Official Visit to Ipswich Central State School
Mayor, Cr Harding; Principal, Mr Sheehan; distinguished guests; boys and girls.
Thank you for hosting me at your School today and for such a warm welcome.
I particularly thank Holyee-Ann for her acknowledgement of country. I too acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Ipswich, extending respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
This School – once separate boys and girls schools – boasts a very proud history, stretching all the way back to 1861, just two years after Queensland became a colony separate from New South Wales.
I am honoured to be part of that history, albeit a small part. I attended the Boys School only from July 1959 until February 1960 while my father was head teacher.
I thought then it was rather grand to be attending this architecturally impressive School at the foothills of Limestone Hill.
My mother was also from Ipswich, so I am very proud of my time here. I was so impressed by my class teacher in Years 6 and 7, Mr Tunstall, who prepared me so well for my transition to senior school.
The School very kindly lent me some interesting historical material in advance of today’s visit. As evident from that material, the School rightly boasts a fine tradition, including I note, the attendance of Sir Harry Gibbs, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia – and a very proud, always proud, Ipswich person. To me, as a lawyer, Judge and Chief Justice, he was always a wonderful role model – and friend.
The School has successfully undergone some changes over the years; but I am so pleased to see it remains so robust, so proud, so progressive: I am humbled to be able to return today, once your grateful student, now your Governor – and still former proud student.
In my youth, I attended several schools around Queensland – in Longreach, Maryborough, here in Ipswich and later in Brisbane.
The good thing about moving so much was the chance to live in many different areas of the State.
Now, in my role as Governor of Queensland, I have been fortunate to travel widely in Queensland as well. And I have even visited many of the schools I attended as a young boy!
The role of the Governor is quite exciting. As Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Queensland, there are many important functions that a Governor must perform. But, of course, one of my favourite duties is speaking at schools.
This School’s motto – “strive to excel” – is a powerful instruction. I encourage you to consider these words strongly.
Excelling does not always mean being first or even being the best. It means to perform something excellently or proficiently.
Whatever it is that you excel at, students, make sure you are always striving to be the best you can.
I know you are aided in your endeavours by dedicated teachers and administrative staff, to some of whom I have the great honour of shortly presenting recognition awards. I will also present awards to Science Fair winners, tour classrooms and read a book about Queensland’s Vice-Regal Dog – Gavel the German Shepherd – to a Year 1 class.
What an uplifting School community this is – every bit as inspirational as I recall. I look forward to spending the morning with you all.