetings to the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, the Traditional Custodians of the lands around Brisbane.
Today’s ceremony, marking the relocation of this statue of Her Majesty The Queen here to Fernberg, carries with it both historical and contemporary significance.
Historical, because the statue was first unveiled by our twenty-first Governor, the Honourable Sir Walter Campbell, on the 5th of September 1986, when Sir Walter also named the corner of George and Alice Streets in the City, “Queen’s Place”. Kaye and I were fortunate enough to be present at that unveiling.
This is one of two bronze statues of Her Majesty by acclaimed South Australian artist Dr John Dowie (and we are very glad Dr Dowie’s niece, Penny, could make it here today). The other Dowie statue was gifted by the Order of Australia Association to the people of Australia and unveiled, by The Queen, at the official opening of New Parliament House in Canberra in 1988.
This particular statue, here now at Fernberg, is known for its remarkable likeness of Her Majesty in her lively 50s – a liveliness which has indelibly characterized Her Majesty’s now sixty-four years of remarkable service to the people of Queensland as monarch and Head of State.
Today’s ceremony also bears contemporary significance, the relocation of the statue, necessary in context of the magnificent Queen’s Wharf redevelopment, occurring in Her Majesty’s 90th birthday year.
The statue is emblematic both of the central role the Crown plays in our constitutional arrangements, as she looks back from here towards Parliament House and the Executive Building, and of the enduring, warm affection and high regard in which Her Majesty is held by Queenslanders.
Due to today’s inclement weather, we were unable to have the Tri-service Honour Guard, and the Australian Army Band Brisbane, support today’s ceremony. Their planned presence, alongside the magnificent landscaping, overseen by dedicated Queensland Government and Government House staff, nonetheless appropriately highlights the importance of today’s occasion.
It is now my great honour to unveil this plaque, marking the relocation of the statue of Her Majesty The Queen to its new home here, in the grounds of “the peoples’ house”, where I know it will be enjoyed and marvelled at by the many thousands of people who visit each year!