Monday, 13 November 2023
Reception for the Australiana Fund
I am delighted to welcome you to Government House, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Australiana Fund.
While Government House was unable to host a reception to time with last year’s AGM in Adelaide due to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I appreciate that many of you visited to sign the condolence books.
Today we celebrate the key role that the Fund has played over 45 years in capturing the nation’s history and creativity.
By acquiring and curating a collection of significant artistic works that tell the story of us - and by displaying them in Australia’s four official residences of the Governor‑General and the Prime Minister - high level international visitors and members of the public can learn about and engage with our rich heritage and culture.
A heritage and culture that has many facets; facets that change over time; but facets which always reflect our sense of place and our aspirations as a nation.
The collections in these four residences that the Australiana Fund has built through generous fundraising, philanthropy and acquisition tell our evolving national narrative.
In my former career, I have been privileged, through accompanying visitors and delegations to these residences, to witness the positive impact the quality of the art and the stories the pieces tell, can make.
The stories can engender a deeper understanding and perspective about Australia and Australian life: from our ancient Indigenous heritage, through our Colonial past, Federation, and modern Australia, including the immigrant experience.
Here at Government House, Rod and I have worked closely with the Art Gallery of South Australia to use the art works and objects on display to encourage conversations and reflections on the Australian story in all its richness.
For example, in the State dining Room, you will see both traditional European and contemporary Indigenous landscape representation juxtaposed in works by James Ashton and Sally Gabori.
Or in the entrance foyer of the historic east wing of Government House, you will see two modern abstract paintings by Aboriginal artists proudly displayed.
Barrie Goddard and Kudditji Kngwarreye through their works Flinders Series: Moolooloo Movement and My Country, both explore interactions of colour and light to reflect a sense of vast country.
They do so within what was the main entranceway to the original wing, in which is situated a couch that arrived on the Buffalo, the vessel that brought Governor Hindmarsh to South Australia in 1836.
In each of these artistic interactions, stories about us come together.
As Governor I encourage all Australians to know and appreciate our history in all its dimensions and congratulate the Australiana Fund and the South Australian Members on their role in achieving this more widely.
We should be proud that South Australian Members of the Australiana Fund – you - have always been ardent supporters of its mission and vision.
Since the Fund’s inception, more than $10 million has been contributed to grow the fund’s contribution to our cultural identity, and I wish the fund well in its quest to raise $5 million over five years in its Anniversary Fund campaign.
I thank you all for your individual and collective efforts to support the Australiana Fund and to ensure its contribution to cultural diplomacy thrives now and into the future.
I have every confidence that the vision of the founder and founding President, Mrs Tamie Fraser will endure.
Thank you for your part in making sure it is so.