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20 August, 2020

Western Queensland resilience the pride of the State

THE ENDURING positivity of Western Queensland was recognised this week as His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, began his sweeping three-day tour of the region on Monday.

By Edwina Watson

School pride...His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland helped present afternoon tea awards at his home school

THE ENDURING positivity of Western Queensland was recognised this week as His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, began his sweeping three-day tour of the region last week.

Drought advocacy and intrastate tourism topped the agenda as His Excellency travelled more than 3600km visiting Birdsville, Winton and Longreach to attend some 18 events.

“Many forget that 70 per cent of Queensland is still drought declared,” His Excellency said.

“Even as the dry continues and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic cause widespread upheaval and uncertainty, this is a vibrant and stoic community.

“Other Queenslanders sense this when they visit, too. It is a part of your gift to the State,” His Excellency said.

The Governor arrived to Longreach on Wednesday and said his pride as a former resident had never waned.

“In fact, it has increased with each subsequent visit — as Chief Justice, and now four times as Governor,” His Excellency said.

“It is a great honour to be back in Longreach.

“My enduring observations are of a proud town, and a people whose lives are richly lived,” His Excellency said.

This was the third regional visit the Governor had undertaken since Covid-19 restrictions permitted intrastate travel in Queensland. His Excellency undertook a three-day road trip up the Bruce Highway from Townsville to Cairns last week-end and a visit to south-west Queensland in June.

The Governor said he arrived in Birdsville on Monday and enjoyed meeting all four students of the Birdsville State School, visiting local businesses and the iconic Birdsville Hotel. His Excellency watched the sun set across the Simpson Desert and encouraged even more Queenslanders to trek west for their holidays, with the State once again under lockdown.

“If there is hoping to be had in this awful pandemic, it’s that many more Queenslanders will venture out here to sense this for themselves,” His Excellency said.

“I have already heard of some green shoots in this respect.”

In Winton, on Tuesday, the Governor visited St Patrick’s Catholic School and major tourist drawcards, including the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and the Winton Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum.

On Wednesday, the Governor toured the Qantas Founders Museum to celebrate the airline’s centenary year, and hosted a community luncheon at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.

The Governor also returned to his alma mater, Longreach State School, where his mother and father both worked as teachers and where he attended as a young boy.

His Excellency said the visit felt like coming home.

“Sadly, my school days are distant. However this place still holds special memories for me,” His Excellency said.

At a Special Assembly, the Governor told students that he never could have imagined at their age being appointed Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Queensland.

“As I grew older, attended university and followed a career in the law, I learned one of the most important things that you can do in life is to try,” His Excellency said.

“Try to do your best, try out different things, and try to find where you belong.

“Every time you try something new, you learn more about yourself,” His Excellency said.

The School’s Year One class was lucky to hear the Governor read the story of the Vice-Regal Dog, Gavel, who tried out all sorts of jobs before finally succeeding in his role at Government House.

At the close of his tour at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, the Governor said it had been an immense privilege to chart Longreach’s progress through his many interactions with its people.

“While the numbers have been sadly capped at these events by the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, know that you, and the wonderful organisations you represent, have my full support through this most difficult time,” His Excellency said.

“Thank you, on behalf of all Queenslanders, for all you do to advance this very special place.”


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