Reception to mark the Centenary of Rotary in Queensland
Rotary Queensland District Governor, Mr Tim Keeler AM; Rotary Club of Brisbane President, Mr Bruce McNaught; 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.
Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House on what is a significant occasion, marking 100 full years of operations by Rotary in Queensland.
It was only three years after the establishment of Rotary in Australia that the first club was formed in Queensland.
Within five years of that, there were clubs in Rockhampton, Townsville and Mackay, and it’s only grown from there.
A century of helping everyday Queenslanders improve their daily lives is surely something to reflect upon, and take immense pride in.
In that time, Rotary has made significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable, including children living with a disability, women facing poverty and homelessness, victims of flood and drought, the jobless, the vision-impaired, the aged, and the list goes on.
All of this on the backs of Rotarians who donate countless hours of their lives to improving the circumstances of fellow Queenslanders.
However, a recent Gala Dinner in Brisbane, which Graeme and I attended, was themed quite pointedly ‘Next Century’.
To me, this suggests that Rotary is simply unwilling to pause to accept congratulations, much less reflect on past achievements, while there are Queenslanders who remain in need.
This focus on the future is a mark of your dedication and tenacity to balance the ledger for those struggling in an imbalanced world.
As physicians, Graeme and I recognise the importance of Rotary’s broader commitments, such as ridding the world of poliomyelitis, and we commend you for your contributions to this and other broader humanitarian goals.
This evening, I wish to thank and congratulate you for all you have done, and continue to do, for the people of Queensland.
As I consider Rotary’s impact, I am reminded of the words of American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
I think that aptly captures Rotary’s spirit of ‘service above self’.
Thank you, and we hope you enjoy the warm hospitality of Government House.