Awards Ceremony for Winners of and Participants in the RNA School Scarecrow Competition
RNA President, Justice Thomas, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys. I am delighted to join you all today to present awards to the winners of, and participants in, the 2017 RNA School Scarecrow Competition.
It’s great to have the awards in this historic Old Museum building which, at 126 years old, is only 15 years younger than the Ekka. It was wonderful to be present at dinner with the Premier and Ministers here at the Ekka last night, when the Premier announced a campaign to restore this grand building to its original glory. I am so pleased as Governor to be Patron of that restoration initiative; I have many fond childhood memories of visiting this building when it housed our first Queensland Art Gallery and our first Queensland Museum. As a child, visits with my parents to ‘the Old Museum’ were entrancing. I am so pleased, as I say with conviction, that we will restore this grand building to its original glory. Queenslanders, “watch this space”!
It’s 141 years since the Ekka began but this year’s Ekka is only the 140th.
Of course, those numbers don’t add up. It’s not because I didn’t pay enough attention to my maths teachers at school. It’s because the Ekka was not held every single year.
There is no danger of getting the maths wrong today. This is definitely the second year of the RNA’s scarecrow competition.
This year’s theme is Scarecrows through time, and it has been interpreted with great imagination.
There were so many references to music in the names of this year’s scarecrows that I wondered if I should wear my dancing shoes today – even Elvis Presley’s blue suede shoes. I resisted the temptation.
We also have scarecrows that make reference to cricket, to Australiana, to World War Two, to the school’s name, to the 1920s, to flowers – and one Italian name which, I believe, means – ‘scarecrow’!
When inviting me to present awards today, RNAs Chief Executive Brendan Christou asked if the winning scarecrow could be ‘hosted’ at Government House this year.
My answer is an enthusiastic ‘yes’!
Last year’s winner, from Tullawong State School, was our very welcome ‘guest’ at Government House following last year’s Ekka.
Tullawong’s scarecrow, named Kurrajongi, was a great hit with visitors, so Kaye and I are thrilled at the prospect of having this year’s winner positioned at the front door of Government House, along with our wonderful wooden dogs sculptured in Aurukun – an Indigenous community on Queensland’s Cape York, and portraits of our State’s first Governor, Sir George Bowen, and his wife, Lady Diamantina.
Before moving on to present the awards, and on behalf of all those involved in the competition, I thank the RNA and, in particular, the Flower and Garden Committee, for organising and judging the scarecrow competition. It’s a wonderful initiative.
Though there can be only one winner, I congratulate all students involved in the competition on their hard work and marvellous creativity. Well done!
I extend particular congratulations to this year’s winners, and I look forward to hosting their wonderful work of art at Government House very soon. Thank you.