Birdsville Community Afternoon Tea
Mayor, Cr Dare; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
In what has been a challenging and difficult year for so many, I have certainly felt it my duty as Her Majesty’s representative in Queensland to continue my regional engagement as it is safe to do so.
It is, therefore, a great honour to be back in this very special part of Queensland.
This pandemic has thankfully not spread to this corner of the State, and may we hope it never does! But, of course, we are all connected and so what is felt in one place, is also felt in others.
The coronavirus is different to other adversities faced when living on this land – drought, dust, isolation.
However, the community spirit with which you face those challenges will surely be called upon to assist with how you rise to meet this latest one.
I fondly recall my last visit to Birdsville, in 2016. It was November and so I had the pleasure of watching the other great Australian horserace from this very pub. I refer of course to the Melbourne Cup. It was quite a thrilling experience! Almandin was the winner that day.
I anticipate the Birdsville Races were more thrilling still that year, when the first female duo took out the Birdsville Cup!
And although it is somewhat sad to know that the Cup will not be run this year, in doing so, Birdsville is doing its bit to help ensure the safety of the wider community.
Often in these times of hardship, we speak of sacrifice. We talk about what we have lost or what we are missing. And, indeed, this pandemic has tested us and taken from us.
But so too has it shown us new ways of operating, different ways of connecting, and how we as Queenslanders band together for the common good.
There is no doubt that its impact will be felt for many years to come.
This morning, I visited Birdsville State School and spoke about what a Governor does. Children – our future – are still inquisitive and eager to learn about this world and contribute to it.
Perhaps there will be an entire generation of avid hand-washers from this pandemic, but the spirit of curiosity and community will remain. Thank you, and enjoy the afternoon.