Reception for Former Commanding Officers of HMAS Moreton
Kaye and I welcome you warmly to Government House this afternoon.
It is not every day that an RAN shore base is commissioned in Brisbane, so we are determined to celebrate in style.
As you know, the spelling of “Moreton” in Moreton Bay and HMAS Moreton is the result of a 250-year old transcription error. But it is a glorious error, with impeccable naval connections.
In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook recorded the name as “Morton’s Bay”, without the “e”. But when Cook’s journals were published in 1773, the editor had added the “e”. A civilian, of course!
The spelling error was replicated by another remarkable naval officer, Captain Matthew Flinders, in his map of Australia – and it has well and truly stuck.
The name Morton even has a link with this house – with the image of the Scottish warrior-king, Robert the Bruce, above the main staircase.
The family of the Earl of Morton, which supplied both the base’s name and its motto, can be traced back to James Douglas, one of Robert the Bruce’s most successful commanders in the 14th century wars of Scottish independence.
History, albeit more recent, is also a feature of this afternoon’s celebration.
First, there is the history of HMAS Moreton itself – established when Australia was under threat in World War Two, and thereafter faithfully serving in the defence of Australia, and in particular of Queensland, for over five decades.
In addition, this distinguished group represents many years of outstanding service to HMAS Moreton prior to its decommissioning in the 1990s, whether as its Commanding Officer, or with even broader responsibilities in Queensland.
Kaye and I congratulate and thank you for that marvellous service to our country and State.
And we wish Commander Peter Tedman, who will be CO as of tomorrow, and his successors, every success in carrying the spirit and reputation of HMAS Moreton into the future – a long future, we hope.
As Governor of Queensland, speaking for all Queenslanders, I share your excitement at the return of HMAS Moreton to the banks of the Brisbane River.
The nearest body of water to us here may well be the Government House swimming pool, but let that not prevent us from marking the occasion today by “splicing the mainbrace”. Thank you.