Queensland University Regiment Association dinner and reunion
Thank you, Brigadier Luttrell, for your warm welcome tonight, and thank you, and congratulations, to everyone attending this reunion – the 50th anniversary of the Commissioning of Officers in 1968!
When my cohort was commissioned in that very year, it was de rigueur to join this wonderful club – then a military club.
The club, as we know it today, later began accepting civilian memberships, including women, and it endures very successfully, still as the United Service Club.
And the association’s wish to be here tonight, for this very important event, is indeed a real tribute to the club.
Two weeks ago, Kaye and I toured RAAF Base Scherger at Weipa, an immense, brooding military establishment, a 3,000-metre runway and comprehensive, intricate support, from day to day manned by only four personnel.
I was reminded that in this great nation of ours, for security nothing is taken for granted, even to maintaining in tip-top condition, with not an unnecessary level of service support, an optimal defence facility – in case it be needed.
The Queensland University Regiment experience in that Vietnam era of the late ‘60s was similar in a way – many were optimally trained by the Regiment, though only a courageous few needed to serve in the war zone.
Through maintaining and developing QUR, and the CMF generally, the government rightly recognised the importance of having a large group of well-trained soldiers readily deployable.
I have been very impressed over the last few years to note the effective integration into all three services of both regular soldiers and reservists; and indeed, the interdependence of the three services: on Tuesday of last week I was at Amberley, and amazed by the huge army presence at that RAAF establishment.
My recollection of the ‘60s at QUR is of a certain degree of tension between the regulars and the reservists!
The corporate memory of the association embraces all these things, and its vision pivots on the ongoing significance of collegiality.
Importantly, the association acknowledges the service of many, well beyond the Vietnam era of the 1960s and 1970s.
I have been very pleased as Governor to be in a position to acknowledge, by way of various events at Fernberg over the past four years, my debt to QUR; and just tribute to the services will, I hope, be seen as a mark of this 26th Governorship.
I was invited to recount this evening some reminiscences – I think the hope was that I at least try to be amusing – but I think that is probably better left to talk at the tables, though I will burden you with one little story.
Early in my term I attended – as Honorary Air Commodore 23 City of Brisbane Squadron – a dining in night at RAAF Base Amberley.
I also happened that night to be Administrator of the Commonwealth. I was told I would be a ‘protected species’ in the banter following the dinner – not so!
The Dining Vice President asked me to stand up and state my name, to which I obliged.
Then his question: “Is it true you were a member of the Queensland University Regiment and rose to the rank of Lieutenant?” Upon my confirming that, he responded, with a thump of the gavel: “Fined, for want of ambition!”
Ladies and gentlemen, it is uplifting to be in such pleasant company, recalling interesting experiences of the past I wish you all the very best, acknowledging with thanks your altruistic public service, our Regiment, and our great nation!