Morning Tea for the Order of St John for the Investiture and Presentation of Awards
Chancellor of the Order of St John, Mr Cameron Oxley; Priory Secretary, Mr Len Fiori; Chair of St John Ambulance in Queensland, Mrs Shirley Watson, and fellow Directors; President of the State Council, Dr Vlas Efstathis; ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honour for Kaye and me to welcome familiar and new Order of St John faces to Fernberg today. We especially welcome postulants, award recipients and their proud families.
May I say how honoured we are to have you, Chancellor, here today on what I understand is your first official Queensland visit since being installed by the Governor-General in July.
Every year since 2014, at around this time, Kaye and I are reminded in the most uplifting way of the vitality and enduring relevance of this historic Order by hosting these ceremonies – they are very much part of the rhythm of vice-regal life for us! We are honoured this tradition will continue, my term as Governor having been extended until 2021.
The Exhortation I will shortly recite, recounting the four cardinal virtues and eight beatitudes, directly connects us to the Order’s origins, forged when Christian monks established a hospice in Jerusalem in 1070 AD to care for the sick and infirm.
St John Ambulance, active in Queensland since 1889, is a contemporary translation of that historical mission.
And how magnificently the Order and its members continue to elevate our State.
I am constantly amazed, frankly, at the scope and reach of this positively-aligned Order, especially through its State-wide commitment – and Kaye and I are very glad to welcome guests today from across the South East, and importantly also from Goondiwindi, Emerald, Gin Gin, Maleny, the Gold Coast and Charters Towers.
We were reminded of the Ambulance’s regional dimension just this month, when visiting Mount Isa, and learnt of the magnificent work of St John Ambulance volunteers at the Rodeo and the Gulf Country Frontier Days Festival in Burketown.
Postulants, the venerable Order into which you are today being promoted and admitted is grounded in beneficial service to one’s self, to one’s community, to one’s faith, and to the Order.
I congratulate you all most warmly on your achievements and dedication which have brought you to this point. May the Order continue to inspire you throughout your lives.
I further congratulate our award recipients, who give tangible expression, through their deeds, to our maxim: “For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity.”
Finally, I congratulate the small army of volunteers, staff and Board Directors – at a State and national level – for sustaining the high esteem in which the community regards the Order and the Ambulance.
Thank you all once again, and please enjoy this most special occasion.