Friends of Binna Burra Tour and Afternoon Tea
Mr Jankees van der Have, representing Friends of Binna Burra; Ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners 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 today.
It was the height of summer this year when Graeme and I pulled on our gardening boots and joined the Friends of Binna Burra for a Working Bee to replant part of the precious UNESCO World Heritage forest destroyed so tragically by the bushfires in September 2019.
It was inspiring for us to work side by side with such a committed group of people and I look forward to being able to congratulate you next year when Friends of Binna Burra celebrates its 50th anniversary.
One of the reasons Friends of Binna Burra has reached such a venerable age is its practical, ‘hands on’ nature.
An annual schedule of working bee weekends is published, a list of jobs is developed with advice from Binna Burra management, volunteers arrive at their own pace and are free to work on whichever task they wish, according to their interest and ability.
It’s a wonderful and enormously effective system, always capped off by socialising together over a meal.
It's difficult to imagine a more stark contrast with the system that operates here at Government House for the maintenance of our 14 hectares of bushland and gardens.
Our team of seven, led by Horticultural Coordinator Richard Symmonds, is responsible for ensuring that the lawns, garden beds and carefully trimmed shrubs around the house are always immaculate, but they’re also the custodians of the surrounding bushland.
Like this house and the formal gardens, the bushland is heritage listed, because it is the best-preserved area of original forest in inner Brisbane and that means consulting with heritage experts and implementing a very detailed Bushland Management Plan to remove invasive species, conserve water, prevent erosion and preserve the wildlife.
The bushland, the paths that wind through it, and the Ponds at the bottom of the eastern slope of the Estate are now truly a showcase and Graeme and I greatly appreciate the commitment and care taken by Richard and his team.
The Government House volunteers share our pride in the gardens and grounds and now regularly lead tours of this inner-city gem.
Graeme and I trust that you enjoyed the Garden Tour. Following afternoon tea we invite you to take a short tour of the House.