Fly from Everest Screening
QUT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Sheil AO, Executive Dean, Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice, Professor Lori Lockyer, staff and alumni; Fly From Everest Director, Dr Joe Carter; and stars of the film, Mr Ken Hutt and Mr Marcus Loane; Polio Australia Vice-President, Mr Gary Newton; Rotary District Governor, Mr Paul Roger and Rotarians; distinguished guests and alumni; ladies and gentlemen.
I, too, would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here this evening.
In my role as Governor of Queensland, I am often in the company of people whose abilities astonish me, whose selflessness uplifts me, or whose bravery leads me to realise that some people simply stand apart from the rest of us.
Though I must say, meeting an individual who not only embodies all those attributes, but also has the strength and sheer determination to climb the world’s highest mountain, only to jump off again, is a first for me.
Of course, Ken Hutt is the person I’m talking about, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to meet him in person at this wonderful event, being held to give this QUT-supported documentary wings, as it were.
There are, no doubt, many extraordinary and compelling reasons for a person to risk life and limb climbing Mt Everest. These reasons might include the desire to test one’s physical or mental limits, or to meet and overcome one of life’s great challenges, or simply the desire for a grand adventure.
Ken’s motivation, much like his method of descent, again seems to stand apart.
His aim was to raise awareness of, and funding for, Rotary’s signature humanitarian mission: the eradication of poliomyelitis from the world.
Ken, who is from the Rotary Club of Berry in New South Wales, must surely now be considered one of the most enthusiastic and energetic advocates of this mission. He has certainly gone to great lengths – or should I say heights – to support Rotary’s noble campaign.
Earlier this year, Graeme and I helped to mark 100 full years of operations by Rotary in Queensland, hosting a Reception at Government House and attending a Gala dinner.
Rotary in this State has made significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable, including children living with a disability, women facing poverty and homelessness, victims of flood and drought, the jobless, the vision-impaired, the aged, and the list goes on.
Rotarians donate countless hours of their lives to improving the circumstances of fellow Queenslanders, and always with an eye to the future, the ‘Next Century’ of ‘service above self’.
As Ken’s epic journey to the top of the world shows, the sky’s the limit when it comes to selfless service.
To those who helped make this film possible, thank you for allowing us to join Ken’s journey, and for your part in raising awareness of this terrible disease.
Just as Ken conquered Everest, we know we can conquer polio, even if it’s from our loungerooms and not necessarily by climbing to the top of the world — and jumping off.