Charters Towers Community Luncheon
Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor, Councillor Frank Beveridge; Deputy Mayor, Councillor Graham Lohmann APM and CEO, Mr Martin Drydale; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of this land and pay my respects to Elders past present and emerging. I extend that respect to any First Nations people here today.
And I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of our beloved former Sovereign of 70 years, Queen Elizabeth the Second, and the accession of our new Sovereign and Head of State, King Charles the Third.
I’m so thankful to be here in Charters Towers on my first official visit as the 27th Governor of Queensland, at a time when you are celebrating 150 years in the life of this town and its people.
And what a celebration! Exhibitions, displays, tours, a history and heritage fair, themed film and theatre productions and the exciting Rush Festival that has drawn a very impressive line-up of musicians and entertainers.
The number and diversity of events is telling of the region’s fascinating history and deserved reputation as a ‘World’ unto itself.
While here, I’ll meet with various organisations for which I am Patron, including the Queensland Country Women’s Association, which celebrates its centenary this year.
I will also meet with the frontline and emergency services personnel who featured so prominently in rescue and recovery efforts during the major flooding event in May of this year.
I’d certainly like to take this opportunity to thank them for their efforts and courageous service amid record rainfall and life-threatening flash-flooding to the region.
The Bureau of Meteorology is on the record as saying it was an unusual occurrence for that time of year. It just goes to show how crucial emergency planning, preparation and experience is when it comes to our increasingly unpredictable and volatile climate.
In between times, I hope to learn as much as I can about this region and its extraordinary history, and talk to as many locals as I can about what they think makes Charters Towers tick in 2022.
It’s undoubtedly a city on the move – and with a long list of local development projects and initiatives planned to improve and enrich the lives of its current custodians.
While pride in, and respect for, the region’s rich Indigenous history is palpable, its past as a gold-mining mecca is rightfully promoted as key to its current prosperity.
But the push to develop its reputation as an educational and pastoral hub, a centre for the Arts, a tourist drawcard and, quite simply, a wonderful place to raise a family, are equally impressive to me.
I’m no stranger to the rhythms of life in regional Queensland, having worked for some years in Rockhampton during my career as a doctor and medical administrator.
In the short time I’ve been here, I can already sense that your town and the people who call it home, share that same, palpable sense of community and shared responsibility to reflect your own values, write your own story and shape your own future.
Graeme and I thank you all for welcoming us so warmly into your ‘World’.