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 at Longreach Civic and Cultural Centre Longreach

Morning Tea in Support of the Longreach Community

Mayor, Cr Rayner; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, extending respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.

It is always a tremendous pleasure to visit the Longreach region, and not only because I once called this place home!

On this, our fifth official vice-regal visit here, Kaye and I are again genuinely touched by your kindness and unflagging enthusiasm, particularly when we know the drought and fickle nature of rain, together with the effects of COVID-19, continue to cause hardship and uncertainty.

While my childhood memories are fond, it is through my time spent here as Chief Justice and Governor, that I have come to understand the depth of the warmth and generosity of people who live in Queensland’s Central West.

Your community has an admirable track record of demonstrating tenacious togetherness when times are difficult, but also when there is reason to celebrate.

On each visit here, I have seen this unique spirit in action.

I vividly recall our 2016 arrival in Longreach aboard the Vice-Regal carriages on the Spirit of the Outback. At the time, Kaye and I were overwhelmed by the welcome we received from the 300-strong crowd, the Longreach Town Band and the local Scout troop.

Indeed, this special memory forms part of the new book I recently launched at Government House called TheGovernors of Modern Queensland, an extract of which features in this week’s Longreach Leader.

I hope this book helps immortalise Longreach as a place of friendship and enduring optimism.

More recently, we were again struck by the passion and dedication of the local community when last night we attended the Qantas Founders Museum’s Red and White Gala to open their magnificent new Airpark Roof and sound and light show.

Just this morning, I presented Australian honours and awards to two remarkable citizens, who join us here this morning: Mrs Daphne Rich, presented with a Medal of the Order of Australia; and Mr John Ngahiti Waerea, awarded the Bravery Medal.  

I know these examples of fellowship are what make you proud to call the Longreach region home, and also what draws others to visit.

With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, iconic attractions, and fascinating working cattle and sheep stations, I am not surprised people are keen to explore the Central West, and experience its vast skies and spaces, and unique towns and settlements. 

Indeed, this summer, I believe that the pandemic has seen an increase in visitation to Queensland’s Outback!

On behalf of all Queenslanders, thank you for being enterprising, resourceful, courageous and inspiring – qualities we most associate with the essence of the Outback – and for all you do to contribute to the vitality of our State.