The Governor of Victoria's speech at the launch of the 2018 Pacific International Billiards & Snooker Tournament.
The Honourable Wade Noonan MP, representing the Minister for Sport
Mr Paul Cosgriff, Tournament Director and President of the Victorian Billiards and Snooker Association
Ladies and gentlemen
First, I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their elders past and present and to any elders here with us this afternoon.
We are excited to welcome you to Government House to this launch of the 2018 Pacific International Billiards and Snooker Tournament.
The first reference we can find to this magnificent billiard table was in The Argus newspaper of 20 May - in 1876, the year this House was completed.
The Government House Billiard Room was referred to as ‘empty’ - aside from its lamps- but the readers learned that Alcock & Co were measuring and preparing to install one of their best, full sized billiard tables.
Then, in a 1984 survey of Government House’s 19th Century furniture, the billiard table was dated to ‘circa 1870s’ by Terence Lane (then Senior Curator at the NGV).
So, we know that this table has seen 140 plus years of history. And so far as we know, this room has always been used as a billiard room.
One of its distinctive design features is the octagonal timber-lined roof and window, which provides natural light over the billiard table. (Although not enough for serious competition.)
A nice fact is that the famous billiards player, Walter Lindrum – World Professional Billiards Champion from 1933-1950 – was a regular visitor to Government House in his retirement.
You’ll see a photograph – usually on the mantle-piece over there – showing Walter Lindrum playing a game with The Rt Hon Lord Huntingfield KCMG, the 17th Governor of Victoria from 1934 to 1939.
Lindrum also used to visit often to play billiards with our 19th Governor, Sir Dallas Brooks GCMG KCB KCVO DSO, in the 1950’s.
You can also see today a replica of Walter Lindrum’s cue, on display in the State Hall.
Now, this is likely to be the very first time in the history of Government House that the Billiard Room has been used specifically to host an event such as this.
And so, as the proud Patron of the Victorian Billiards and Snooker Association, what a pleasure it is to welcome you here this afternoon for this exhibition to launch the 2018 Pacific International Billiards and Snooker Tournament.
A special welcome to the champion players who have travelled from Singapore, England, India and Western Australia to compete, and of course to our wonderful Victorian players.
May I also thank Mr Paul Cosgriff, Tournament Director and President of the Victorian Billiards and Snooker Association, and his Board, for all their dedicated work in bringing this event to life.
And thank you to George Taylor, and the Alcock team, for their generosity in ensuring that the table was well prepared to host this event.
We hope that you enjoy playing on this historic table, and that you enjoy adding to the history of Government House, and – of course- best of luck for the tournament ahead.
It now gives me great pleasure to invite the Honourable Wade Noonan MP, representing the Minister for Sport, to address us.