Order of St John Investiture Ceremony
Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St John, Professor John Pearn AO RFD; St John Ambulance Queensland Board Chair, Reverend Dr Peter Devenish-Meares and fellow Directors; St John Ambulance Australia CEO, Mr Brendan Maher; State Council President, Dr Vlas Esftathis AM; Members of the Order of St John; postulants; 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 any First Nations people here today.
As Governor of Queensland, and representative of His Majesty King Charles the Third in this State, and as Deputy Prior and Dame of Grace of The Order of St John in Queensland, I am honoured to preside over today’s investiture ceremony to welcome new Members to the Order, and to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of those who have served with distinction.
I warmly welcome all awards recipients, your families, friends and fellow Members to Government House.
The formalities of this occasion are important, because, an emphasis on tradition pays tribute to the rich history of a religious order that began in eleventh century Jerusalem—when the first Monks of the Order pledged to care for the sick and poor, regardless of faith.
Over the next 1,000 years—despite ongoing upheaval, threats, attacks and displacement—Members of the Order remained enduringly true to this foundational principle, acting with courage and integrity to help people in need.
And when the Order was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria, as a Royal Order of Chivalry of the British Crown, it gained the right to officially recognise its own Members.
This afternoon, we acknowledge the qualities of compassion and loyalty arising from an ideal that delivers healing, care and support for others, and is expressed most prominently to Queenslanders through the charitable efforts of St John Ambulance and its generous volunteers.
The three new postulants soon to be admitted as Members of the Order have demonstrated selfless commitment for their superior service, and I congratulate you for receiving this honour.
We also celebrate the seven Members who will be receiving special recognition for their dedication to the work of the Order of St John, demonstrating a level of generosity and devotion that goes above and beyond. I commend you for this immense achievement.
You will each be required to maintain a promise of fidelity to the King and the Order, and respect for the four cardinal virtues represented by the arms of the Cross. While the promises you make are solemn, I am sure that the Order offers you strength in its unity, and that the ideals laid down so long ago—and surviving with valour across the centuries—will continue to provide inspiration and generate hope in our complex contemporary world.
Thank you all for your remarkable service to Queenslanders through the work of the Order, and to The Order of St John more generally for always striving to assist so many in our communities in altruistic, yet highly practical ways.
I look forward to meeting you after the ceremony, and hearing more about your contributions.