Tuesday, 12 December 2023

Reception to thank Government House supporters

Rod and I are pleased to welcome you to Government House this festive season.

Thank you for your support of Government House operations, and my and Rod’s program, in 2023.

Behind the execution of the Governor’s constitutional, ceremonial and community duties, as well as the maintenance of the house and garden, is the hard work of hundreds of South Australian professionals and volunteers.

The seamless nature of operations at Government House is, in large part, thanks to the skill, passion and dedication of our guests this evening.

It is because of you that Government House is able to fulfil its obligations within the machinery of government, while also providing thousands of South Australians with the chance to be celebrated for their contributions to our society.

This year, Rod and I are especially proud of the opportunities created for the public to visit Government House and engage in a range of activities. 93,000 people this year at our last count earlier this month.

Our two Open Days, celebrating His Majesty the King’s Coronation and in conjunction with the Nature Festival, attracted thousands of visitors to learn more about the house’s function and the role of the Governor.

Over 68,000 people viewed “Into the Light”, the video work displayed on the Government House façade as part of the Illuminate Festival and telling the story of well-known South Australian women.

The Lunch on the Lawns initiative has seen a wide cross section of city workers, families, and students of all ages enjoying their lunch in the grounds while listening to a talented community band or orchestra.

I was pleased to see the public embrace the inaugural Governor’s Winter Conversation Series, a free series of talks where I engaged some of South Australia’s prominent leaders and thinkers on topics of importance to our state’s wellbeing.

Both of these initiatives take place on the first Friday of the month, and we would love to see you come along to one, or both, next year.

A special thanks must go the Government House volunteer guides and guides from the Botanic Guides of Adelaide who regularly take tours of the house and garden for school groups, community groups and the general public.

When I’m out and about in the community, I hear regularly from people who’ve taken a tour and recall the experience fondly.

As Governor, I have several priority areas for my term. This year, I am grateful to have progressed these with the expert assistance of Government House staff, led by my Official Secretary Hugh Borrowman, and our partners in the community.

In terms of international engagement, I was pleased to travel to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Korea to strengthen our state’s ties in trade and education, and I thank the Department of Premier and Cabinet for its support on these visits.

Closer to home, Rod and I have welcomed the opportunity to engage with our state’s innovation districts at Lot 14 and Tonsley, as well as with small to medium businesses on regional visits around our state.

I thank all the local councils, businesses and community groups who have hosted my visits.

I thank the Department for Education and South Australian schools for their engagement with our civics and citizenship goals, welcoming Rod and me into their communities, and continuing to generate large numbers of entries for the Governor’s Civics Awards.

In pursuit of gender equality, I thank our guests and partners who made our International Women’s Day breakfast a success.

In terms of leadership, I thank the many organisations which have invited me take part in numerous initiatives that are educating the current and emerging leaders in our state.

Work in support of reconciliation has also continued, and it has been Rod’s and my privilege to build engagement with the First Nations people of our community through travel to the APY Lands, attendance at community events, as well as hosting students and community leaders at Government House.


Somehow, in the blink of an eye, we have reached the end of the year.

In some ways it has flown past – I’m confident many of you would feel the same – yet 2023 has seen progress on many fronts.

I am heartened by the role Government House has played in supporting South Australia to achieve its goals, and celebrating the individuals and organisations who make meaningful contributions to making our state a truly excellent place to live and work.

Rod and I wish you all a joyful and restful Christmas and New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2024 as we continue to work together for the advancement of South Australia.

Coming events