Western Cape College Mapoon Visit
Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Aileen Addo; Western Cape College (Mapoon Campus) Acting Head of School, Ms Lyndall Gibbs; Teachers and staff; Parents and carers; boys and girls.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging and all First Nations people here today.
I’m very excited to have this chance to be here and meet with you all where you live, in this remarkable part of Queensland.
The epic landscapes and vast natural wilderness that people like me call ‘remote’ and ‘outback’, you call your backyard! Lucky you!
It’s difficult for most Queenslanders to imagine, let alone visit for themselves.
Add to this the formidable reputation of Western Cape College as one of the leading schools in the Far North, and it’s a testament to what can be achieved when Queenslanders are offered the same opportunities, no matter where they live.
Of course, today you’re not the only ones learning here in this incredible place. My husband Graeme and I are here to learn too, and I’m sure there is plenty you can teach us!
One of the best parts about being Governor, I think, is meeting students at schools like yours, because every time I visit a Queensland school, I learn so much more about our State and its people.
And every time I meet amazing teachers, staff and students like you, I learn more about what it is to be a Queenslander.
Now, you live in a place many of your fellow Queenslanders would describe as remote, meaning far away from the hustle and bustle, noise and smog of the big cities and towns down south and out east.
But it’s here that I can really get a sense of what Queensland is about, and whom!
Just as the Elders tell us much about where we came from, and keep our rich cultural history alive, you young people tell us much about where we are going and who we are likely to be.
It gives us a little glimpse inside the community it serves.
One look around this room tells me all I need to know about what a wonderful community this is, inside and outside of school.
Now, I realise we have a mix of age groups gathered here.
When I visit schools, I like to introduce the younger children in particular to my little patch of Queensland, Government House, by way of reading from our special children’s book: A Place for All Queenslanders.
It tells the story of the native animals that inhabit the Fernberg Estate, where Graeme and I live, as have many Governors before me.
Squirrel gliders are among the many protected species that have made Fernberg their home.
We’ve given them little boxes to nest in and do our best to protect them from the outside world, meaning cars and feral animals, and even the occasional tourist who wants a close-up!
It may not be written for you older kids so much, but it tells a story, and you’re never too old for a good story, right?
We’ll be reading it to a few of you today, but we’re leaving several copies for your library so if you come across it when you’re browsing, consider it a reminder of our connection as Queenslanders.
Thank you for inviting us to your wonderful school.