Afternoon Reception in Support of the Bowen Community
Mayor, Cr Andrew Wilcox; 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.
It is a tremendous pleasure to be with you this afternoon as I enjoy my first official visit to Bowen as Governor of Queensland.
Of course, this place is no stranger to Governors – not only being named after Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen – but also holding the title of North Queensland’s oldest town…which means your region has seen many vice-regal visitors over the years.
And for good reason!
Indeed, back in 1928, then Governor and keen fisherman, Sir John Goodwin, experienced one of this region’s most popular activities when he snagged three good sized king-fish from a rod and line in the entrance to Bowen Harbour, much to the amazement of local fishermen.
According to newspaper reports at the time, another 5 or 6 boats went out that day, but Sir John was the only person to catch any fish.
Any keen anglers here tonight need not be concerned – your Governor won’t be wetting a line on this visit!
But having spent some time this afternoon meeting the enthusiastic students at Bowen State School, and then viewing the amazing panorama of coast and countryside from Flagstaff Hill, I can see why Bowen has always charmed and delighted its visitors and why you are proud to call it home.
Your enviable location, stunning beaches and bays, fringing coral reefs, and historic town centre with its wide streets, make Bowen visually appealing.
But it is Bowen’s spirit of enterprising initiative blended with a renowned laid-back attitude that has seen this place grow and prosper, at the same time honouring its traditions.
Just last year, for example, Bowen saw its first-ever exports to Japan of locally-grown Kabocha pumpkins – a fact I was delighted to share with the Japanese Consul-General just last week.
Of course, Bowen’s famous mangoes remain a perpetual summertime treat we all eagerly anticipate.
This wonderful dynamism and resourcefulness – across agriculture, the resources sector, construction, tourism, and indeed all industries – takes united effort and a desire for a shared vision for the future.
In times of adversity, this community cohesion rises swiftly to the fore.
We saw this in Bowen in 2017, after Cyclone Debbie caused extensive damage, and of course, more recently, since COVID-19 has resulted in widespread upheaval and hardship.
Together you show all Queenslanders what can be achieved with a positive attitude and determination.
Indeed, I am looking forward to learning more about plans for the region, when I meet with Mayor Willcox and Councillors and attend a breakfast with business leaders tomorrow – I am sure your future looks bright.
Thank you all for the contribution you are making, not only to the continuing vibrancy of Bowen, but also to our entire State.