Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Reception for the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Awards

I am delighted to welcome you all to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award presentation ceremony in my role as Patron of the Award.

It is an honour to do so, just a few weeks after His Royal Highness Prince Edward became the Duke of Edinburgh in the footsteps of his late father His Royal Highness Prince Phillip who founded the awards 67 years ago (1956).

Prince Edward has an enduring relationship with the award, having completed the Gold award himself in 1986 and being a trustee since 1998. For a long time, he has had a keen interest in the scheme’s development of young people.

He is a worthy custodian of his father’s legacy, as evidenced by his engagement with award participants as part of his visit to Australia and Adelaide in 2018 to promote the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

Since inception, more than 775,000 young Australians have undertaken the Award and more than 40,000 participate in activities contributing to the Award each year. Globally more than eight-million young people have benefitted.

That’s an impressive cohort of alumni!

By taking part, you have tested your limits, found your strengths and discovered ways to overcome some of life’s hurdles.

In our ever changing, complex world these learnings will be invaluable in charting your future, where-ever you decide that will take you.

A future that will be shaped by the confidence, valuable skills you have learned and breadth of experiences you have been afforded.

I congratulate the 29 award holders we are honouring today.

The new Duke of Edinburgh’s Award social media campaign: Be your own Champion is well named because all participants have proven to be champions and have good stories to tell.

I was impressed when looking through the list of experiences and residential projects that you have undertaken.

You have done some special things: from volunteering in rural medical clinics to leading a group of young people with disabilities to a Cheer and Dance State Championship …

… immersing yourselves in cultural explorations, conservation projects and leadership experiences …

… from retracing the steps and humbling history of Australian troops in World War II, to embarking on a sustainable tourism project in Kangaroo Island.

These activities are widely different, but there is a common thread.

By taking part you have engaged yourselves in unfamiliar environments with people you may not have met before and returned more knowledgeable and confident than when you left.

You have learned to extend yourselves and say 'Yes, I can do this. Yes, I want to do this.'

I hope you take this spirit of achievement forward and say Yes to many things well into the future, because as future leaders you will have a role to play in shaping our state and nation.

To that end I share with you some thoughts about active citizenship from Her Excellency Caroline Kennedy, the United States Ambassador to Australia.

At this year’s International Women’s Day breakfast in Adelaide she said and I quote: The role of active citizens is to see a better future and work with others to create it.

Thank you for being part of this endeavour.

Each of you have volunteered more than 50 hours to the community while completing the Gold Award.

Please be proud of the contribution you have made to the community through ventures such as mentoring, coaching, school leadership positions, events and fundraising.

I hope the spirit of volunteering will burn bright within you throughout your lives. It is not only vital to building strong communities, but volunteering feels pretty good too.

I encourage you to remain involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award by joining the national alumni, or become award volunteers yourselves, like one volunteer we will honour this afternoon for her support stretching over 14 years.

Achievement isn’t a solitary pursuit and so I thank the volunteers along with the award leaders, school principals, teachers, youth leaders and parents for their support of the scheme. The achievements of these young people would not be possible without that sincere commitment.

I also thank the people who provide the leadership to grow the award in South Australia: Robert Gerard, Peter Kaye, David Sanders for giving of their time, expertise and financial support.

Again, congratulations to the Gold Award recipients.

Be proud of your achievements, which I hope you will use to continue to make a significant contribution to your communities.

Well done!

Coming events