St John Ambulance Australia, Queensland Annual Awards Celebration
Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St John, Major General John Pearn; Chairman, Reverend Dr Peter Devenish-Meares; State Council President, Dr Vlas Esftathis; distinguished guests; ladies and gentleman.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and extend greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
I was greatly honoured last month to accept the invitation to become Deputy Prior of the Order of St John in Queensland.
In accepting this venerable position, I am deeply conscious of the rich historical traditions of the Order and its proud 132-year record of achievement here in Queensland through St John Ambulance.
I am sure many of you will be familiar with my prior career as a doctor.
What you may not be aware is that I am not the first doctor to become Queensland Governor, nor the first former chief health officer to take on the vice-regal role.
Those honours belong to Sir William MacGregor, a Scottish trained medical practitioner who was chief health officer of Fiji before embarking on his gubernatorial career.
Immediately before arriving in Queensland in 1909, Sir William was Governor of the Canadian province of Newfoundland on the Atlantic coast, where he keenly supported the work of St John Ambulance in providing first aid training to seafarers.
Like Sir William, I am very pleased to continue the proud tradition of vice-regal support for St John Ambulance, especially as throughout my own career I have been acutely aware of the important role the organisation plays in providing first aid, health care and other support services throughout the State, especially during times of natural disaster.
The organisation would not be able to undertake its important work without its small army of volunteers.
I am therefore particularly grateful to be presenting long-service awards today – including to six volunteers who have each contributed 50 or more years of remarkable service!
As Governor, I thank and congratulate you all.
You are all truly inspirational Queenslanders, demonstrating the power of working together to achieve common goals for the benefit of humanity.
Graeme and I very much look forward to speaking to many of you throughout the course of the day, and to many more opportunities over the next five years to acknowledge the important work of St John Ambulance. Thank you.