The Duke of Edinburgh International Award Australia Gold Award Presentation Ceremony
Minister Grace; Cr Howard representing the Lord Mayor; senior representatives from the Queensland and National Duke of Edinburgh International Awards Authorities; ladies and gentlemen; and importantly today, our esteemed recipients.
I am honoured, as Governor and Patron, to present the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards during this significant diamond anniversary year of the Awards in Australia.
Before I do so, I would like to go back a little more than 60 years now to a room in England in 1956. Three extraordinary people sat together and between them came up with the idea for something that would become the world’s greatest youth achievement award.
One of those people was Lord Hunt, the leader of the first successful Mount Everest expedition, the expedition that made Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay household names.
The second was Kurt Hahn, a Jewish German educator who founded a school in Germany, but after speaking out against Hitler was briefly imprisoned and then forced to leave the country.
The third man at the table was, of course, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who, as Prince Consort, had already begun what was to become a lifetime of service to the Commonwealth and the world.
Those three men created a youth program that is now followed in over 140 countries across the world, and which has impacted the lives of millions of people globally.
In Australia alone, over 775 000 people are Duke of Edinburgh Awardees.
The very first Australian Gold Award recipient was Michael Dillon, who went on to become one of the world’s foremost adventure and documentary filmmakers.
Mr Dillon has won more awards in his field than any other individual worldwide.
Yet such is the prestige of the Duke of Edinburgh Award that when you look up ‘Career Awards’ on Mr Dillon’s website you find the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award one of the first listed.
The esteem in which the Duke of Edinburgh Award is held comes partly from the fact that it is not won – it is earned.
I congratulate all of today’s Award recipients on their magnificent achievement. It is an accomplishment that has the power to change your life, and it will remain forever with you.
I also congratulate and thank all of those who have shared the journey with you. Although the Duke of Edinburgh is an intensely personal experience, the support and encouragement of others cannot be underestimated.
I therefore further congratulate our Distinguished Service Medal recipients today – your eminent contributions deserve public acclamation.
At the beginning I spoke of the extraordinary people who founded the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I look around this afternoon at the extraordinary people who are its latest recipients, and I am filled with expectation and hope for the future.