Morning tea to officially open The Spouses' Gallery
The 22nd Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Leneen Forde AC; spouse of the 24th Governor of Queensland, Mr Michael Bryce AM AE; ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to the Fernberg Library.
The Governor of Queensland’s name is often inscribed on an opening plaque, the official role solemnly recorded in the annals of local newspapers – and these days on social media.
But historians will speak with equal authority on the presence and role of the Governor’s spouse, often with a vivid anecdote handed down as part of the rich oral history of our State.
From the Diamantina River in our West to the Laura River in our Far North, spouses’ names proudly live on in our landscape, bearing witness to their impact on the development of the modern Queensland that we know and love today.
The spouses’ stories belong to Queensland as much as the Governors’, and The Spouses’ Gallery at Government House serves to recognise their contributions to the social, political and cultural history of our State.
Together, they tell stories of love and companionship, of personal successes and sorrows.
Above all, they tell stories of Queensland.
I was totally eclipsed last week in Kowanyama, when my having spoken to the children in the usual way, Kaye mesmerised them by talking of Johnathan Thurston – constructively as to school attendance.
If there was a contest, and there wasn’t, she would have won hands down!
The idea of formally acknowledging the people behind these stories – The Spouses’ Gallery – began to take form during an early visit to Yarralumla, Government House Canberra, which proudly displays portraits of Governors-General and their spouses.
And so today, in what was formerly known as The Silver Corridor, The Spouses’ Gallery features photographs of 22 spouses from Lady Bowen to my wife, Kaye.
A companion publication, The Spouses of the Governors of Queensland, includes spouses’ profiles and photographs in what I trust will become an enduring – and educational – tribute to some truly exceptional people.
We must also remember that Queensland’s 26 Governors to date have included four who were unmarried or widowed, and the stories of those who ‘stood in’ for the Governor’s spouse are recorded in The Spouses of the Governors of Queensland, with utmost admiration for their service to our State.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in these projects, with special mention of the dedicated research of Ms Judith Anderson OAM.
Together, The Spouses’ Gallery, and indeed The Spouses of the Governors of Queensland, are nothing short of due and grateful recognition.
They are wonderful assets not only for Government House, but for our State history.
And so it is now, with the greatest of pride and pleasure, that I declare The Spouses’ Gallery officially open.