Scribblers Event – Presentation of the 2023 Bedford Journal
Scribblers Vice-President, Ms Inger Kelly; today’s hostess, Ms Di Tinkler; Secretary, Mrs Lou Robson; Editor of The Bedford Journal, Ms Christine Wells; Scribblers Executive and members; thank you ladies for the warm 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 today.
Good morning to you all and thank you for inviting me to join you today for this annual event, and for the presentation of the 2023 Bedford Journal.
It is my privilege to be a Patron of Scribblers. And what a marvellous history the group has, stretching right back to 1911. It is thanks to the strong founding women and their principles and philosophies, and to those curious, interesting and intelligent women who have come after, that Scribblers still exists in this form in 2023. Bravo!
To be female back when the Theta Literary Society (a year later to become Scribblers) was established in Queensland was not quite what it is to be a woman today. However, whilst the women who comprised this group were purportedly married to quite important men of the times, they understood their own important roles in advancing social and intellectual pursuits for women, and with other women who shared the same scholarly thoughts and contemplations.
They too needed an intellectual outlet, just as their husbands did, and this saw them turn their hands to creative presentations, poetry and other literary activities.
The female social elite of Brisbane long ago, especially the ‘Queen of higher art and taste’1, the first President of Scribblers, Mary Elkington, knew the power and reach of words. They were indeed social and intellectual forces in their own right.
The joy of presenting papers about many a favoured topic including life circumstances, family reminiscences and travel affairs, the sharing of original poetry amongst the group – for both light-hearted and more serious purposes, and the collegial and warm nature of the relationships between the women meant that this literary society was to remain strong and cohesive into the future, taking on new members and expanding the group to a larger number.
Today, the women gathered on this lovely occasion, here on university grounds, are testament to that original purpose.
It is just so wonderful that the contributions made by the members of the Scribblers group have been, and to continue to be preserved and held in the John Oxley Library here in Brisbane for others to read and enjoy.
Today, we applaud the efforts of those women who came before, who showed character and purpose.
I also commend you for continuing this excellent tradition and for adding flavour and finesse to their legacy.
My sincere congratulations on this year’s edition of The Bedford Journal.