National Archives of Australia Advisory Council
Chair of the National Archives of Australia Advisory Board, Dr Denver Beanland and fellow Council members; distinguished guests, including those from organisations of which I am so proud to be Patron; ladies and gentlemen.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I are delighted – finally! – to be able to welcome to Fernberg the members of the Advisory Council of the National Archives of Australia.
Following the postponement of your planned meeting in September, we are very pleased that it has been possible for you to reconvene and for us to extend Government House hospitality both to you, as Advisory Council members, and to your colleagues and supporters here in Brisbane.
The past year has had an enormous impact on all collecting institutions.
Pandemic restrictions have affected their ability to deliver the desired level of service to government and the community, and COVID-safe procedures have added a time-consuming level to managing the nation’s collections.
Despite those limitations, I know all collecting institutions have gone to extraordinary lengths to advance their central missions.
The National Archives, with the support of its esteemed Advisory Council, achieved some remarkable results in recent times, accounting for COVID-19 and the shifting regulatory environment in which you operate - not to mention the intense scrutiny of a High Court challenge!
I personally thank Advisory Council Members, and the staff who so ably support them, for their service to our State and nation.
Here in Queensland, it was a very busy archival year – there was a State Election, with its own significant archival requirements, and institutions like the State Library perspicaciously captured and documented for posterity the mood of Queensland during the pandemic.
At Government House, we were particularly delighted when the Queensland State Archives agreed, in October, to become custodians of Queen Victoria’s original instructions to Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Bowen.
The instructions had made their way to Government House in the 1990s via Bowen’s family and the Queensland Women’s Historical Network.
I was delighted to be able to pass them into the care of the State Archives, so they may be preserved for all Queenslanders.
This experience brought home to me the vital role that archives, and supporting community organisations, play in capturing and preserving our national memory.
I thank attendees for all you do to preserve the documents, places and stories which define and refine our State and national character.
I further wish all Advisory Council members robust and productive discussions during your meeting here in Brisbane.