Commemorative Tree Planting in memory of Queen Elizabeth II on the Governor’s First Anniversary in Office
Distinguished guests; Government House volunteers and staff; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respect to Elders, past, present, and emerging. I extend that respect to all First Nations people here with us today.
Good morning all. Today marks a full year since I was sworn in as Governor.
I have attended many ceremonial events since then, marking many great moments in the history of our State, and of the organisations I represent as Patron.
Many such organisations are represented here today, on what is a very significant occasion in the history of Government House.
We had planned to gather to plant a Commemorative Tree to acknowledge the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second, whom I was deeply honoured to serve for the majority of my first year as Governor.
This tree has been donated by the Macadamia Conservation Trust, and is an ‘MCT one’1 variety, developed by Mr Ian McConachie AM, who is here with us today, with his wife Jan.
Ian has played a major role in safeguarding the genetic diversity of this incredible food source, whose natural habitat is the lush Queensland rainforest.
He was also involved developing more productive macadamia trees to aid the industry. The development of MCT One is a result of this work.
Meanwhile, we are proud to do our part in efforts to bring the Macadamia integrifolia off the list of vulnerable species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
This sapling, which I will now plant today when the rain permits, likely to grow into a magnificent tree up to 15 metres tall, will stand sentinel for decades to come behind this statue of Queen Elizabeth the Second, both symbols of fortitude and longevity!
Additionally, 70 native trees are to be planted in the bushland below us to form what we have called The Queen’s Green Canopy, an initiative to create habitat for local wildlife on this magnificent Estate, which has been temporarily entrusted to us.
On this day a year ago, I pledged “true allegiance” to Queen Elizabeth the Second, and her passing on the eighth of September had a profound impact on many of us, as of course did her decades of service.
While she will be greatly missed, we welcomed our new monarch, His Majesty King Charles the Third, in a seamless transition that was reflective of the Queen’s legacy of stable constitutional governance.
In the year since I took my oath to serve the people of Queensland, my admiration of Queenslanders has grown and branched out into new areas, much like this tree will in the years to come.
And I have witnessed Queensland communities not only weathering the pandemic, destructive storms, and other disruptive events, but bouncing back and thriving once again, much as we expect this tree will.
The macadamia is representative of one of many places I have been fortunate to travel to during my term, in keeping with a pledge I made to visit Queenslanders where they live.
While in the State’s north, I have been privileged to visit Indigenous communities to offer support for their efforts toward improved literacy and better health and wellbeing, while also seeking to foster reconciliation with First Nations people.
Graeme and I have also accepted patronage of 166 organisations and events dedicated to supporting and serving Queenslanders.
While they couldn’t all be represented here today, I hope to be able to welcome them here to Government House in the near future.
And when they do come, they should find this growing tree symbolic of their own strength, service and belonging.
Thank you all for coming, despite the inclement weather.