Presentation of the Order of St John
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure – as Deputy-Prior of the Order of St John in Queensland – to once again welcome you to Government House. Kaye and I are delighted to have you with us.
We gather today to recognise the outstanding accomplishments of the postulants who are to be admitted into a truly remarkable network of distinguished volunteers, all dedicated to community service.
This is the fourth Investiture Ceremony we have hosted for the Order of St John since I became Governor of Queensland four years ago and, shortly thereafter, a Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. As a past recipient of the Order, I very much share in your excitement as you wait to be inducted.
Most Queenslanders will be familiar with the work of St John Ambulance. But not everyone may be aware that the organisation that has been active in Australia for more than 130 years is part of a Royal Order of Chivalry, and first constituted as such by Royal Charter from Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1888.
Last year, Kaye and I were in Jerusalem for the 100th commemoration of the Battle of Beersheba – and were delighted and moved to ‘happen upon’, as it were, the order’s headquarters in the Old City.
I was not in Jerusalem in this present capacity, but it was significant for us – and the Official Secretary, to be reminded so directly of the origin. Though I was in Israel for another reason, I should add that I was most honoured to be welcomed in March 2017 at Kensington Palace by the Grand Prior the Duke of Gloucester – a most warm greeting.
The history of St John Ambulance is as impressive as its record of achievement. Last year alone, St John Ambulance trained more than 960,000 Australians in first aid while providing nearly 4 million hours of community care.
Today’s investiture ceremony is a longstanding tradition, celebrating the Order’s cardinal beatitudes that have inspired and guided us for many generations.
You will be joining an institute that, through its benevolent activities in many countries around the world, serves as a prime example of the marvellous things that can be accomplished when people work together towards common goals and aspirations.
As a society, we value the dedication and Christian beliefs that underpin the Order’s commitment to service: Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum — For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity. Your role in upholding these beliefs cannot be overestimated. On behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank you most sincerely.
I congratulate today’s postulants on their highly significant admittance into this most noble Order, and wish all of you the best in your future endeavours. This is a very proud day for you — enjoy it to the full.