Reception for the 2021 Royal Queensland Show
Our President, the Honourable Justice David Thomas and RNA Councillors; our CEO, Mr Brendan Christou; ladies and gentlemen, and all members of the Ekka family.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House this afternoon.
I was very much looking forward to officially opening this year’s historic Ekka – historic, as it is 100 years since the first ‘Royal’ show was held in 1921.
The RNA showed great grit, agility and innovation last year in bringing us a virtual Ekka in the face of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Not to be fazed by the last-minute nature of this year’s cancellation, Show organisers displayed similar characteristics in salvaging some of the Ekka traditions in 2021.
I was delighted, for example, to provide support for the pop-up shops for the iconic strawberry sundaes and dagwood dogs by lining up in the Rolls-Royce to be served the first strawberry sundae from our President.
The Government House Rolls-Royce has made many a journey around the main RNA arena since it was purchased in the early 1970s.
But I am pleased to be, as far as I know, the first ever Governor to consume a strawberry sundae inside the vehicle – however this year another first was created: I did manage to spill some of the melting sundae on the floor of the Rolls!
I am assured there is no permanent evidence of my vice-regal blunder.
Our RNA President also extended an invitation to view the artwork displays at the Convention Centre.
I can honestly say the array of paintings, drawings, sculptures and artwork is a wonderful tribute to the creativity Kaye and I have come to know of Queenslanders.
Next month, we have the further honour of keeping alive another important Ekka tradition, the hosting here at Government House of the Queensland Country Life Showgirl finalists.
Despite the heartbreak of two years’ of COVID disruption,
the dedication and commitment of the whole RNA family – from the Council and executive right through to the wonderful volunteers – remains unbreakable.
I take this opportunity to thank the RNA most sincerely for its warm hospitality and generosity to Kaye and me over the past seven years.
It has been an honour and a delight to be so closely associated with an event that is, at its core, a huge celebration of country Queensland, and that also brings so much joy to so many visitors of every age and background.
While I will no longer be Patron from 1 November, this does not mean Kaye and I have been to our last Ekka – our grandchildren will see to that – and we will continue to treasure our memories of the Show from this unique vice-regal perspective.
We look forward to one day again enjoying the Show’s displays, exhibitions, competitions, rides, fireworks, food and fun.
As Governor and Patron, I offer all those whose hard work brings the Ekka to life every year our best wishes for a successful 2022 Show.
And our very best wishes for a future in which the Ekka continues to grow and prosper for the benefit of many generations of Queenslanders to come. Thank you.