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Introduction

A Speech given by the Governor at the Morning Tea for Shrine of Remembrance Volunteers

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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 morning.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House today. We want to celebrate the contribution made by each one of you as Shrine volunteers.

The Shrine of Remembrance has of course been the close neighbour of this House for more than 8 decades.  It has been a strong focus of the work of each Governor of Victoria since then. Each of the thirteen of us since it was officially unveiled in November 1934, have seen it almost daily. We have each visited it frequently. We have led ceremonies and marches there, and laid wreaths on occasions throughout the year, on behalf of all Victorians.

I know that, for my part, within just my first weeks in this role, I found it important to tour the Shrine, to better understand its museum spaces and contemporary uses.

And so, since very shortly after my Inauguration as the Governor,  I came to understand  the central role played by the Shrine volunteers.

I know that, without you, our Shrine couldn’t function. It certainly couldn’t offer the emphasis on education and interpretation that is so essential to this time in history when the major world wars are, thankfully, receding further into  the past.

You, our Shrine volunteers are comprised of both men and women. You are of varying ages, and come from diverse educational, work and life experiences. Indeed, from all different parts of our city.

Thank you - one and all - for the wonderful job that you do.

Without your passion, your time and your energy, the Shrine would not be able to meet the demands of a growing visitor and education program.

In 2017-18 alone, you provided in excess of 14,000 hours, across 363 days. Amongst other things, you assisted with visitor engagement, guided tours, administration, research and the education program delivery. 

Some of you have first-hand experience, having served in the armed forces. Others will have had family members who have served. And some of you have no direct association but have simply stood up to contribute.

Whatever your background, your diversity and varied experiences help create memorable and educational experiences about Australia’s military history and how it has shaped our national identity.

You play an essential role in commemoration. A role that pays respect to our past, and to our present serving personnel, their families and the visiting public. And, I realise that some of you have served for very many years: decades even!

Quite simply, thank you.