Reception for the Conferral of Adult Recognition and Youth Awards, Scouts Association of Australia (Queensland Branch)
Acting Chief Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, fellow Scouts, it is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House tonight for this highly significant annual conferral of Adult Recognition and Youth Awards.
In July, Kaye and I represented Queenslanders at ceremonies in France commemorating the Centenary of the great battles of the Somme.
We laid wreaths at Fromelles, at Pozieres, and at Villers-Bretonneux – at fields sewn with Australian sacrifice.
Kaye and I were deeply moved by the experience.
At Villers-Bretonneux a Centre is being built to tell the story of Australian service and sacrifice on the Western Front.
It will be named for Sir John Monash, who led the Australian Corps with outstanding success.
I mention it because Sir John Monash – a great soldier, a great general and a great Australian – was also a great supporter of the Scouting movement.
He even had a Scout Troop named for him.
In 1924, Sir John travelled from Melbourne to Anglesea to attend a Scout camp.
He addressed the gathered Scouts and said: “an analysis of the Australian Expeditionary Force showed clearly that very many of the best officers were recruited from Scout ranks, and that on any difficult undertaking, requiring skill and initiative, preference was always given to the man with the scout training.”
In the same spirit, each of the Queen’s Scouts and the Baden Powell Awardees we honour tonight have demonstrated great skill and initiative to meet the challenges of their awards.
I know from my own Scouting days the immensity of the personal achievement of Queen’s Scouts. You have my warmest commendation. When Her Majesty received my wife and me at Buckingham Palace on 11th October 2014, The Queen gave us her personally inscribed portrait, which I have placed tonight on the piano lid, for I know how very much you respect being Queen’s Scouts, as do I as your Chief Scout.
And we honour all awardees this evening. The Official Secretary Air Commodore Gower and I were speaking only this morning of the persistent influence in our own lives of the Scouting experience.
I know your families are very proud today.
As your Chief Scout, I too, am proud, and I commend you on your achievements.
When Monash inspected the Anglesea camp all those years ago, it was said he was thoroughly delighted with all he saw, and he saw everything.
He understood that great things in Scouting do not happen by accident, but owe their fulfilment to the inspiration, application and determination of Leaders.
Leaders are truly the backbone of the Scouting movement.
Tonight I acknowledge the exemplary leadership of the Chief Commissioner, Mrs Kirsty Brown, who, because in Macau, cannot be here. No doubt there will be an occasion for me to again thank the Chief Commissioner in person before she relinquishes that post to which we will welcome Mr Daryl Scott, come the 1st of November.
As we move around the State, Kaye and I have met many Scouts and former Scouts. A slight regret is we don’t see them, but we are looking to remedy that. For all that, we have seen for ourselves the positive and lasting impression that Leaders have on the Scouts in their care.
Even within that lustrous tradition, there are some Leaders who rise above, with a contribution that is particularly enduring and eminent.
Those whom I will present with the National President’s Award and the Silver Kangaroo Award are four such outstanding individuals.
I commend them and I thank them for their service.
Acting Chief Commissioner, I am greatly encouraged by the outstanding calibre of the Scouts and Leaders we are honouring tonight.
And I look forward to meeting each of our Awardees and learning more about their life in Scouting. Thank you.