Reception for Scouts Queensland
Member for Lockyer, Mr Jim McDonald MP; Member for Bundamba, Mr Lance McCallum MP; Member for Cooper, Ms Jonty Bush MP; Scouts Queensland Chief Commissioner, Mr Geoff Doo; Branch President, the Honourable Jane Prentice and the Scouts Queensland Branch Team; members and supporters; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, welcome.
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.
As Governor and as Chief Scout in Queensland, I warmly welcome you to Government House, a building that only just predates the beginnings of the scouting movement in this State.
As most of you would be well aware, scouting first came to Queensland in August 1908, when four young men started Patrols of Scouts.
They were Charles Smethurst Snow, who operated a Patrol in Kangaroo Point, Lesleigh John Williams, who operated a Patrol in Bowen Hills, and later in New Farm, Leonard Lovejoy, who operated a Patrol in Ashgrove, and Septimus Davies, who operated a Patrol in Toowong.
While these four men initially operated their Patrols in isolation, in 1909 they came together to establish the Scouts Brigade, and from there, scouting spread rapidly throughout Brisbane and regional Queensland.
Of course, Queensland Scouts have enjoyed a close association with Governors of this State since 1909 when the Scouts Brigade, under the direction of Mr Snow, formed a guard of honour for the arrival of our eleventh governor, Sir William MacGregor, in Brisbane.
From the perspective of someone who now works and resides at the historic Fernberg Estate and having looked back through old photographs from this period, I know that Brisbane would have seemed a dauntingly spread-out place in which to coordinate any kind of activity, let alone throughout the whole of Queensland.
What ambition these young men must have possessed. And what foresight!
Because of course the movement they founded, Scouts Queensland, is today a vast – yet entirely cohesive – group of Patrols.
Membership of your Youth Program alone stands at over 13,000.
And scouting exists in some form in hundreds of communities across Queensland, and according to the most recent figures, Scouts Queensland could count on the support of over 3,000 adult volunteers.
These are large numbers, yet numbers don't tell the whole story.
I have had many opportunities as Chief Scout to observe how important scouting is to the development of strong, resilient individuals, and how this helps to form more cohesive communities.
And Scouts have opportunities like few others their age to exercise initiative, take on leadership roles, and develop new skills and expertise.
There are, of course, many hours of fun and adventure along the way.
I am regularly able to witness this spirit of fun in person, with invitations to various scouting events, such as the Agoonoree Camp, the Leap23 Patrol and the delightful Brisbane Gang Show.
It's indeed a pleasure to return the favour and host you here at Government House.
Please enjoy the hospitality, and Graeme and I look forward to catching up with as many of you as we can during the evening.