Monday, 11 December 2023
Reception for Year 12s under Guardianship
Rod and I welcome you to Government House to celebrate your completion of Year 12 in 2023.
We are very pleased to host you this evening in what is the oldest Government House in Australia.
The ballroom, in which we currently stand, was built in the 1850s.
The timber floor is original – if you look closely you can see 180 years’ worth of heel marks and indentations!
This space has seen thousands of receptions and ceremonies since it was built.
South Australians of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life have come here to celebrate their personal milestones and their important contributions to our community.
Rod and I are pleased that you, too, are now part of this tradition.
Completing your school is one of the most important milestones in our early lives.
It is a turning point that leads us into young adulthood. I remember it well.
You have studied hard and overcome personal challenges.
As you go through life there will be many more milestones and challenges, but your education will be a firm foundation for the future.
Some of you may have clear plans for next year, while others may still be considering which path to take next - whether that’s more study, employment or down time to rest and plan for the future.
When I was your age, I didn’t have a firm idea of what I wanted to do with my life.
I knew I wanted to go to university and began studying economics and law. I soon decided law wasn’t for me and let it go.
After graduating, I went to Canberra to join the Department of Foreign Affairs and this led me to a long career as a diplomat representing Australia all over the world.
Now I have the honour to be Governor.
When I was at school I would never have dreamed this could be possible. It certainly wasn’t on my radar.
I share this with you to show that no-one knows exactly where they will end up. Hopes and dreams change.
The journey has many twists and the road can sometimes make an unexpected turn.
However, at all stages in my life, I discovered the prospects that saying “Yes” when presented with opportunities can bring.
Saying “Yes” to the job that you hadn’t really thought about but will never-the-less bring valuable experience.
Saying “Yes” to volunteering opportunities that enable you to give back to your community and be engaged citizens. It’s a great feeling.
Saying “Yes” to sharing ideas and considering the opinions of others.
You are a group of young people who have overcome obstacles and have much to offer.
You have all been learning since the day you were born and I hope as you further navigate life that you will draw on the experiences you have gained and stay connected with each other and with those who have supported you. Because connections bring strength.
I hope to see you all at Government House again, perhaps at one of our Lunch on the Lawns events over summer and autumn where you can come into the grounds on the first Friday of the month.
Congratulations on completing Year 12. You have laid the foundations now to be what you want to be because it is within you to be who and what you want to be.
Rod and I wish you all the best for the future. Be very proud of what you have done, because we are proud of you.