Morning Tea in Support of the 2020 Royal Queensland Show
RNA President, Justice Thomas and Mrs Thomas; RNA Councillors and supporters; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you here this morning to celebrate this very special 2020 Royal Queensland Show.
I at once thank the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
This may not be the Ekka that has been part of our lives as Queenslanders for 142 of the past 144 years – those other two years accounting for the Ekka’s brief absence due to Spanish Influenza and World War Two.
However, Ekka 2020 Online, which Justice Thomas and I had the great honour of virtually launching earlier this week, is a splendid demonstration of the resourcefulness, innovation and sheer determination that have enabled this event to otherwise survive wars, natural disasters, and constant societal and technological change.
The Ekka has helped to define us as Queenslanders since 1876.
Each year, it demonstrates the quality and scope of our animal and crop production, and reminds us of the excellence that exists in our State in everything from wood-chopping to cake decorating.
Successive Governors have proudly accepted the role of Patron – conducting, in alternating years with the Governor-General, the official opening; recognising supporters at an evening reception; hosting a formal tea for the Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl finalists; and, in recent years, Kaye’s attendance at the Charity Fundraising High Tea and, here at Fernberg, prominently displaying the annual winner of the fiercely-contested school scarecrow competition for our thousands of visitors to see.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Kaye and I have been determined to maintain these traditions as much as possible.
While this morning’s event is much smaller than the customary evening reception, we very much wanted to thank, personally, the major sponsors and supporters of this remarkable event and to congratulate the RNA Council and management staff.
Tomorrow, Kaye and I will continue another Ekka tradition when we are driven to the showgrounds in the venerable 1972 Government House Rolls Royce Phantom. The difference this year is that we will be heading for the pop-up drive-through store where we will be presented with the first strawberry sundae of the year by the President! Will Fernberg’s home-madestrawberry sundaes, to be shortly served to you all, be just as good?
We are delighted, in this regard, to have experts as guests today – the Board Chair, volunteers and staff from the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation who have perfected the Ekka delicacy over decades! Don’t judge us to harshly!
This response to the pandemic restrictions – pop-up Sundae sites – is typical of the many quirky and imaginative solutions developed by the Ekka family to keep the spirit of this event alive.
I am confident that Brisbane residents and visitors will respond with enthusiasm when the sundaes and other so-called “sneaky snacks” – as they are wonderfully described on the Ekka website – are made available at pop-up sites around the City.
This year’s augmented Ekka is a bold undertaking, but one which, I know, will be observed by a greatly appreciative public.
I wish you every success for tonight’s spectacular fireworks display – thank you, Channel 7, for broadcasting it – and for the remainder of this unique ten-day digital celebration.