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The Governor

The Governor's message for the virtual opening of the new Swinton Wing at Lyndoch Living


History is, I must say, top of mind for me as I send this message to you.

Lyndoch Living has been important to the history of Warrnambool and its residents since the early 1950s. But it is an organisation that also has held strong historic links with my role.

What a pleasure it is for me to be invited to open a building in an organisation officially opened by my predecessor, Victoria’s 19th Governor, Sir Dallas Brooks, and with wings opened by our 21st Governor, Sir Henry Winneke in 1974 – and again in 1981.

I am fortunate enough to have located Governor Winneke’s speech notes from both those occasions. It is clear that each time His Excellency was mightily impressed by the modern amenities of the new buildings. As I should say I am today from the photographs that have been shared with me.

What stood out to me quite clearly from the documents at Government House were the many changes across the intervening decades from 1974 until today.

I can see from his printed itinerary that, as Governor Winneke set off for Warrnambool, his first order of business was a rather nice sit-down dinner on the Vice-Regal train (a specially fitted out Victorian Railways carriage, at that time used by Her Majesty when in Victoria, and by the Governor of the day at all other times).

Governor Winneke certainly could never have envisaged that the first order of business for me on this occasion, has been to set up a small mobile telephone to record a message for a virtual ceremony that I cannot attend in person!

That said, it is also clear that much has not changed across those years, nor indeed since the Official Opening of Lyndoch in November 1952.

We read in a newspaper of the day that, on that earlier occasion, Sir Dallas Brooks told the assembled audience that care of the aged was the responsibility of every good citizen – a sentiment echoed by Governor Winneke in acknowledging the ‘strong awareness and concern for the needs of the aged…shared by the whole community.’

In 2020, the responsibility to care for the elderly is still front of mind, of course, and never more so than in these difficult times.

There is another sentiment that I share with my predecessors, one that I’m sure has in fact been common to all of Victoria’s 29 Governors. And that is a great affection for this beautiful part of our State.

I will look forward to visiting Warrnambool again, when times permit, and hope that I might be able to see this new Swinton Wing in real life. In the meantime, all that I can see commends its clever design – of which others will speak in more detail.

What I can comment upon is that I am sure that there are many people to thank: for this vision and for its realisation.

And as in all beautiful buildings, it is of course the skill and care of those who work within it that will ensure that the design meets its intent: to look after some of Victoria’s most precious assets: folks who have contributed so much to their local communities across so many years.

I wish all those well who will live, work and visit here, and shortly it will be my pleasure to declare this Swinton Wing officially open.