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Introduction

Speech given by the Governor at the Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden Program Morning Tea.

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First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we gather – the Wurundjeri and Bunurong People of the Kulin Nation – and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and to Elders of other communities who may be with us.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you all back to Government House to celebrate the end of the 2022 Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden program.

We haven’t been able to hold our usual end of year get together for the program since before the pandemic so, it’s a particular joy to have you all here this morning to celebrate.

When Tony and I began in our roles some seven or so years ago, one of our goals was to ensure that Government House continued to open more and more to members of the public.

One way we wanted to achieve that was with a new program, centred around the re-establishment of the Government House Kitchen Garden.

We saw the program as an opportunity not just to open up the House to those who might not usually have the opportunity to visit here: but also, to create something special, something that would hopefully bring a sense of community connection to those who participated.

Across the years, we have seen many groups take part. Every participant has brought her own distinctive story and history, so that each program has been unique, with its own feeling and personality. It’s been a joy to watch.

Today, we are celebrating the groups from 2022, as well as the group from Geelong who, due to COVID, were here across 2020 and 2021. Thank you to that group for your patience, and we are so glad you could join us today to celebrate your time here.

Our program this year has seen groups from Wyndham, Casey and Dandenong take part, with some 18 different countries represented.

In addition, we have treasured the opportunity to welcome a number of groups from Ukraine. We have been pleased to offer some support to women who are enduring much heartache at this difficult time.

This year, we have once again seen some beautiful food cooked, recipes and stories shared, flowers arranged, and, I know, many friendships forged in the process.

Our cohort from Casey were also lucky to experience a particular highlight of the year – our feature on Better Homes & Gardens in September. We hope you enjoyed being TV stars for a day!

Thank you to Community Hubs Australia for helping us to run this program. In particular, to Caroline Robinson who has been with us, supporting the program, right back from the start. Thanks too this year to Theresa Jaworski for your support of the Ukrainian part of the program.

Thank you also to the Government House staff, Deborah, Suzi and Katie, whose contribution and hard work have made this program such a success.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank my husband Tony for his ongoing enthusiasm for this program, and for his invaluable work taking his tours of the State Apartments.

That leaves me only to say thank you to each of the participants here today for taking part, for having a go, and for supporting each other.

I’d like to conclude by noting that, after a brief hiatus due to COVID, Government House will again be open to the public for our annual Open Day on Australia Day in January. Please do join us, and invite your friends and family to join us too. You can be the tour guide!

Finally, we hope you enjoyed your time here at Government House during the program, and we hope you enjoy your time here today.