Speech to South Australia Proclamation Day Ceremony, Adelaide
WED 28 DECEMBER 2011
Can I say to the crowd assembled here – I love this time of year.
I love it because it means I get to come home to South Australia. I get to come home and spend some time with family and friends, a very precious thing to do.
But I’ve also made it part of my annual calendar, as I come home to South Australia, to attend here, for Proclamation Day.
Such an important time of reflection on the history of this great state.
A time when we look back and a time when we look forward.
And friends, when we do look back, when we remember the Proclamation of South Australia, I think we see it as a day of endings and a day of beginnings.
For the traditional owners, it was the end of a way of life that they had treasured for centuries.
For the settlers it was a final closing of the door on old skies and old friends.
For both, it was a new beginning.
Full of risk.
But full of promise too.
The Proclamation tells us that they set out to create nothing less than a “great and free colony."
As the Premier and Mayor have detailed in their speeches, the founders succeeded and they succeeded in abundance.
Those nine ships of our own “first fleet” didn’t just bring settlers and cargo.
They brought the best of our human values:
Faith in the future.
And willingness to unite great ambition with relentless hard work.
As Australia’s first female Prime Minister, I was delighted to be reminded that there were 78 women in that fleet.
A woman, one of them a historian, who told us that they believed themselves to be
“a worthy sisterhood.”
We rightly celebrate our founding fathers like Hindmarsh and Gouger; Torrens and Light.
Let’s celebrate too those unnamed founding mothers and sisters too – because there would have been no South Australia without them.
If we have achieved good things, and we have, it’s only because they achieved even better things in circumstances unimaginably harder than our own.
Friends, there is perhaps another clue to this State’s success in the cargo of those ships: the state’s first printing press.
Yes, they brought a printing press because they intended us to be a people of reason and learning - a free people in a new land; liberated from the poverty and the ignorance of the old.
175 years later, their achievements stands – and it stands strong
They created South Australia out of hardship and sacrifice.
And no community has ever been made of better materials.
And so on this day of gratitude and homecoming, we make our own proclamation:
That we will honour their great deeds with great deeds of our own.
Proud of the past and unafraid of our future.
Always ready to make those founding hopes our own.
Thank you for welcoming me on Proclamation Day.