United Service Club Patron’s Dinner 2021
Our President, Lieutenant Colonel Tony Coyle; Vice-President Major Ian Harding; Committee Members; members; 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 absolutely delighted to join you once more at the United Service Club, even though this is a bittersweet occasion for me.
My tenure as Governor is well into the home straight now, with the finish line in sight. But this is one ‘race’ that I will regret finishing.
Part of that regret stems from the realisation that I might have to park my own car at the Club once again!
But it is overwhelmingly because it will be the end of the extraordinary honour and experience of being Governor of this State.
My role as vice-regal Patron of the United Service Club has been among the highlights of that service.
This bout of nostalgia has reminded me that, when I first joined this Club, I was, I think, 20 years old. The Club, then, has been a constant companion throughout most of my adult life. And what a wonderful companion!
I learned much from other Club members in half a century – all of it positive and above board. I know that I am not alone in having benefited greatly from the respect, friendship and camaraderie that, without fail, one finds within these walls.
A large part of the Club’s history, of its DNA, was and remains military. The admission of non-military members from 1974 beneficially broadened the range of life experience among Club members. But it did not, as some feared, cause the military ethos to fade from view.
On the contrary, it seems new non-military members have always appreciated and admired this aspect of the Club’s character.
In that respect, and with my vice-regal hat still firmly on my head, I will seize this opportunity to reiterate my congratulations and best wishes to the Royal Australian Air Force on its centenary this year.
That is especially apt given the major contributions made to the Club over the decades by serving and retired RAAF personnel.
They are among many, the very many, who have contributed through thick and thin to the Club’s good standing and longevity.
As Patron for a few weeks yet, I thank them all for the companionship, civility and professionalism with which they have imbued the admirable character of this Club – present company well and truly included.
The United Service Club is a great Queensland institution.
I am proud of and thankful for my long association with it.
I wish the Club the brightest of futures. Thank you.