Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Rod and I are delighted to be with you today.

A few moments ago, we had the great pleasure of witnessing five new Islanders - from Brazil, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand - become Australian citizens.

Congratulations to you all!

I thank you for choosing Kangaroo Island and South Australia as your new home.

You’ve brought with you your culture of origin, as well as skills, knowledge and experience that will be of great benefit to the local community.

No doubt you have been welcomed with open arms, and I wish you all the very best as you continue to build your lives and make your homes here.

This is my second visit to Kangaroo Island since becoming Governor, and the first for Rod.

In April I had the privilege of spending the best part of three days touring the Island in the company of Michael Pengilly and Nicki Putland.

I was struck by the very strong sense of community, the warmth of your hospitality and the stunning landscapes, unchanged from earlier visits as a child and later with our own children.

The resilience and support you have shown one another in the face of recent bushfires has been outstanding, echoing the pioneering spirit of the early settlers on this land.  I was deeply touched by it.

I was also impressed by how local ventures such as the Oyster Farm Shop, Cliffords Honey Farm, Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery, Kangaroo Island Spirits, Cooper Seed Potatoes, Emu Bay Lavender Farm and Dudley Wines are growing their markets.

When the Mayor invited me to return for this ceremony at the Pioneers Memorial and to bring Rod, we needed no persuading!

In 1936 the Governor, Sir Winston Dugan, unveiled this memorial during centenary celebrations.

Today I am pleased to follow in the footsteps of my distinguished predecessor in marking the 186th Settlement Day.

I am aware that many South Australians think of Holdfast Bay or Glenelg as the first settlement in South Australia, when in reality it was Kangaroo Island, a fact that has been acknowledged by the South Australian Parliament.

I thank the Council as well as the Kingscote National Trust and Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association for the work you do to preserve and celebrate the island’s history.  The settlers showed great courage, perseverance, ingenuity and resilience. The stories of their challenges and tribulations and their progress and successes deserve to be told, retold and cherished.

This history is not only of relevance and interest to islanders, but to all South Australians.

I have also read about the indigenous history of Kangaroo Island, something which is also of interest to interstate and overseas visitors.

The existence of shell middens and stone tools demonstrate that Aboriginal people lived on Kangaroo Island many thousands of years ago.

In addition, it is known that some Aboriginal women from Tasmania and the Fleurieu came with sealers to Kangaroo Island, before official settlement.

This created a cross-cultural community with descendants who still live on the island today.

These women taught the men vital skills such as hunting, gathering and tracking which helped to ensure the survival of the pre-settlers.

Stories of these First Australians – as well as countless others around the country – are part of an ancient, rich and enduring culture which deserves to be told and celebrated too, and as Governor I support this.

Earlier this year at Government House we erected a flag deck by our front gate to enable the permanent flying of the national, state, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

We are also embarking on the cultural mapping of our site, to enable the sharing of information and stories that be unknown to current generations of South Australians.

Friends;

In a few moments Miss Opriss Osborne will receive her Young Achiever of the Year award.

Congratulations Opriss!

Your energy and dedication to sports on Kangaroo Island and your participation as a player, coach and umpire exemplifies the community spirit of which I spoke earlier.

You and your family should be very proud!

And so should your community - because a community which knows and marks its history, welcomes and supports new citizens and recognises, nurtures and celebrates the achievements of young leaders is surely a community with a bright future.