Saturday, 16 October 2021

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to Government House.

It is my great pleasure to host you today in my new capacity as Deputy Prior of St John Ambulance in South Australia.

I am very pleased this position has been officially endorsed by the London offices and our Prior, the Governor-General, and I look forward to being invested ceremonially at a later time.

Every time I meet St John volunteers I am deeply impressed by their passion for their work, their dedication to serving the community, and their level of knowledge and skill.

Our daughter Katherine was a cadet and then first responder for St John for several years, both in South Australia and the ACT, which she greatly enjoyed.

It is an honour to continue the vice-regal connection between the Governor and St John, which began in South Australia 138 years ago.

Over the years St John volunteers have undertaken a vast array of activities in our state.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly affected the number of public events on our community’s calendar, volunteers have still been out and about at AFL matches, the Christmas Pageant, school sports days and last Sunday here at Government House for our Open Day.

At all times these volunteers are friendly, efficient and ready to help – the sight of a St John’s officer is always a reassuring one for South Australians.

Today, we have gathered to celebrate volunteers and staff who are receiving awards for Staff Service, Community Care, Operations, and Training.

I am reliably informed that the recipients of the long-service awards today have more than 400 years of volunteering between them – an impressive feat!

Despite the pandemic, St John’s has had a strong 2020/21.

More than 550 First Aid volunteers have spent more than 49,000 hours on duty at events, equal to the value of $1.1 million.

1800 primary school students received First Aid in Schools training, and over 300 Community Care volunteers provided support to 350 clients.

These achievements would not be possible without you and many others who are dedicated to the work of St John.

You are the living embodiment of the St John motto, which translates as “for the faith and in the service of humanity”.

I would like to acknowledge some key achievements of St John’s over the past 12 months.

One of the most impressive activities has been a rollout of defibrillators, known as the ‘Every Heartbeat Matters’ program.

This three-year program is now complete, with 312 defibrillators in public spaces across regional and remote South Australia.

In May the St John Ambulance SA Museum was re-opened by my distinguished predecessor, the Honourable Hieu Van Le.

I acknowledge the work of the many volunteers of the St John Historical society in sharing the fine history of your organisation with the broader public.

On behalf of all South Australians, my husband Rod and I thank you all for your contribution to St John Ambulance SA.

Congratulations to all of our winners, and I look forward to presenting some awards in just a few moments.

Her Excellency the  Honourable Frances Adamson AC

GOVERNOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA