Sunday, 07 November 2021

Sir Richard Williams RAAF Centenary Celebrations

Good morning everyone.

This is my first visit to South Australia’s Copper Coast as Governor, and Rod and I look forward to getting to know the region’s people, history and indigenous heritage.

A towering important figure in the history of Moonta is, of course, Sir Richard Williams.

Today we have gathered to honour the life of Sir Richard, known as the founding father of the RAAF, and also to celebrate the RAAF centenary.

It’s wonderful to see a number of Sir Richard’s descendants here today.

With proud Cornish heritage, Sir Richard grew up in Moonta before embarking on an impressive career.

The first military pilot trained in Australia, he commanded Australian and British fighter units in World War I before playing a leading role in the establishment of the RAAF.

Moonta is rightly proud to be the birthplace of Sir Richard.

I have been impressed to hear how engaged local people, from right across the community, have been with his story in the lead-up to this event.

The community stepped up to raise more than $90,000 for the statue, supported by funding from the State Government and the Air Force Association.

I thank the Centenary Celebrations Committee and its members, representing the National Trust, RSL and Vietnam Veterans’ Association and more, for their hard work and dedication to today’s festivities.

You have undertaken a whole range of activities, including developing a book on Sir Richard, presenting on his life to many local community groups, and creating a commemorative coin.

I am looking forward to seeing, later today, an art exhibition by local artists inspired by Sir Richard and aviation.

I am told that local school children have been learning about Sir Richard, and that the local writers’ group has also used his story for inspiration.

Congratulations to South Australian artist, Mr Tim Thomson, on being selected to create this sculpture, which will make a striking addition to Queen Square.

I thank RAAF Edinburgh for its support of these celebrations, as well as every person who has volunteered their time and energy to bring this day about.

I wish the people of Moonta a wonderful celebration, to be remembered for years to come.

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC


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