United Service Club Patron’s Dinner
Thank you, Major de Carteret, for your kind introduction tonight, and a very warm to you, ladies and gentlemen.
As a member of the United Service Club for nearly half a century – can it possibly be that long?! – I am always delighted to find myself in these familiar surroundings.
I am equally pleased to be here as Vice-Regal Patron of the club, upholding the close connection that Governors have maintained since 1892.
I am grateful that the extension of my term as Governor gives me the opportunity to do so for a further two years.
Club members will be acutely aware that ceremonies marking the end of the First World War took place all over the world just two weeks ago.
Kaye and I were honoured to attend commemorations in London and, at the eleventh hour on the 11th of November, at Villers Bretonneux, attending the official Australian Government commemoration ceremony.
No one could fail to be deeply moved and humbled by the sombre and beautiful military rites of remembrance in both places, but especially on the Western Front, amid row after row of silent gravestones.
This club has long honoured those of its members lost in the Great War, and in other conflicts.
Back from France, Kaye and I travel tomorrow to Thailand, officially, and that visit, in all its respects relevant to Queensland, will significantly for us gathered here this evening, include a tour of the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, and wreath layings at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and Hellfire Pass.
The honour boards in the entrance hall of this club invite all those who pass to reflect on the courage and sacrifice of those whose names appear there.
But we can also remember the everyday lives of the fallen in more modest ways, by treasuring the friendship, camaraderie, companionship, and sense of belonging that the club encourages.
Australians serving their country amid the harsh and unrelenting realities of war would have treasured them too, even more so – recalling the simple but important pleasures of home, of family, of friendships, of belonging, that they strove to defend through their service and sacrifice.
The commitment and hard work of the United Service Club’s executive, members and staff keep those ‘simple but important pleasures’ at the forefront of the club’s ethos, and keep this wonderful institution thriving.
I thank and congratulate the club on this marvellous achievement, and wish you all continuing success.
Ladies and gentlemen, club members and staff – should our paths not cross in the next few weeks, merry Christmas, and I hope you all have a peaceful and prosperous 2019.