Her Excellency delivering a speech at the Australian Institute of International Affairs, June 22, 2022.

Vice Regal Guidelines

There are certain procedures which are normally observed during an occasion to which the Governor has been invited or is hosting.  Government House has prepared the following guide for anyone who may require an understanding of South Australian Protocols.

There are certain procedures which are normally observed during an occasion to which the Governor has been invited, or is hosting. Government House has prepared the following guide for anyone who may require an understanding of South Australian Protocols.

The Governor’s full style and title is: Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia.

When first presented to the Governor it is customary to address her as “Your Excellency” and, from then on, as “Ma'am” or “Governor”. The Governor’s husband is addressed as “Mr Bunten” or "Sir" at all times. Place cards for tables or seats read “Her Excellency” and “Mr Bunten”.

The Governor's diary is usually formulated three months in advance.

If you wish to invite the Governor to attend your function (or request the Governor to host an event at Government House), please send your request in writing including the following information:

  • Date and time of the function (including the start and envisaged finish times)
  • Venue
  • Type of function (Official Opening of Conference; Christmas Cocktail Reception; Anniversary Dinner; School Speech Night etc)
  • Provide an overview of your organisation
  • The Governor’s role at the event, including if a speech is required
  • The invitation must be signed by a senior member of the organisation, ie President, Chairman, Chief Executive.

Once an invitation has been accepted, details concerning an organisation’s function or event should be supplied to the Office of the Governor at least two weeks before the scheduled date. This information is used to provide a detailed brief for the Governor.

A member of the Protocol Team will send a document to be completed by the organisation’s Event Coordinator.

Detailed information, including the arrival time and location, names and official positions of people who will be presented to the Governor, seating plan, and an Order of Proceedings is required to be submitted after an invitation has been accepted.

A copy of the Governor’s brief will normally be sent by the staff at Government House to Event Organisers before the function.

Requests for the Governor to make a speech should be indicated in the initial invitation. Unless it has been agreed at the time of accepting an invitation, the Governor will not speak at a function.

Where a speech has been agreed, material to assist in the preparation of the speech must be provided by the date specified.

It is preferable that the Governor speaks first.

If there are to be other speakers, it is important that Government House is advised of the subject matter in order to avoid repetition.

The Governor and Mr Bunten will usually arrive by car and make every endeavour to arrive on time. The host for their function should greet the Governor and Mr Bunten at the car upon arrival.

Often it is appropriate to present other people connected with the event such as Members of Parliament, executive office holders, principal guests and dignitaries to the Vice Regal party before the Governor moves to the stage, dais or table. The presentation should be undertaken at a convenient space such as a hall or room near the point of arrival and should ideally be no more than eight people.

At events held during office hours, the Governor will normally be attended by an Aide. An Honorary Aide-de-Camp will accompany the Governor to events held on evenings and weekends. The Aide acts as an on-the-spot facilitator and assists the Governor and event organisers as required.

At functions, organisations are asked to direct all queries regarding arrangements, media or photographs to the Aide, not the Governor.

The Vice Regal Salute is the first four and last four bars of “Advance Australia Fair”.

It is customary to play the Vice Regal Salute to mark the arrival of the Governor at ceremonial and formal functions, such as opening ceremonies, award ceremonies, formal dinners and major receptions.

It may also be appropriate to play the Vice Regal Salute for theatre performances and concerts if it is a gala occasion, an opening night performance, or a Church service if the Governor is participating in a special part of the service.

Care should be taken, in consultation with Government House staff, to ensure that the Vice Regal Salute is not played until Her Excellency and Mr Bunten are in the correct position, e.g. at their chairs, at the table, or on the dais.

The Vice Regal Salute may be played live on musical instruments or using a recording over an adequately amplified speaker. Government House can provide a CD or MP3 recording of the Vice Regal Salute if requested.

When the Australian National Anthem is played, it is unlikely that the Vice Regal Salute is also played.

When sitting on a stage or dais at a conference or on ceremonial occasions, the Governor and Mr Bunten are seated together next to the host or the person presiding. Ideally, the Governor should be seated on the host’s right hand side, and Mr Bunten to the Governor’s right.

The Governor is attended by an Aide, who should be seated near and in sight of the Governor, but not at the official table. Where the function is a Church service, the Governor and the Aide or Honorary Aide-de-Camp should occupy the front right hand pew.

A floor plan and seating plan is to be provided to Government House with the Event Briefing Information Sheet.

It is not necessary to offer toasts at functions attended by the Governor. If there is to be toast in the proceedings, the Loyal Toast, “The King”, should be offered first. The Loyal Toast should be offered immediately before dessert, or before the last course of a meal, just prior to tea and coffee service.

The toast is always offered as:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand for the Loyal Toast", (wait for all to stand). “The King.”

Photographs may be taken at the event; however it is preferable to advise Government House as to whether official photographs will be taken prior to the event.

Organisations are encouraged to provide Government House with digital copies of official photographs taken at events which may be considered suitable for display on the Government House website, or the Governor of South Australia’s Instagram or Facebook page.

Receptions are held at Government House to mark special occasions of significance for community and not‑for-profit groups or to promote South Australia.

It is important not to think of Government House as a venue at which your organisation holds or hosts a reception. Invitations to receptions are issued personally by Her Excellency the Governor and Mr Bunten and, as such, they are the hosts. Receptions at Government House follow a prescribed format to maintain a look and feel which is consistent and commensurate with the dignity of the office of Governor. This format includes one speaker only from the organisation concerned, speaking for a maximum of 3 minutes, and Government House staff announcing awards and reading citations. It is not usually possible to accommodate additional speakers or performances.

You are encouraged to consider whether the foregoing is suitable to your organisation’s needs before proceeding and should have no embarrassment or concern about withdrawing your request if not.

Receptions are generally scheduled for an hour on a weekday in the early evenings, or at other times by negotiation. Government House provides all hospitality (drinks and refreshments).

A lead time of at least 10 weeks will enable the development of well-considered guest lists, the dispatch of invitations, entrée cards and time for responses.

On most occasions guests are standing, although seating can be provided for the infirm or aged.

The preferred duration of formalities is 10 to 20 minutes maximum to ensure there is adequate time for the Governor and Mr Bunten to mingle.

Unfortunately, parking in the grounds of Government House is not available for receptions.

Guests requiring disability parking are requested to let the Protocol Officer know when responding to the Governor's invitation via email.

The Governor of South Australia has eight Honorary Aide-de-Camp who are responsible for assisting the Governor and Government House Adelaide team with formal procedures, such as receiving, presenting and farewelling guests at official calls, receptions, luncheons and dinners.

Honorary Aide-de-Camp also have a special role in Investiture Ceremonies, where they present the insignia to the Governor, who then invests the recipient.

The Governor of South Australia’s Honorary Aide-de-Camp are made up of representatives from the Navy, the Australian Army, the Air Force and South Australia Police.

They are also called upon to represent the Governor on official and ceremonial occasions, including attending services or greeting Heads of State or senior dignitaries on the Governor’s behalf.

Government House has no inbuilt facility to illuminate the building in different colours and is thus unfortunately unable to entertain requests to so, for example to mark commemorative days or anniversaries.

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