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St Vincent’s Curran Foundation Annual Spring Reception, Royal Sydney Golf Club, Rose Bay


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Gadigal and Bidjigal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good evening, everyone.

It is an absolute delight for Linda and me to with you all for what is one of the great events on the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation calendar.

The Spring Reception is an occasion where we come together to thank the donors and supporters, and to celebrate the many achievements of the Foundation.

As we saw in the video a few moments ago, that collective contribution is both considerable and outstanding.
It has been transformative and benefited individuals, their families and – at scale – our entire community.

I think that deserves a round of applause.

Linda and I have had a long and rewarding association with both St Vincent’s and the Curran Foundation.

I often think of the words of the Late Sister Margaret Mines: ‘It’s because it is difficult that we do it.’

What a legacy from Sister Margaret. It is a legacy writ large over the work of the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation.

More broadly, with the benefit of seeing the work of different organisations and individuals through the course of my duties, I think it sums up much about the Australian character and the best of our community.

Give us a job to do and we’ll get it done – not for thanks, praise or accolades but because we care about each other.

It is one of the joys of my role as Governor-General, with Linda, to meet and engage with wonderful Australians and Australian organisations whose footprint is truly remarkable.

Many of those organisations are charitable organisations.

They comprise people who volunteer, who donate, who ‘go above and beyond' and who give selflessly to their community.

Their contribution changes people’s lives for the better and sometimes saves lives.

In an age where society celebrates individualism and fleeting moments of fame, it is critically important to remember that that such people and organisations exist throughout our community.

In my address at the recent National Memorial Service in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Second, I said that Her Majesty epitomised servant leadership and set an example of living and serving for something greater than herself.

If I may say so, so too do the actions of the people of the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation.

Selfless service and ‘going above and beyond’ does matter in our society.

It helps bind our communities together, makes them stronger, and instils a sense of hope and optimism in people.

That is why it is important to have generous benefactors who support organisations such as the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation and the St Vincent’s Hospitals in New South Wales.

To that end I particularly want to commend John Cunningham AM and Margaret Cunningham for their exceedingly generous contribution to humanity.

The grants from the Cunningham Foundation are now supporting the Cunningham Fellows program, which provides for the mentoring of emerging clinicians by outstanding senior doctors.

It is a legacy that will be of the greatest benefit to future generations of patients but also pivotal to the development of future generations of doctors and nurses.

Margaret Cunningham’s support for the establishment of the Cunningham Nursing Leadership Academy at St Vincent’s has already resulted in hundreds of St Vincent’s nurses being involved in nursing courses and professional development.

‘Giving’ is infectious and the leadership and philanthropy of Charles and Eva Curran, and John and Margaret Cunningham, has inspired many others to follow.

The book being launched this evening — ‘Portraits — a book about gratitude’ — tells the many stories that have contributed to St Vincent’s rich history of achievement.

‘Portraits’ is as much a tribute to the St Vincent’s donors and supporters as it is to the doctors, nurses and frontline workers who selflessly respond to the needs of the community.

Your support has enabled St Vincent’s to purse its long-term goals of support for major development projects, clinical research and innovation initiatives.

Some final thank yous:

To Peter and Rae Fletcher for their generous gift that will provide a lasting legacy of support for St Vincent’s Hospitals through the establishment of the Fletcher Family Endowment Program. Peter and Rae have been supporting St Vincent’s since 2010, and their commitment to set up this Endowment program now is to be honoured.

To all the community fundraisers who go to such great lengths to support St Vincent’s — people like Nelune Rajapakse AM and Anna Guillan AM, Gary Meyers, Siobhan O’Toole, Steven King, Carolyn Maras, Vicki and Louis Lazaridis, Greg Arandt, Connie Severino, and Jodi Rose.

And to the St Vincent’s Curran Trustees — Charles Curran AC, Chairman of Trustees; Richard Haddock AO, Chairman of the Board; and Shanthini Naidoo, CEO — and all the board and trustees for your efforts to ensure the extraordinary and ongoing success of St Vincent’s Hospitals.

Thank you all for what you do. Your efforts are uplifting and an inspiration to us all.

Again, it is a real delight for Linda and me to be here at the Spring Reception.

We look forward to mingling and meeting as many of you as possible during the course of the evening.

Have an enjoyable night.