Lyceum Club Brisbane Inc. Christmas Morning Tea
President of the Lyceum Club Brisbane, Mrs Cheryl Parkyn and Past President Mrs Coleen Andrews; Members; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, and extend my respectful greetings to their Elders past, present and emerging and to any First Nations people here today.
The Christmas Morning Tea at Brisbane’s Lyceum Club is a one of our city’s longest standing festive traditions and, as your latest Vice-Regal Patron, I am delighted to be attending for the very first time since I was sworn in as Governor, just over a year ago.
Organisations that survive for more than a century are rare, especially with the rapid societal change that has occurred in our lifetimes. The fact Lyceum clubs have continued, all over the world, is testament to the strength and relevance of the vision that drove the establishment of the very first club.
It's now 120 years since young Constance Smedley began her crusade to establish a club for women where they could pursue their interests, enjoy the company of like-minded women, and establish the contacts that could advance their careers.
She and her friends in London were writers who saw no reason why women should not be able to enjoy the benefits that men gained through membership of their exclusive clubs.
It's difficult for us to imagine just how bold a vision that was in 1902. At that time, women in New Zealand and Australia already had the right to vote, but Britain was still decades away from universal suffrage and the simmering discontent of the Suffragettes had begun to boil over.
It was a heady time, so it’s not surprising that Constance and her friends envisaged not just a local meeting place for women, but an international club with branches in all countries of the world and a chain of clubhouses.
That vision has held fast, and Lyceum clubs today remain places where women interested in contemporary issues, science and the arts can embrace lifelong learning and pursue the same goals as the founders.
I am very much looking forward to the performances today, especially to hearing and congratulating the 2022 winner of the Doreen Ord Lyceum Club Prize for Classical Voice, Mr Aidan Hodder, accompanied by Mr Mark Connors.
Thank you once again for your hospitality and warm welcome. I now invite Mrs Cheryl Parkyn to come forward to receive the Certificate of Vice-Regal Patronage.