Reception in Support of the 2022 Royal Queensland Show
Representing the Premier, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, the Honourable Mark Furner MP; Federal Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disasters and Emergency Management, the Honourable David Littleproud MP; Representing the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Sandy Landers; Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mr Anthony Perrett MP; Director-General, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Robert Gee APM; President of the RNA the Honourable Justice David Thomas and RNA Council Members; Distinguished Guests, welcome.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
The Ekka reception here at Fernberg is a much-anticipated feature of the annual calendar at Government House, and Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you this evening. Not only is this the first Ekka reception we have hosted; it’s the first time Government House has been able to mark this occasion since 2019 – a double cause for celebration.
As Patron of the RNA, I am proud that the Ekka has not lost its spirit during the three-year COVID hiatus.
This iconic Queensland event has been cancelled only twice before – in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu epidemic, and in 1942 when the grounds were used as a military staging depot. On behalf of all Queenslanders, I sincerely thank the RNA Council, executive, staff and sponsors for their commitment to this Queensland treasure, and congratulate them on their innovative thinking and adaptability which has ensured its survival.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Association on a significant milestone reached last year, but one that was given scant attention amid the COVID chaos – the 100th anniversary of being granted the ‘royal’ prefix under warrant from King George V.
That connection to the monarchy was strong from the very beginning and was celebrated long before the Exhibition received its ‘royal’ warrant in 1921. In 1887, the Exhibition marked Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee; 10 years later it celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. With the rest of the Empire, the Association mourned Queen Victoria’s death and celebrated the coronations of Edward VII and George V.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and this year, to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years of service, the Association has added a special class to the Cake Decorating Competition – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration Cake. Having had the opportunity to inspect the marvellous entries this week, I implore you to make sure it’s at the top of your list of things to see and do at the Ekka this year!
In just four years’ time, the Ekka’s connection with the monarchy will have been sustained with pride for 150 years, and I have no doubt the Association will continue to honour that connection well into the future. As a symbol of that enduring tie, I am very pleased this evening to present the Association with a Certificate of Vice-Regal Patronage.
Graeme and I are looking forward to joining our fellow Queenslanders at the Ekka on “People’s Day” and wish the Association well for a successful celebration of the productivity of regional and rural Queensland.