Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Presentation of the 2023 JP Thomson Medal - Acting Governor Address
Delivered by Acting Governor the Honourable Chief Justice Helen Bowskill
President, Royal Geographical Society Queensland, Mr John Tasker; Chair of the Honours Committee, Dr David Wadley; JP Thomson Medal recipient, Emeritus Professor Lesley Head; 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.
As Chief Justice and current Acting Governor of Queensland, I am honoured to be here with you today.
It was around 138 years ago when Geographer and public servant James Park Thomson founded the then-Queensland branch of the Geographical Society of Australasia.
I am told that the first recipient of the JP Thomson medal was in 1901, and the receiver was no other than JP Thomson himself!
Since then, many outstanding Geographers have received this notable award and I am pleased to have presented the JP Thomson Medal today to Emeritus Professor Lesley Head.
A well-deserving recipient, Professor Head's research has helped deepen our understanding of the complex interactions between human societies and the environment.
Her research emphasises how cultural, social, and political factors have shaped our understanding of our natural surroundings; and how human presence has changed the world around us.
The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland, as you know, plays a vital role in shaping our understanding of the world. Through research and study, they shed light on critical issues such as climate change and the impact of human activity.
However, it is not just their research that makes their work so important.
It is, too, their commitment to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the wider community.
Through lectures, day trips, advocacy, and photo competition, they inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to take an interest in the world around them.
To the RGQS voluntary Council and members, thank you for helping to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world for all through your passion.
To Professor Head, congratulations once more, I look forward to hearing your oration – another great example of sharing knowledge to create a better understanding of our world and, too, a deeper appreciation for our Country’s beauty and the importance of protecting it for future generations.