Saturday, 12 November 2022

Rod and I are very pleased to join you today to take part in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Commemorative Tree Planting.

This is our second visit to Lot50K.

Earlier this year we were privileged to spend the morning here with Gavin and Karl, learning about the indigenous and non-indigenous history and stories of the land, and the renewal activities taking place.

Our visit taught us about the principles of cultural mapping, which we plan to undertake on Lot 1 North Terrace, the land upon which Government House sits.

Today, as I stand on this land, I am struck by the quiet ambition of what is happening here.

What is, in many ways, a modest project, has profound implications for our society in terms of reconciliation, interculturalism, indigenous biodiversity and environmental sustainability – a microcosm of what might be achieved on a larger scale.

Lot 50K demonstrates how South Australians of indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds can work together in mutual respect to honour the truth of the past, and move forward together.

It shows us how to honour the land, rather than simply seeing it as a resource, and helping non-indigenous people understand the deep spiritual connection that springs from that.

And it provides a practical model for land regeneration, where South Australians can learn step-by-step what it takes to heal our landscape and restore its natural balance.

Today we have gathered to take part in this regeneration, planting the first 30 of 500 trees and shrubs of the 2023 planting season here at Lot50K.

It is a privilege for Rod and me today to plant River Redgums in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marked earlier this year.

Her Majesty was of course a tireless advocate for the regenerating through tree planting, particularly through the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation programmes throughout the 54 countries of the Commonwealth.

River redgums, native to the area and with their own ‘majestic’ presence once full grown, are the perfect tree to honour the Queen’s Jubilee on this land.

I congratulate Lot50K on its strong history of regenerative planting.

Since 2015, 8000 seedlings have been planted to re-establish indigenous biodiversity, an outstanding achievement which is beginning to bear fruit.

I thank Gavin, Karl and their supporters for their commitment to promoting the health and biodiversity of the area, and for overcoming the challenges involved in restoring multiple ecosystems, including reed swamp, remnant sedge lands, and grassy woodland.

I also thank them for planting with a view to carbon sequestration, and taking personal responsibility for what they can do to address climate change.

Friends, as Gavin also noted in his speech, we gather today near to an ancient River Redgum that is estimated to be 350 years old.

This tree has witnessed much during its life, and with a life expectancy of 700 years, will see much more.

May this tree – and the others we plant today – bear witness to continued regeneration and celebration of this land, and the joy, understanding and satisfaction it brings to its custodians and visitors.