Afternoon Reception for the Lady Musgrave Trust
Trust President, Ms Patricia McCormack and Members of the Executive; CEO, Mrs Karen Lyon Reid; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
It is an honour to welcome the wonderful supporters of the Lady Musgrave Trust to Government House this afternoon.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I are thrilled to be part of your 135-year celebrations, and are pleased that the close vice-regal connection, forged by the visionary Jeannie Lucinda Musgrave all those years ago, remains strong.
I am also immensely proud of my own long association with the Trust, which stretches back to the 1970s when as a barrister I advised Trustees that they could not lawfully pay an honorarium to the retiring long-serving Matron.
Shortly afterwards, Kaye purchased this wonderful watercolour – by Trebilco – of the Lady Musgrave Lodge, the imposing Victorian building then in Upper Edward Street where so much good work was accomplished for vulnerable women.
The painting followed us from our home at Kenmore here to Fernberg.
I have the very great honour, in your 135th anniversary year, of today gifting it to the Trust.
I hope the artwork will serve as a reminder of the Trust’s roots, but also of how far it has come.
In 1885, when Lady Musgrave and her dedicated committee sought to provide safe accommodation for young disadvantaged immigrant women and their children, they began an organisation that has never strayed from its path.
Just three years after its beginnings – when Lady Musgrave was forced to leave Queensland, following the tragic death of Sir Anthony – those earliest supporters made a promise to their Patroness that remains resolute.
Today, you are here because you have stayed true to this pledge.
Indeed, while it has been many years since steamships brought vulnerable young women to our shores, the basic need for protection, and desire for a safe future stand unchanged.
Tailored counseling and customised support services may have superseded early skills training in nursing and cooking, yet a focus on empowerment is still at the heart of the Trust’s activities.
Sadly, however, many at-risk women still require assistance.
Homelessness – and the myriad modern complexities causing it – makes the work of the Lady Musgrave Trust more crucial than ever.
This may be Queensland’s oldest charity, but it is also one that is staunchly in touch with the community it serves.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I pay tribute to the vital support of the many loyal donors and volunteers who make this worthy organisation thrive.
Kaye and I congratulate you all for guiding the Trust forward so successfully, while fulfilling its foundational aspirations.
Lady Musgrave would be delighted to see how over 135 years; the generosity of the Queenslanders she loved has never waivered.