Morning Tea to Launch the Government House Publication ‘Gavel Finds His Place’
President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Queensland chapter, of which I am very proud Patron, Ms Claire Jackson; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; and, importantly, students – from Milton, Rainworth, Bardon, Ithaca Creek and Petrie Terrace State Schools.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all here this morning to celebrate Children’s Book Week.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Back in April 2016 – 4 and a half years ago!, a very cute, six-week-old German Shepherd pup arrived here at Government House to begin a year’s basic training in preparation for a career as a member of the Queensland Police Dog Squad.
He was formally named ‘Gavel’ because of his intended future role in fighting crime and upholding justice, and was given an official welcome at no less an event than the reception held to mark the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.
But we now suspect that Gavel, even then, had other plans.
Within just ten months, he had cleverly managed to fail his Dog Squad training and had officially been appointed to a unique position, created especially for him – Vice-Regal Dog.
Since that day in February 2017, ‘Gavel VRD’ has had free roam of the house and estate.
He greets guests and visiting groups, has appeared in an official Christmas portrait, has been photographed wearing the State colours before important sporting events like the State of Origin, and was given vice-regal permission to include the Governor’s Standard in the design of his ceremonial coat.
Today, Gavel is up there with Madonna, Pink, and Adele in the list of stars known by just a single name, and has amassed a world-wide social media fan base – a single Facebook post in 2017 attracted more than five thousand three hundred ‘likes’!
But this morning we are celebrating his latest achievement – the publication of his authorised biography, ‘Gavel Finds His Place’, ghost-written by Wendy van Rosmalen and illustrated by Amanda Letcher.
Importantly, this is more than just a simple story of the life of a dog. It introduces readers to Queensland’s places and industries as Gavel travels the State, and provides information about the role of the Governor, but it also demonstrates the importance of having goals and striving to reach them.
We are very pleased that we are able to celebrate Gavel’s success today with so many students from neighbourhood schools.
Kaye and I have already shared it through story-telling sessions in several regional schools.
I congratulate Wendy, Amanda, JSACreative – and of course, Gavel – on the publication of ‘Gavel Finds His Place’, which Kaye will shortly read to you all.
I hope Gavel’s ambition and drive continues to inspire all Queensland children. Thank you.