Queensland University Regiment Dining In Night
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is always an honour for me to come to Gallipoli Barracks, and it is likewise a pleasure to dine with former and serving members of the Queensland University Regiment.
As some of you know, I joined the University Regiment in my first year as an undergraduate, in 1966, and joined the Queensland University Regiment Association when it was formed.
So one way or another, my association with QUR goes back almost half a century.
The lessons I learned in the Regiment have stayed with me, and lie close to the surface, never more so than when Kaye and I made an official visit to France earlier this year to mark the centenary of the Western Front.
As we stood in the quietude of the Military Cemeteries at Fromelles and Pozières, my thoughts turned to the Queenslanders who lay in the French soil.
Lieutenant Sydney Ford, a graduate in Engineering, was killed at the age of 23 at Pozières.
Private William Cramb worked in the University’s administration; he was killed at Mouquet Farm on the 26th of August 1916.
I was glad that a former serving member of the Queensland University Regiment could be there, a century on, to pay tribute to their service and sacrifice.
It left me ever more grateful to the ‘founding fathers’ of the Queensland University Regiment Association, Brigadier Sam Harrison and Lieutenant Colonial Ian Bunce.
I honour him for his service in these roles.
Our 13th Governor-General, Field Marshal Sir William Slim, described the reservist as “twice the citizen”; an upholder of his country in peace, yet ready for war.
Since its formation in 1948, thousands of students and staff have served in the Queensland University Regiment, and many have gone on to distinguished - and diverse - civilian and military careers.
I know many, like myself, who feel the skills learned in the Regiment have proven invaluable to their progress in work and in life.
And I was very honoured to recognise as much by hosting a memorable reception in support of the Regiment, and the Association, at Government House in August.
The Regiment enriches the University at least as much as the University enriches the reservists; and I look forward to sharing with my regimental friends, old and new, stories and reminisces of both.
Thank you all.