Reception in Support of the Charters Towers Community
Mayor, Cr Beveridge; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys – I am very honoured so many local school students are with us.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders
It is great to be back in Charters Towers and to be with you here this afternoon on ‘Day One’ of my fourth visit to this marvellous town.
My first visit was in 2017 when I travelled here from Mackay, which was then the base for Regional Government House, an annual event when we take the operations of Government House out of Brisbane.
This year, Charters Towers itself is the base for Regional Government House, which is why the Governor’s Standard is flying proudly from the Council Chambers.
Over the next five days, I will conduct my constitutional, ceremonial and community duties from here, undertaking 33 official program elements, visiting three towns – Julia Creek and Croydon included, across 3 local government areas – McKinlay, Croydon and Charters Towers – which together represent eight per cent of Queensland’s landmass.
Regional travel has been one of the great highlights of my time as Governor.
It has enabled me to meet Queenslanders in many places and from many backgrounds, and to draw inspiration from their openness and humour, strength, and powerful sense of community.
Charters Towers is no exception. The town has a rich Indigenous history, and a well-known history and heritage as ‘The World’ following the discovery of gold in the 1870s – and I am delighted you are honouring that heritage through your 150th celebrations next year.
As gold production tailed off, Charters Towers re-invented itself more than once. In 2021, it is an education hub, a pastoral hub, a gold mining hub once more, an arts hub, and a draw for tourists.
But Charters Towers is above all a people hub, the centre of a proud and strong community which includes the smaller townships in the Council area such as Pentland.
Fortunately, this week’s longer stay will allow me to experience almost every one of those activities, ranging from the community focus of the Women of the Outback Shed and the arts studio Dillinga Dreaming, to education at All Souls St Gabriels School and mining heritage at the Venus Gold Battery.
I will also use Charters Towers as a base to visit Julia Creek and Croydon – more accessible from here than Brisbane! – and have an opportunity to thank local emergency services personnel for their wonderful work.
Mayor Frank Beveridge, Councillors, and the people of Charters Towers are once again marvellous hosts, and I look forward to a productive, enjoyable, and memorable visit.
This afternoon, however, it is my turn to play host, to thank you all for your hospitality and generosity over many visits.
As a further thank-you, I will shortly present to the Mayor and to you all copies of The Governors of Modern Queensland, which explores the role of the past five Governors – including me! – and Queenslanders’ views of the role.
As my tenure as Governor draws to a close, I reiterate my best wishes to Charters Towers and region for every success in the future. This is a remarkable town, so steeped in Queensland history, and its people are rightly proud of it.