Marist College Ashgrove NAIDOC Assembly
Thank you, Headmaster McLoughlin, for your very kind introduction. My wife Kaye and I are most grateful to be welcomed into this fine School community.
I thank Uncle Eric for the Welcome to Country this morning, and further express respectful greetings to the traditional custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbul and Jagera peoples, and Elders, past, present and emerging.
It is a great honour for Kaye and me to join the Marist College Ashgrove community today. We are especially pleased that our visit coincides with the College’s highly significant NAIDOC Week assembly.
NAIDOC Week provides our society with a beneficial opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the immensely enriching contributions of our Indigenous co-citizens.
This year’s theme – ‘Our Languages Matter’ – invites us to reflect upon both the staggering depth and diversity of native Australian languages, and the intrinsic role language plays in defining who we are.
One of the many great joys of being Governor is visiting with Kaye as many Queensland communities as our busy schedule permits.
Just last month we were in Aurukun on Cape York Peninsula, where we sat in on a class with pre-prep students who were being taught in the local Wik aboriginal language.
I was particularly pleased to learn of the extensive manner of Marist College Ashgrove’s involvement with the Australian Indigenous Education Fund and the Cape York Institute, in supporting students from places like Aurukun so that they too may receive a quality Marist education, should they and their families so choose. I understand, Principal, eight AIEF-supported students graduated last year alone, which is an achievement of which this School community should be very proud.
Such an approach is emblematic of the broad, inclusive mission of this School to create a more just world, drawing inspiration as it does from St Marcellin and the Marist characteristics of family spirit, presence, simplicity, love of work and being in the way of Mary.
This inclusive approach also provides all students with a greater awareness of the people and places so vitally important to our State’s identity.
To the young men of Marist College Ashgrove, your mission, as students and citizens of our State, is to support one another, and to always do your best. This is reflected in the ‘Ashgrovian’ ethos, the benefits of which I have personally experienced having for the past 12 months been attended to by a very accomplished former Marist student turned Governor’s Aide, Mr Ciaran McWhirter, present with us today – from our point of view, that 12 months’ period passed by too rapidly. But the Marist Ashgrove connection with Government House endures: Jackson Beale and Zac Newsham are both members of our ‘Government House’ family.
We are reminded at occasions like today’s NAIDOC assembly that we must do our individual and collective best, united in heritage, particularly as Australians, our Indigenous heritage.
Headmaster McLoughlin, I thank you for you invitation that we join you today.
I further thank all staff and students involved in bringing today’s NAIDOC assembly to fruition. Kaye and I wish you all a most successful and invigorating academic year.
Boys, you are most fortunate to be students of a grand School with a fine heritage, great aspirations, and every capacity to fulfil them. Make the most of this wonderful advantage at this stage in your precious lives!
Thank you all.