Girls from Oz and Australian Girls Choir Morning Tea
25th Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, 24th Governor of Queensland and Patron of Girls from OZ, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO; Girls from OZ Chair, Ms Nicole Muir, Girls from Oz participants and members of the Australian Girls Choir; host parents; distinguished guests; 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 all First Nations people with us this morning, including the Girls from Oz participants from the communities of Lockhart River and Kowanyama.
I’m delighted that you’ve all been able to join me for this special morning tea here at Government House to celebrate the achievements of Girls from Oz and the Australian Girls Choir.
Next year, the Australian Girls Choir will celebrate its fortieth birthday.
In the four decades since Judith Curphey established the choir in Melbourne with 150 girls and herself as the only tutor, we’ve seen the number of choristers grow to six thousand. We’ve also seen additional choirs established in Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Sydney and here in Brisbane, and have shared their pride as the choir has earned global recognition and respect through their performances, including 39 international tours.
But one of the most exciting developments came in 2010 when The Australian School of Performing Arts made the decision to establish the Girls from Oz program.
Girls from Oz quickly forged a place in the Australian cultural landscape and in our hearts, and I am particularly pleased that Dame Quentin Bryce, as Patron, has been able to join us this morning.
As we all know, Dame Quentin is a life-long advocate for Australians living in rural and remote areas, and it was thanks to her encouragement that the Girls from Oz program first expanded from Western Australia to Queensland’s Cape York seven years ago.
That extension has not only inspired and motivated the young Queensland women who join us today from Lockhart River and Kowanyama; it has demonstrated to us all that tangible educational, employment and personal development opportunities can flow from engagement in the performing arts. It has also shown us that it is not just the girls themselves who benefit, but also their communities.
This is a special week for many in this room, with the annual Australian Girls Choir concerts at QPAC on Sunday – and I am so looking forward to attending the evening performance – and an exciting Travel Program for the Girls from Oz.
I take this opportunity to thank the generous supporters and industry partners who make these experiences possible, including the host families who are providing a home-stay experience for the girls during their visit to Brisbane.
I also congratulate the management and staff of The Australian School of Performing Arts, Girls from Oz and the Australian Girls Choir on your many wonderful achievements to date, and wish you continued success.
It is a delight to host you here this morning, and I am so looking forward to hearing you perform together shortly, what a treat!