Parliament House Open Day and 150th birthday
Mr Speaker, Leader of the Opposition, Clerk of the Parliament.
Good morning. I must begin by saying that it is not often Kaye and I make such a unique and pronounced entrance.
What a wonderful experience.
I extend my particular thanks to the Brisbane Town Crier for heralding our welcome for all to hear. I now do expressly acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, with respect to their Elders.
On this historic day in particular, we should acknowledge our Indigenous citizens, with their roots so deep in the history of our own State, and nation.
I also thank Dance Kaleidoscope, and of course the Navy band for entertaining us all so admirably this morning.
Later you will have the opportunity to enjoy performances by the Warwick Central State School choir, the Narangba Valley State School ensemble, the Indooroopilly State School choir and the Ipswich Grammar School stage band, and I thank our school students and staff for taking the time to help mark this important occasion.
As we made our way through the grounds just now I was overwhelmed, not only by a sense of the history around me, but by pride in how far Queensland has come since the foundation stone was laid here in 1865 by our first Governor, Sir George Bowen, six years after he became Governor in 1859.
We were a young colony then.
To set about creating such an impressive building speaks volumes for the optimism of our forebears, and the ambitious vision of Queensland Colonial Architect Charles Tiffin.
Today you will discover history, and indeed a certain sense of grandeur, in the Parliament House building itself, and also the furniture – desks made for the Speaker and President in the Chambers date back to 1870 – and of course, you will find history and grandeur in the beautifully maintained grounds and gardens.
Yet, despite its grand appearance, Parliament House has always retained an open and welcoming atmosphere – even though its rooms often echo with loud and rigorous debate.
Like Government House, the residence Kaye and I have the privilege of occupying, there is an understanding that our State buildings, despite their distinguished exteriors, really are places for the people of Queensland.
Open days such as this historic event today are celebrations of the rich heritage we all share, and in the case of Parliament House, offer an opportunity to tour areas not normally accessible to the public.
It is also a time to pause and reflect on the tenacity of Queensland’s colonial settlers, and to take pride in the inclusive, multicultural community we have become.
It is my pleasure then, on behalf of the people of Queensland, to welcome you to the 150th birthday celebration of your Parliament House.