Queensland Library Foundation end of year function
Thank you, Ms Brodie, for your kind introduction tonight.
I too acknowledge our special guests, and the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we gather.
Kaye and I are delighted to join you for the Queensland Library Foundation’s end-of-year celebration.
The Queensland State Library was established in 1896, the same year in which a large and magnificent yellowwood dining table was delivered to the then Vice-Regal couple in Queensland, Lord and Lady Lamington.
The 24-seat table is a beautiful example of the work of skilled Queensland artisans.
It has so far served 14 Queensland Governors in two Government Houses over 122 years of our State’s history.
If only we could download some of the conversations that have taken place around the table – involving, among others, royalty, heads of state, and Queenslanders prominent in many fields – our historical record would be substantially enriched.
Alas, the table is a mute witness.
Not so the equally venerable Queensland State Library.
The library is a treasure trove, a memory bank, a witness, of our State’s history and identity.
But these treasures are not locked away in iron-bound chests. Rather, they are made accessible and available to all Queenslanders.
That task has grown over the decades. In 1896, ‘all Queenslanders’ meant about 450,000 people.
The library now serves a population more than 11 times that number!
I want to say, departing from my script, how impressed I am by the library’s commitment to displaying its immense reserves of material, an enormous job of course, but greatly appreciated by very many of us.
The library, the State Library, exists to serve the people, and to serve them, State-wide. It does that, essentially, by interesting them, enthusing them in their daily lives!
Kaye and I regularly brought our grandchildren here when they were infants – they loved it, as did we – and we will all return with some years under our belts!
The library . . . a place for discovering, learning and creativity, drawing on the objects, stories, images, and voices in its extensive collections, both those related to the history and culture of the State’s indigenous people, and to the nearly 200 years since Europeans arrived in Queensland – a place for people of all ages.
With 2019 designated the year of Indigenous Languages, the library’s work in this area, including its support for Indigenous Knowledge Centres, takes on even more significance.
As Patron, I thank the foundation council, the library board, executive and staff for their energy and commitment to supporting the growth of the library’s collections, facilities, and services to Queenslanders.
I also acknowledge the important support of donors to the foundation, present and past, whose generosity has contributed directly to the growth in the library’s collections, and to its capacity to serve the people of Queensland.
This has certainly been another highly successful and rewarding year for you all – congratulations.
Every time Kaye and I have been here – most recently for the Palm Island and Our People exhibition with Mayor Lacey – there has been a palpable buzz about the place.
That people care about books, knowledge and the exchange of ideas suggests a healthy community.
I thank the State Library for its reliable navigation in that direction.