Queensland Country Women’s Association Afternoon Tea
Speech by Mrs Kaye de Jersey. State President, Mrs Christine King and members of the State Executive Board; State Secretary, Mrs Marion Vannucci; Division and Branch Presidents; members; staff and supporters of the remarkable Queensland Country Women’s Association.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and offer my respectful greetings to Elders.
I am delighted, with Paul, to welcome you all to Fernberg today. We are very glad we could host this reception at the same time as your Council Meeting.
Long before becoming Patron of the Queensland Country Women’s Association in 2014, I was very acquainted with your sterling reputation for advocacy, support and hospitality. Paul and I travelled extensively throughout regional Queensland while he was on the bench. What I discovered was how much of the town’s heart was to be found in the local QCWA branch.
When women put their minds to something they are unstoppable.
The vitality and endurance of many a regional community owes much to the resourcefulness of the women of the QCWA.
Since Paul became Governor nearly seven years ago, we have had the privilege of visiting almost every corner of the State, often in the aftermath of bushfire, flood or other natural disaster.
We have witnessed firsthand the work of the QCWA in rallying the community and quietly doing what needs to be done, in the way of women everywhere.
Just yesterday in Emerald, Paul presided at the renaming of the BUSHKids facility as the Leslie Wilson Outback Centre, after our 15th and longest-serving Governor. BUSHKids was Sir Leslie and Lady Wilson’s initiative.
The former Governor’s grandson, Mr Charlie Wilson – from that region – particularly thanked the QCWA publicly for their support of that tremendous initiative, since its commencement in 1935 – including supporting children in need of help, as nurses, or quasi nurses, in their train trip from the Central West to Yeppoon. And predictably, at yesterday’s event, QCWA women were present providing wonderful hospitality. They were all aware of today’s reception at Government House and were excited about it.
The bonds between QCWA women and the communities they serve have been evident wherever we have been in Queensland.
Without looking for applause or acknowledgement, they competently see to the feeding and nurturing of communities in need.
This is what the QCWA has done for 99 years, and it is with no small sense of anticipation that I read of the plans for our Centenary in 2022.
100 years is a magnificent achievement, reached by few organisations. For those who have interacted with the QCWA, it comes as no surprise that it should be one of those select few.
I will always cherish the time I have spent being a small part of the QCWA family. It has been a particular honour to continue the grand tradition of vice-regal patronage, which stretches back to Sir Matthew Nathan’s founding role with the organisation in 1922.
You have all unstintingly proffered your friendship and support to me, and I wish you all the best for your Centenary and the years to come.
To acknowledge this special relationship between QCWA and Government House, you will all leave today with a copy of ‘The Governors of Modern Queensland’ book, authored by David Fagan and Madonna King, which Paul launched in March. If you turn straight to the index, you will see the QCWA and your President feature in there a few times!
For now, please enjoy the hospitality of Government House, which today is inspired by your own.
The culinary skills of the QCWA are legendary. As a gesture of Paul’s and my gratitude for your support, the chefs here at Government House have seized the challenge, and this afternoon’s refreshments come from the pages of ‘In My Country Kitchen’.
I trust we have done them honour. Thank you.