North Queensland Club Past Presidents’ Black-Tie Dinner 2021
Club Vice President, Mr Sam Blanch; Immediate Past President, Mr Leon Pommer; Bishop Keith Joseph, distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
I am delighted to join members and guests of the North Queensland Club for my third visit to the Club as Governor.
It is always a great pleasure to visit Townsville, something I have managed to do so often in this role – this is now my 30th official visit – that I might have to change the address on my driver’s licence!
At my very first Executive Council meeting as Governor in 2014, a former North Queensland Minister pointed to his Cowboy’s lapel pin and said, “you’ll be needing this”.
I wore it that week at my first Townsville press appearance, where a reporter asked, “are you a Cowboys fan”, to which I quickly responded, “yes”!
Word obviously got around! Back in Brisbane, Wayne Bennett approached me and said, “I hear you’re a Cowboys supporter”, a statement he later repeated at a Broncos game.
This audience will agree – the right decision was made!
As Governor, it has been a great honour and an inspiring experience to meet with communities all over the State, to celebrate their special occasions – including your 130th anniversary – to support them in difficult times, and to thank them for their contributions to the well-being of Queensland.
That is as true of small communities like Croydon in Gulf Savannah country, which I visited a few weeks ago, as it is of major centres like Townsville.
It is also true of the many organisations of which I am a proud Patron, including the North Queensland Club.
Speaking of which – I must say that the view from here of all these splendidly-dressed Club members and guests is impressive.
Black tie is not the usual dress code for Townsville’s tropical climate, but there are special occasions on which it is highly appropriate. Tonight is certainly one of them.
There is much to celebrate. This is a Club with a long and proud heritage, beginning 136 years ago and spanning the tenures of 21 Governors of Queensland – and counting. The Club has contributed enormously to the prosperity of Townsville and North Queensland, and to the well-being of its people.
Tonight’s celebration comes almost at the end of my tenure as Governor.
But you can be sure that the warmth of the North Queensland Club’s generous hospitality will long remain among the many wonderful memories I take with me.
This evening is particularly nostalgic for me, because my very first vice-regal visit was to Townsville, and now Townsville marks my final vice-regal visit.
So, I thank you most sincerely for those warm welcomes.
The Club would not have endured and succeeded without the dedication, hard work and clear-sightedness of many Past Presidents, and of the current executive.
As Governor and Patron, I thank them all for their loyalty and commitment to the North Queensland Club.
I congratulate you on the Club’s longstanding success and wish members – and this wonderful part of Queensland – a continuing record of prosperity and achievement.