Official Visit to Blackheath & Thornburgh College
Principal Fairbairn; Deputy Mayor; students and staff of Blackheath & Thornburgh College. Thank you all for the wonderful welcome you have given Kaye and me to your school. I too acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands around Charters Towers, and express respect to Elders.
Queensland Governors have been visiting Blackheath and Thornburgh since 1923 and we’re very proud to continue that tradition.
When Governor Nathan came to Charters Towers over ninety years ago, he visited no fewer than ten schools in one day.
He gave a long speech at each school and, according to the newspaper report, the students greeted him each time with “vociferous cheering”. You contemporary students will be pleased to hear that my address this afternoon will not be long; and that I would be simply embarrassed were it to be greeted by “vociferous cheering”.
I’d like to think that in Governor Nathan’s case, and in that different era, the cheering was generated by the Governor’s wise words, but I suspect that it was really because, at the end of each speech, he granted a holiday!
Later Governors also granted holidays. Governor Wilson visited Blackheath & Thornburgh College three times during his 14 years as Governor, and each time, he announced a holiday.
I myself remember the excitement of having a Governor visit the schools I went to in Longreach and Maryborough because there was always the hope that he would grant a holiday.
Sadly, things are a little different today.
I may have wide powers as Governor, but I would have to do a lot of explaining to your teachers and parents were I to grant a holiday today!
Of course, the true purpose of visiting schools, especially in remote regional centres, was nothing to do with holidays. It was, and still is, to see the wonderful work being done by resourceful, dedicated and innovative teachers in identifying and fostering the talents of all you wonderful students.
This school, for instance, in relation to teaching methods, is one of the very few in the whole of Australia to establish the Arrowsmith Program and we are looking forward greatly to hearing more about that program this afternoon. Our eldest daughter Carolyn leads that programme at BBC in Brisbane.
Kaye and I also greatly value our time with you, the students!
I encourage all of you to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, opportunities for which I know this school will have well prepared you.
And thank those who have helped you along the way, including your parents and friends, and your teachers!
Kaye and I have been very interested to visit your campus having met a number of BTC students at regional agricultural shows we have attended – we are glad we have finally made it.
Thank you for giving us such a warm welcome here – enjoy the rest of your day and, especially, your Term 3 holidays in just a few weeks’ time. Thank you.