Morning Tea in Support of the Royal Life Saving Society Queensland
President, Mr Les Mole; Executive Director, Mr Paul Barry; members, volunteers and supporters of the Royal Life Saving Society Queensland.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is a great honour, as your Governor and Patron, with Kaye, to welcome you to Government House today.
In the years leading up to 1905, when the Queensland branch of the Royal Life Saving Society was formed, a day at the beach or a waterway looked very different from what it does now.
Back then, few people knew how to swim. For those who could, mixed and daylight bathing was banned. And swimming pools themselves looked a little different – some of Brisbane’s first ‘pools’ were floating baths in the river!
There was certainly no ability for people to document lazy days at idyllic coastlines or inland waterways on TikTok or Instagram – as I am told is fashionable these days.
But as the popularity of swimming as a pastime grew, so too did the need for proper education and awareness of water safety.
Since 1905, the Society’s training, programs, advocacy and outreach have brought water awareness to ever greater numbers of Queensland families.
Indeed, more than 1.2 million Queenslanders – an extraordinary figure, really – have been accredited through Royal Life Saving water safety programs.
As the important National Drowning Report, released last week, demonstrates, there is still much work to be done.
Despite the disruptions of the coronavirus to its activities, the Society remains as committed as ever to reducing drowning and increasing swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills.
The honours and awards I have the great privilege of shortly presenting recognise volunteers, staff and supporters who go above and beyond in advancing this crucial mission.
They identify and promote the values important to the Society, and in doing so highlight positive role models.
I congratulate the awardees. You are part of a worldwide movement which exemplifies the best of humanity, with Her Majesty The Queen, whom I so proudly represent, as Royal Life Saving Society Patron.
I further thank the Royal Life Saving Society Queensland Board, administrators, staff and volunteers for their ongoing service to our State.
I wish you all a most enjoyable time here at Government House. Kaye and I look forward to speaking to many of you throughout the morning. Thank you.