United Service Club 125th Anniversary Dinner
Our President, Major Paul Doyle; past and present members of the Committee; General Manager, Mr Sean Moroney; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. I am tremendously pleased to join with you for this milestone celebration of the United Service Club’s 125th year.
Every year, but especially in this historic anniversary year, members owe a great debt to Flight Lieutenant Murray Adams and Lieutenant Colonel Peter Charlton for their wonderful history of our Club.
It was my natural, first ‘port of call’ in preparing for tonight’s Anniversary Dinner.
It reveals that our founding President, Major General John Owen, opened the Club on the 22nd of December 1892, one year into his first year as Commandant of the Queensland Defence Force.
Events are only inevitable in retrospect, and so it should evoke a measured sense of wonder that only nine years later, in 1901, the Commonwealth Constitution should be adopted, with Section 51(vi) endowing the Commonwealth Government with the power to make laws regarding Australia's defence and defence forces and Section 114 preventing the States from raising armed forces without the permission of the Commonwealth.
In 1914, the nation would enter the First World War, which profoundly altered the course of Australia’s history, forever changed the nature of modern warfare, and which cost the country so many of its future leaders, military and civic alike.
I make these points to illustrate the fact that, leaving aside the pace of change in Australian society as a whole, the services themselves changed rapidly and profoundly after Major General Owen rose to his feet at that first meeting.
The Club’s operations span the last great cavalry charge in history, at Beersheba, and the inauguration of the extraordinary, technologically advanced Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Docks.
In the face of such tremendous change, it is remarkable that the Club has remained faithful to the promise inherent in its name: it began, and remains, the United Service Club of Queensland.
United in service to its members, United in service to the Australian Defence Force, and Unitedin fidelity to its motto, ‘Pro aris et focis’: ‘For God and country’ – for 125 years.
What a record to be proud of, and what an example to live up to!
Kaye and I have always relished our attendance at United Service Club events – we always have, over so many years, decades even. We were delighted in May this year to be here for the celebration of our Club’s 70-year association with the grand buildings on Wickham Terrace.
I am so thrilled to be here again tonight, united in celebration of heritage and service.
I wish all members joyful celebration of our quasquicentennial, and of this grand festive season. It is Kaye’s and my sincere hope that the Club enjoys another 125 years of service to its members, and through them, to our country.