Tattersall’s Club International Women’s Day Lunch
President of Tattersall’s Club, Mr Michael Paramor and CEO, Mr Simon Proctor; Dean of the Consular Corps of Queensland, Mrs Irina Bruk; Consul of the Republic of Korean, Mr Hanjin Bae; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and extend greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
I am delighted that my first visit to Tattersall’s Club as Governor is for this significant International Women’s Day luncheon.
I thank Mr Proctor for the kind invitation to address you all.
Ever since the Tattersall’s Club was formed, initially as the Queensland Turf Club, back in the 1860s, Queensland Governors have been involved in many of its major milestones.
Our State’s first Governor, Sir George Bowen, was the Queensland Turf Club’s founding Patron from 1865.
When the Turf Club transformed into Tattersall’s Club in 1883, the recently arrived Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, became an enthusiastic attendee of its signature annual race days at Eagle Farm.
And when these impressive Clubrooms facilities were added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992, Queensland’s first woman Governor, Leneen Forde, was a regular visitor to the Club.
Ms Forde’s speeches from that period suggest she took great delight in addressing the well-attended annual ‘Governor’s Dinners’, frequently boasting of her ability to pick winners at the track!
That is not a skill, by the way, shared by all Queensland Governors!
But I am delighted to be the vice-regal representative in Queensland as the Club celebrates another milestone – hosting one of the first International Women’s Day events since full Club membership was extended to women.
I was encouraged to learn from Mr Proctor that around 40% of all new Club members in recent years are female.
This seems to me to be a vindication of the rule change, and is consistent with the Club’s stated aim to embrace all ages, genders and backgrounds, with a broad and diverse membership base drawn from across business, government, sport, arts and culture.
Being able to enjoy the wonderful amenities of these Clubrooms in central Brisbane, in like-minded company, has long been a powerful motivator of membership.
But I also know Club members are united by their deep concern for the plight of their fellow Queenslanders, especially those who have suffered terribly from recent flooding.
I thought I would finish my address today with some reflections on remarkable Queenslanders who aren’t always front at centre at these types of events.
In January this year, following landfall of ex-tropical cyclone Seth, several hundreds of millimetres of rain were recorded in gauges in the hills to the north-west of Gympie, and near Maryborough and parts of the Wide Bay.
Graeme and I toured flooded-affected communities, including Goomeri, Kilkivan and Tansey, west of Gympie, last month.
Under the eaves of a wooden community hall in the isolated farming community of Booubyjan, just north of Goomeri, we listened to stories of utter devastation – raging torrents which flattened fences, drowned livestock, inundated properties and, sadly, claimed lives.
I distinctly recall one couple who told me they had 19 kilometres of fences to repair, after a whole hillside collapsed into a creek and washed over paddocks.
Another woman recalled the anguish of watching a failed rescue attempt on her property after a vehicle was swept into the rapids.
Shockingly, for the second time in as many months, some of these communities flooded again last week along with so much of South East Queensland.
What people all over the State have gone through – are going through – is heartbreakingly sad.
But is also, at times, inspiring.
The absolute positivity people have shown in accepting disaster and getting on with the recovery is amazing.
And so, on this International Women’s Day, I particularly acknowledge those women who may not have time to pause and attend breakfasts and luncheons today – but women who are pillars of strength in their communities, and are leading the efforts to rebuild and reconnect their communities after these devastating floods.
The wider Queensland community is immensely grateful to them.
I know that is a sentiment shared here today by Club members and attendees. Thank you all for the generous hospitality, and I sincerely hope this occasion will become a mainstay of the Club’s annual calendar.