Lyceum Club Christmas Morning Tea
Thank you, Madam President, for your kind introduction. I was very pleased to accept the invitation to join you today, as your Patron, for this annual Lyceum Club Christmas morning tea – and I am particularly delighted that we will be shortly treated to what I know will be a splendid performance from the Lyceum Lyricists, and the lovely recital from this year’s Doreen Ord Lyceum Club prize-winner. Congratulations in advance!
Life at Government House at this time of the year is particularly busy and, like all of you, Paul and I are greatly looking forward to Christmas when we can take a short break from the busy round of official duties and spend time with our family and friends.
Mobile phones and social media platforms mean that people are now more connected than they have ever been, but as a society we are quickly discovering what members of the Lyceum Club have always known – that connections in the virtual world are no substitute for personal contact.
For 98 years, this is what the Lyceum Club has offered the women of Brisbane, building on the traditions established in London in nineteen hundred and two when Constance Smedley and her writer friends first dreamed of establishing a club for women.
In more than a century, much has changed, but one feature of Lyceum that has remained since that very first club was established, is the focus on friendships built through shared interests, and on membership drawn from women interested in the arts, science, current affairs and in life-long learning.
This aspect of Lyceum will become increasingly important as the trend away from clubs increases world-wide. From yacht clubs to golf clubs, service clubs to social clubs, membership is in decline and it is becoming increasingly challenging for clubs to recruit and retain members and, especially, to maintain property.
I know the management committee of the Brisbane Lyceum Club is fully aware of those challenges and that they will confront them not only with their trademark intelligence and commitment, but with courage and imagination. I applaud the Club for publicly commemorating the long-term contributions of members, and I congratulate the remarkable women who will shortly receive their 25-year membership badges.
Whatever the future may hold for the Brisbane Lyceum Club, I am confident that the emphasis on friendship will remain, as well as the name Lyceum and the focus on learning, both of which preserve the link to the very first Lyceum where ancient Athenians gathered to listen to philosophers like Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.
Thank you again for the invitation to be with you today. I wish you all an enjoyable festive season and a New Year filled with friendship and discovery as members of this wonderful club.