The Governor is invited to speak at a wide range of significant official, ceremonial and community events, including the Opening of Parliament, ANZAC Day ceremonies and events for Patron groups. A selection of these speeches is available below in a searchable database.

Back to all speeches

 at Government House, Brisbane

Reception to Celebrate St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland’s 125th Anniversary

State President, Mr Dennis Innes; CEO, Mr Kevin Mercer; members of the State Council; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders past and present.

As we have been so forcefully reminded this last week, mother nature has long held these lands we now call Queensland in her vice-like grip.

Rewind to 1893, and a great flood inundated Brisbane and Ipswich, leaving whole suburbs devastated.

Houses smashed against Victoria Bridge, ultimately sweeping away its northern pylons.

Up to a third of Brisbane residents were left homeless and the most unfortunate lost their lives. Disruption to community life left many families destitute.

In February 1894, at Saint Brigid’s Church in Red Hill, a half hour stroll from where we are standing now, a group of people wanted to help those who were still reeling from the flood.

It was during this time of great community need that Saint Vincent De Paul Society Queensland – known so affectionately to so many as ‘Vinnies’ – was formed.  

That flood had been so severe that messages of support were received from around the world, including from Queen Victoria.

Fast forward 125 years, and in February this year I conveyed the best wishes and support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second to the people of north and central west Queensland when their communities were likewise decimated by flood.

Vinnies was the trusted charity to which people had automatically turned.

Two floods book-end 125 years of Vinnies being there for Queenslanders in need, including during flood, drought, and other calamity – and bushfire, and in characteristically reassuring form, Vinnies sprang into action again last week.

Vinnies have also been in the quiet spaces: helping people back to school and into homes, helping people recover from addiction, helping marginalised members of our community.

I thank the corporations, organisations and individuals who have provided invaluable financial assistance to Vinnies, including through the phenomenally successful CEO and Community Sleepout programmes.

I thank the nearly 3,500 staff, who across 270 locations throughout our State advance Vinnies’ critical social welfare mission.

I am very pleased tonight to acknowledge the good work of the St Vincent de Paul Society, and I was greatly impressed to tour the South Brisbane Men’s Hostel and meet staff and residents earlier this month. It is uplifting to see the Catholic Church supporting this wonderful mission.

Finally, I thank the more than 9,000 members and volunteers, without whom the sterling work of Vinnies literally could not be done.

Kaye and I wholeheartedly congratulate Vinnies on reaching this milestone of 125 years. It is my honour and privilege, as Governor, to wish you all the very best for the next 125 years and beyond.