Regional Government House: Official opening of the Blackall Flower Show
Mayor Martin; Councillors; Flower Show Committee members; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys of Blackall and Tambo – people of the Barcoo!
I at once acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, and pay respect to their Elders past and present – with encouragement to their young emerging leaders.
Well, what a momentous year this is for the town of Blackall!
A 150th birthday to celebrate, and a rugby league premiership win for the Magpies – the first in 30 years.
Congratulations on both achievements – each of considerable historical significance, I’m sure you will agree.
Kaye and I are delighted to be here today, to officially open the 90th Blackall Flower Show.
There are many things that make Blackall special, but its affinity with flowers – on one view unlikely in this landscape – is truly unique.
Even the streets of Blackall were given floral names by early settlers – Rose, Thistle and Violet, to mention a few.
Clearly the forebears of Blackall either possessed a strong sense of irony, or were suffering a serious bout of homesickness at the time – or perhaps they presciently forecast just what you have all so impressively achieved, now for over nine decades.
It is said that where a flower blooms, so does hope.
Perhaps, as your founders looked across the countryside, that is what they felt in their hearts.
And this same sense is still very much an important part of the Blackall community.
For what could be a greater symbol of hope, spirit and optimism than to hold a flower show in the middle of a drought?
A prolonged, severe drought, with the plight of the regions acknowledged here and from afar – the messages of support including over this last week from Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The Queen’s message may be read on the Government House website, and the Prince’s message, specifically to all Queenslanders, will be posted there in coming days.
Blackall is the last stop on this year’s Regional Government House program – our fourth since I became Governor.
Over the past week Kaye and I have had the privilege of visiting many communities in the far north of our State, including the Western Cape, in order to better understand the great strengths, serious challenges and distinctive contributions of the people of these regions to Queensland, and all its people.
And here in historic and contemporary Blackall, we recognise the vital contribution made to Queensland’s economy by the area’s resilient pastoralists especially, and those involved in the tourism industry, and of all the people of the town.
Now the very fact that Blackall’s Flower Show is still thriving after as long as 90 years is a welcome reminder that hard times do pass.
I warmly thank the dedicated organisers who have worked so tirelessly to coordinate such a colourful – and indeed inspirational – display of resilience!
And I congratulate the participants who have nurtured so many beautiful blooms for us all to appreciate today.
It is now, with the greatest of pride and pleasure, that I declare the 90th Blackall Flower Show officially open.