Morning Tea in Support of the Childers Community
Mayor, Cr Dempsey; Deputy Mayor, Cr Trevor; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
I am very pleased to be with you today in Childers.
Over the past six and a half years, I have derived enormous pleasure from visiting regional and rural areas of Queensland.
In 2015, I was given the honour of opening the twentieth Childers Festival while standing in the middle of the Bruce Highway. It was certainly an occasion I will never forget!
The Festival’s vibrant multicultural displays and the vast array of fabulous food left me with a strong desire to return and discover more about this unique town and its people.
I was therefore delighted to have the opportunity to walk the historic streets and view the beautifully maintained heritage-listed buildings this morning.
The town is a credit to you all. Everyone who visits can see that Childers is a place much loved and valued by its residents.
I also had the pleasure of visiting Cordalba State School this morning, just north of here.
My impressions were of a distinctively optimistic and caring school community, and students who are a great credit to this region.
I am also greatly impressed the industrial, agricultural and community diversity of the Childers region is reflected in attendees this morning.
I thank you all as contributing members of this dynamic community.
There is an attendant, special reason for my visit to Childers today.
The Official Secretary will shortly reveal details of a new Government House publication.
I must forewarn you that the book includes mention of the tragedy of The Palace Backpackers Hostel. Although this appalling event should never be forgotten, it should never define this town.
However, I vividly recall, as Chief Justice at the time, that the community of Childers displayed enormous strength and compassion for each other and those in their care.
The book recalls how these sentiments – of strength and compassion – were detected in the visits by then Governor, General Peter Arnison, who also brought Princess Anne to town in mid-2000.
They are sentiments I detect again today, and sentiments I was privileged to honour when I laid a wreath this morning at the Honour Boards at the Memorial Hall.
Thank you for making me so welcome here in Childers. I look forward to speaking to many of you throughout the morning tea