Afternoon Reception in Recognition of Hear and Say’s 25th Anniversary
Ladies and gentlemen, Kaye and I are very pleased that you should be present with us here at Government House for this afternoon’s significant celebratory occasion.
Kaye and I first became aware of the compelling force behind Hear and Say, Dimity Dornan, in the 1990s shortly after she commenced delivering services to six children from a small room in a suburban physiotherapy practice.
Two things during those early years struck us as remarkable.
First, the organisation’s inclusive mission: to ensure that deaf children, and their families, would not have their futures constrained by hearing loss.
Second – and I am sure this is something of which those here tonight would not be surprised – we saw as remarkable the steely determination and vision of Dr Dornan and her supporters.
These factors were clearly a recipe for success!
For a quarter of a century on, Hear and Say is active in communities right across Queensland, operating now out of six centres.
Each year, the organisation changes for the better the lives of thousands of children through early intervention, audiology services, speech and language therapy and social skills development.
And the refining this year of Hear and Say’s vision statement – to “Creating better futures though hearing and human technology interfaces” – invites us also to reflect upon the organisation’s world-class (and global) implantable technologies program.
I vividly recall unveiling the commemorative plaque at the Hear and Say Brisbane Centre and Head Office in March 2015 with the captivating Miss Zia Dredge – then three years old.
Zia was a new-born when her parents discovered she was deaf. Writing on the Hear and Say blog shortly after that official opening, Zia’s mother Heidi wrote:
Thanks to Hear and Say, our darling Zia is NOT trapped in a world of silence.
Thanks to Hear and Say, our Zia can communicate with us and anyone she meets through spoken language.
That, ladies and gentlemen, wonderfully encapsulates your transformational mission. It also confirms the benefit of your outlook, in being there for our children yet to be born.
I thank and congratulate Dr Dornan for her visionary leadership and effective stewardship of Hear and Say over the past 25 years.
I acknowledge also the immense dedication of current and past members of the Executive and Board, and all staff and volunteers.
I further extend tonight Kaye’s and my sincere gratitude to Hear and Say’s many supporters and donors, some of whom have been with the organisation since its inception.
You are all truly remarkable Queenslanders.
And so in this silver anniversary year, today we continue to celebrate the radiance and brilliance of this uplifting Queensland institution that is Hear and Say. Thank you.