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Speech given by the Governor at a reception held for students who took part in the Government House Design Project.


First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are gathering, and I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and to Elders of other communities who may be with us this evening.

We welcome all of you to Government House.

It is such a pleasure to welcome a group who are clever and creative, and so important to our State’s cultural and economic well-being.

Just before COVID struck, Victoria’s creative industries accounted for more than 40,000 businesses, employing almost 10% of our workforce and contributing over $30 billion to our economy.

Design is a great contributor to our economy, including through some $450 million in exports.

Tony and I are proud that Melbourne is recognised as a centre of design. Of course, design – in its many forms – permeates all that we see and use. From our Hoddle grid to our Tarzan tram handles and keep cups, we in Victoria are the beneficiaries of it.

We have been pleased to see that, across my time as Governor and, before that, as a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria, that our Gallery – one of the most highly regarded not just in Australia but far beyond – is emphasising design as essential to the mainstream of its collection, exhibitions and events.

And, we were especially proud when, in 2018, Melbourne was chosen as the official partner at the Hong Kong Business of Design Week, following countries and cities that included Italy, Chicago, Barcelona and Sweden. Not bad company to be in!

Tony and I have always been keen to find new ways to engage with the community, and to celebrate our State’s strengths.

That brings me to all of you gathered with us this evening.

In order to highlight Victoria’s design credentials through the next generation of designers, we invited students to visit Government House – including the garden – and to submit an image, using any medium, for potential use in material used by the Office of the Governor.

We were delighted to receive 73 works in total, from 43 different students. All different. All thoughtful. All well executed. And we are pleased to have on display this evening, one work from each student.

I’m sure that you’ll agree we can be satisfied that Victoria’s graphic design future is in safe hands. Well, more than safe hands: in clever, creative and skilful hands.

It was not easy to choose just one from amongst these images. As you will see, they provide different ‘takes’ on this beautiful State House and its grounds.

The Office of Governor has in fact chosen one work to purchase. It is the work of Jemma Fletcher. Jemma is studying an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design at Box Hill Institute. We appreciated her interpretative image, reflecting the beauty of the historic building in a contemporary and imaginative manner.

Congratulations Jemma, and I am pleased to announce that the work has been featured on the 2021 Government House Christmas card.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved. A particular thanks to those who have been teaching and guiding these students. Without your enthusiasm and support, this project could not have happened. 

All that is left is to ask all of you to relax and enjoy your time at Government House, and of course to enjoy the ‘Exhibition’.