Official Opening of 2023 Royal Queensland Show
Thank you for your kind introduction Justice Thomas. Representing the Premier, Minister Furner MP, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Perrett MP; RNA Councillors and supporters; all our distinguished guests here this evening; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
I thank Shannon Ruska and Tribal Experience for the Welcome to Country, and add my own acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners of these lands, the Jagera and Turrbal peoples. I also pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here this evening.
I am honoured to be officially opening the EKKA this year, for the first time in my official capacity as Governor and Patron of the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, and I take this opportunity to welcome visitors from all over the State, as well as interstate and international guests.
Vice-Regal patronage has been part of the long history of this iconic organisation since it first showcased our State in 1875, just 15 years after the colony of Queensland separated from New South Wales.
Back then, Queen Victoria was our monarch; today, it’s her great-great-great grandson who is our King, and I am proud and pleased to be here today as his Vice-Regal representative and to be part of this grand tradition of the official opening.
The full circuit of the arena by the Mounted Unit of the Queensland Police Service, accompanied by the fine musicians of the 1st Regiment Band – Royal Australian Artillery, is a time-honoured part of the opening each year.
The official opening also provides an annual opportunity for a special ceremonial outing for the Government House Rolls Royce 1972 Phantom.
For more than 50 years, the Phantom has been immaculately prepared for its EKKA appearance. Even during the two pandemic years, in 2020 and 2021, my predecessor as Governor, The Honourable Paul de Jersey, was driven here to the Brisbane Showgrounds in the Phantom for the strawberry sundae drive-through.
For me, those drive-throughs are a perfect symbol of the EKKA. By giving us access to the iconic strawberry sundaes, Dagwood Dogs and Bertie Beetle show bags, they not only helped preserve the EKKA’s essential character but kept the EKKA dream alive for us all as Queenslanders.
The drive-throughs were also a great example of the imaginative ideas, the resilience, initiative, commitment and sheer determination of the RNA and of the thousands of people, throughout the state who make this event possible – the exhibitors, the competitors, the judges, the marshals, the commentators, the sponsors and donors, the entertainers, and the volunteers.
It has been wonderful to see the Queensland Governor’s standard broken above the grandstand for the first time since 2019, and Graeme and I look forward immensely to returning for the Grand Parade on People’s Day.
In the meantime, I congratulate the RNA council, management, staff and volunteers on this year’s event and thank everyone here today for their continued support of this quintessential Queensland event.
It is now my great pleasure to declare the 144th Royal Queensland Show officially open.