160th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Queensland Mounted Infantry
Distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour, as Governor, to be here, with Kaye, at this historic park, named after Queen Victoria here in the “Queen’s” Land.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
When Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Bowen, arrived in Queensland in 1859, he observed that the new colony was ‘entirely defenceless’.
That was shortly after the Crimean War, pitting Britain and its allies against Russia. As a result, there was on-going concern in Australia about the Imperial Russian Navy’s intentions in the Pacific.
Governor Bowen quickly called for the formation of a Volunteer Corps. The response was equally rapid, with the formation in 1860 of mounted rifle volunteer units in Ipswich and Brisbane.
In raising a Queensland Defence Force, Sir George Bowen and the first volunteers laid the military foundations for Army units that have since played a proud, crucial and much-honoured role in Australia’s defence.
Both the 9th Battalion of the Royal Queensland Regiment, of which I have the honour to be Representative Colonel, and the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry), identify those early volunteer units as contributing to their own distinguished military DNA.
The combined list of campaigns and battles in which these two modern regiments and their predecessor units have served is a definitive list of notable feats of arms by Australians. They include the Boer War, Gallipoli, Beersheba and the Western Front, the major theatres of conflict in World War II and, more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have seen today the marvellous spectacle provided by 9-R-Q-R and the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment proudly parading their Guidons and Colours.
The presence of the Queensland Mounted Police Unit, which also has a long history in our State, has added further distinction to the day.
And the wonderful Queensland Mounted Infantry Historical Troop, impeccably turned out with uniforms and equipment thoroughly researched and meticulously recreated, have today brought our military history vividly to life.
I thank the Chairman, Mr Jed Millen, and volunteers of the QMI Historical Troop for their great foresight, commitment and hard work in organising this special and spectacular event.
I take this opportunity to thank the Troop for the many occasions on which they have given military and community celebrations in Queensland a generous dash of fascination and historical depth.
I commend all participants in today’s parade on their excellent dress and bearing.
They have done great honour to this 160th anniversary of the Queensland Mounted Infantry.
Fittingly, as ANZAC Day approaches, they have also reminded us of the service and sacrifice of those who followed, and follow, in the footsteps of Queensland’s first defence force. Thank you.