Lockhart River Community Lunch
Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Mayor, Councillor Wayne Butcher and CEO, Mr Dave Clark; Elders; community members one and all, welcome.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to the many proud First Nations people here today.
My husband, Graeme, and I are thrilled to be in Lockhart River—a truly stunning part of our State! Thank you all for your kind welcome.
One of the key pledges I made when sworn in as Governor was to visit Queenslanders where they live, to offer my encouragement and support, and where possible to utilise the knowledge I’ve gathered and experiences I’ve had in my broader role.
Visiting you here, however, also allows me to express my appreciation for the enormous contribution you are each making to the rich cultural diversity of this State.
What has always stood out to me about this region and this community is your fierce determination to maintain your traditions in the face of any challenges you’ve faced.
You have always nurtured a strong cultural identity, supporting and encouraging the fantastic Lockhart River dancers as they perform at festivals and events, and celebrating the exceptional talents of your local artists.
After lunch, we’re really looking forward to visiting the Lockhart River Arts Centre, and discovering more about the famous “Art Gang”, and the “Old Girls”—who have been such trailblazers for this region and whose diverse artworks, along with those of others at the Centre, are highly sought after here and overseas.
And, of course, your enduring connection to the magnificent natural environment of Eastern Cape York is also incredibly important, and I thank you for protecting this special place with ancient knowledge that has survived across the years.
Your focus on the importance of education is close to my heart, as I am passionate about improving literacy in our young people.
Earlier today, I visited the Lockhart River State School to open their new learning building and read from the children’s book we produced about Government House, called A Place for All Queenslanders.
Literacy skills set up children to be lifelong learners, and it makes me so happy to see your precious kids enjoying themselves while reading.
Later today, I’ll be visiting the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which is so crucial to remote communities such as yours. Tomorrow, I’ll meet with your Mayor and Councillors, drop in on the Puuya Foundation of which I am Patron, and Orange Sky, and tour the Health Care Centre.
These are all organisations that help make Lockhart River stronger.
Meeting with you all here will be a highlight of my time as Governor and will influence so much of what I do from here on, so thank you all. We look forward to chatting with you over a cup of tea.