Reception in Support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation
Dame Quentin; Minister Farmer; Suzy Wilson, Founder of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation; Ambassadors; Board members; Distinguished Guests and Students,
I acknowledge, with respect to elders, the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people.
Government House is the people’s house, and the first peoples of Australia are always welcome here.
In June last year, Kaye and I undertook an official visit to the communities of Cape York.
It was our second visit to Aurukun State School, and after spending time with students in their classrooms, we stopped for morning tea with the teachers in the school library.
Kaye, who is a librarian by profession, picked up a book that was in what she considers to be perfect condition – its spine was broken, and its pages soft and creased.
This was a book that had been read and re-read – that had been loved – and on its cover was the insignia of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
It was one of the over 260,000 books the Foundation’s exemplary “Book Supply” program has delivered to 250 remote communities.
Some long, some short, some funny, some sad; all of them beautifully written, celebrating the life, language and culture the children know and love.
These books are a bridge to literacy for indigenous children, particularly those for whom English is a second – or even third, or fourth language.
Over the past three and a half years as your Governor, I’ve spent time in many remote schools.
I’ve also met students from those same remote communities on their journey through our state’s boarding schools.
It is a journey replete with challenges, but also great and lifelong rewards.
So I wish to commend four of our most distinguished guests today – the published authors Latresha, Kelsey, Tiola and Dylan, from Concordia College in Toowoomba.
You are certainly a ‘deadly mob’ and your book “Two Ways Strong” will help others to ‘walk in two worlds’, to survive and to thrive.
I was delighted when Foundation Patron and my predecessor as Governor, Dame Quentin, approached me to host this event at Government House. This is a cause which has her passionate support.
I cannot promise to run as far or as fast as Foundation Ambassador, Dr Anita Heiss, who completed the Outback Marathon to raise funds for the ILF.
But I can and do promise that as I move through our cities, our towns and our remote settlements, to promote the work and aims of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and encourage others to support this most worthwhile cause.
I wish you well, and thank you most sincerely for joining us today.