Royal Queensland Art Society 135th Anniversary Afternoon Tea
State Member for Moggill, Dr Christian Rowan MP; Royal Queensland Art Society President, Mr Brent O’Neill and Vice-Presidents, Ms Margaret Thomas and Mr Boyd Craig; committee members, volunteers; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend my respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
I am so delighted – finally! – to welcome you here at Fernberg to mark the 135th anniversary of the Royal Queensland Art Society and to congratulate you on the launch your newest publication, Journeys in Art. My husband Graeme had hoped to join us, but is unfortunately unwell, so sends his apologies.
For a society which has proudly carried the ‘Royal’ title since it received patronage from George the Fifth in 1926, it was somewhat poignant that the celebration planned for September had to be postponed because it coincided with the Memorial Day for his granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth the Second.
But, happily, it has been possible to reschedule the event and, as Patron, proudly representing our new sovereign, King Charles the Third, I thank you for your patience as we worked through that process.
Since my swearing in as Governor (one year ago yesterday in fact), it has been a great pleasure for me to open both the RQAS Fellows’ Exhibition last December and the Biennial in August. It has also been an honour to present the Society with a Certificate of Patronage, symbolic of my support as the representative of our Sovereign.
Both Graeme and I take our Vice-Regal patronages very seriously because they enable us to encourage and recognise the Queenslanders who make such an enormous contribution to our State through their efforts as committed volunteers.
It was because of that volunteer effort, over a century ago, that the predecessor of the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art was established. That same sustained effort also produced Thorns and Petals in 1988 and has more recently led to the release of Journeys in Art – yet another superb example of what determination and persistence can produce.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I congratulate and thank the Society’s management committee, branches, fellows, members and volunteers, especially its author, Mr Boyd Craig, for recognising the importance of recording the history of this organisation.
It was a pleasure to provide a foreword for a publication that not only celebrates the Society’s successes but does not shy away from hard truths or sugar-coat the Society’s sometimes difficult history.
I’m also very excited that some of your members’ artworks will soon hang here at Government House, showcasing not only the extraordinary talent of RQAS members, but also the stunning landscapes of Queensland, including some of the areas that Graeme and I have visited personally.
It now gives me great pleasure, as Patron, to wish the Society a very happy 135th anniversary and invite you now to please enjoy a delicious Government House afternoon tea.