Investiture Ceremony for Mr Eric Cullen
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great source of pride that I join you all here in Bundaberg for today’s immensely important occasion.
I am also wonderfully reassured that so many family and friends, including the Mayor, could be present to see Mr Eric Cullen receive his Medal of the Order of Australia – this speaks of strong and cohesive community values.
You may think it somewhat over-prescribed that I deliver a formal speech today for what is a rather personal and intimate ceremony. I trust however you will see it as a token of the deep respect I have for the Australian honours system – a most democratic system (Mr Cullen having been nominated by his peers), through which, in this appropriate and dignified manner, Mr Cullen receives recognition for his many decades’ long service to the communities of the Bundaberg region.
The award is for Mr Cullen’s service to swimming, including through the life saving movement, and to community events – service which dates back to the 1950s. I mention this not to highlight Mr Cullen’s youthful exuberance, but because I came to Bundaberg as an 5-year-old in 1954 to see The Queen driven around the Showgrounds in the back of the Humber Tourer on Her Majesty’s inaugural Australian tour.
I have wonderful, vivid memories of this town – from then, from when I sat here variously as Chief Justice, and from Kaye’s and my recent visits to the region due to my being Governor.
It is a memorable community, largely because of people like you, Mr Cullen – people who so magnificently go beyond the default position of others: you actively contribute! And on behalf of the people of Queensland, I express to you our utmost gratitude. Thank you.