Official Visit to All Souls St Gabriels School
Mayor, Cr Beveridge; Deputy Headmaster, Mr Ian Dietrich; students, staff and supporters of All Souls St Gabriels School. It is a great honour to join you today.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders. Thank you, Miss Davison, for your welcome to country, and all students for that impressive rendition of the National Anthem.
One hundred years ago, Charters Towers was undergoing a period of major transformation and fervent activity.
The goldfield town whose finest played such an influential role in World War I – members of the Charters Towers-based Kennedy Regiment were amongst the first ashore at Gallipoli – was also reeling from the impact of a global pandemic – the Spanish flu.
Residents were eager to make full use of the new found peace and stability, and busily set about reinventing the town as an educational hub of North Queensland.
Indeed, between 1919 and 1921, four new schools were established in Charters Towers – All Souls School for boys in 1920 and St Gabriels School for girls in 1921, in addition to the separately formed Thornborough and Blackheath Colleges!
I mention this not to stoke friendly rivalries between your now-merged Schools – there are plenty of on- and off-field opportunities for that!
However, as we go about celebrating the centenary of All Souls and St Gabriels Schools during another global pandemic, we draw inspiration on how to live through challenging times.
The Bush Brotherhood of St Barnabas and the Sisters of the Sacred Advent sought to instil in students an ethos of self-reliance, independence and above all – service, powerfully reflected in your School motto – Servire Regnare.
This remains your contemporary challenge, students – to optimally develop educationally and holistically, all the while being inspired by the fine traditions of self-reliance and service which define your School.
There is additional significance to my visit today.
I will shortly have the great honour of unveiling a plaque and planting a Fringed Wattle Tree.
Wattle Day, which we celebrate today, shares something else in common with the foundation of your School – both initiatives were linked to supporting and honouring returned service personnel after the First World War.
I am very glad the Queensland Country Women’s Association President could be here to represent Open Minds, the organisation formed from the Queensland Wattle Day League, and of which I am proud Patron.
I sincerely hope that all current students will one day look back on this day with pride and admiration, as you use the growth of this tree as a measure of your own educational and personal journeys.
I thank and congratulate the entire School community for your warm welcome today.
I very much look forward to visiting the Year 6 classroom after today’s assembly, and to spending the rest of my week in the Charters Towers region. Thank you.