Opening of Saint George’s Defence Holiday Suites and The Garland Apartments, Rainbow Bay
Queensland’s twenty-third Governor, Major General the Honourable Peter Arnison and Mrs Barbara Arnison; Mrs Jann Stuckey MP; Councillor Gail O’Neill; Your Grace, Archbishop Aspinall; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is Kaye’s and my great pleasure to be here for today’s official opening of the Saint George’s Defence Holiday Suites and The Garland Apartments.
Like most Australians, I’m always glad of a reason to visit this beautiful part of Queensland.
But I was especially pleased to receive the invitation from Reverend James Cosgrove to join you today, because by doing so, I am renewing a commitment made by Sir John Lavarack, Queensland’s first Australian-born Governor.
Sir John Lavarack was a hero of the First World War, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Second, after distinguished service at Tobruk and in Syria.
He was Governor when I was born. He was Governor from 1946 to 1957. I have a very respectful recollection of him from when I was a child. He brought great dignity to the vice-regal office – as did, if I may, another military man-turned Governor, Major General Arnison, as I have said our State’s twenty-third Governor.
Sir John Lavarack had a special affinity with returned service men and women and those who sought to support them, including groups like the Sailors and Soldiers Church of England Help Society, the antecedent of today’s Service Personnel Anglican Help Society.
In 1953, when Sir John laid the Foundation Stone for the St George’s Holiday House to be built on this site, the war was still close in memory.
Rare was there a visit where Lavarack did not encounter returned soldiers who had served in units he had commanded.
Today as Governor, it is my immense honour to meet returned soldiers from our longest war, in Afghanistan, and those who served in Iraq, in East Timor and in peacekeeping missions throughout the world.
Support for those who serve our country is central to the vice-regal office, and I am very proud to continue the fine tradition of gubernatorial support for this wonderful institution, first extended by Sir John Lavarack.
And I acknowledge the continuing support for the Service Personnel Anglican Help Society, and this project, of Major General Arnison and co-Patron Archbishop Aspinall. Kaye and I have been privileged to know His Grace since his election as Archbishop of Brisbane in 2002. Queenslanders of all faiths are most fortunate to have him here.
These Suites, ladies and gentlemen, will serve a new generation of Defence Members and their families, as well as members from our Coalition Forces.
They will allow serving members of the Australian Defence Force, veterans and their families to enjoy this stunning environment and its many attractions.
By the way, I wouldn’t be doing my job as Queensland’s Governor if I didn’t point out that the very best attractions are to be found north of the border!
I congratulate you on choosing to honour the ministry of Reverend Canon David Garland, OBE, VD in naming this building… Canon Garland, who effectively inaugurated ANZAC Day commemorations in this State.
While this fine, modern accommodation is a far cry from the modest tents first erected on this site, your service to those who serve remains true to his spirit, and it is fitting that this building bear his name.
It is now my great pleasure to declare officially open the St George’s Defence Holiday Suites and The Garland Apartments. Thank you.