Mount Isa Community Reception
Mr Robbie Katter MP; former member of the Queensland Executive Council and Speaker, Tony McGrady; Mayor, Councillor McCollough and Councillors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; students, so many so importantly here tonight. It is a great pleasure for Kaye and me to join you today to mark, to celebrate and to acknowledge our fifth Regional Government House, this year proudly based in the magnificent city of Mount Isa.
In that spirit of celebration and acknowledgement, I recognise the traditional custodians of the land, the Kalkadoon people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and future leaders.
The first Queensland Governor to visit this region was probably my intrepid predecessor, Lord Chelmsford. In 1906, he undertook a journey all the way from the Atherton Tableland to Camooweal. I say ‘intrepid’ because he made the whole journey in a horse-drawn buggy.
He didn’t visit Mount Isa. Nor did Queensland Governors before him or even quite a few after him.
That wasn’t a deliberate snub. It’s just that Mount Isa wasn’t there at the time, at least not in its contemporary built form.
It most certainly is now.
The establishment and growth of the city can be traced back to a few far-sighted – and also intrepid – pioneers who recognised the mineral potential of the area and set out to develop it.
The extension of the railway line from Townsville, patient investment, and sheer hard work on the part of many generations ensured that what began as a tiny township more than 1800 kilometres by road from Brisbane became this important city of 22,000 people, supplying many parts of the world with copper, silver, lead and zinc.
The self-confidence and independent-mindedness of those early days is still very much evident in Mount Isa. The arrival of migrants from many countries has added to the very special character of this city.
Of course, the spirit which delineates Mount Isa’s special character finds its roots in the ancient Kalkadoon culture.
And I proudly display in the Drawing Room at Government House in Brisbane – a significant gathering place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders from all over the State – a didgeridoo generously gifted to me as Chief Justice, in 2008 while in Mount Isa, by representatives of the Kalkadoon people. It very poignantly and appropriately recognises the contemporary relevance to our State of our Indigenous heritage.
Kaye and I are very much enjoying the special character of this region as part of Regional Government House, an initiative of mine that sees us base ourselves in a centre in regional Queensland for as long as my schedule permits.
That allows us to get to know the area and its people even better, including at community events such as this and other engagements planned for the next few days.
It also ensures that I stand by my promise of being a Governor for all Queenslanders.
We will also use the opportunity to visit other centres – Burketown tomorrow, later in the week Cloncurry, Dajarra, Hughenden, Richmond, Camooweal, and Mornington Island – while we are in the neighbourhood, a very big neighbourhood.
Kaye and I are always delighted by the welcome we receive all over the State. Today is no exception.
I thank the Mount Isa community for your warm welcome and hospitality and I wish the city and its community every success.
Kaye and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible here tonight.