like. read. laugh. love.
“There are two types of people in this world”, says Ken Smith, Queensland’s Agent-General and Trade Commissioner in London, “Queenslanders, and people who want to be Queenslanders”. It is a bold yet fitting opening statement to the Queensland Day celebrations at the Australian High Commission in London. But this close to State of Origin game two, he’s right.
There are two thoughts running through your mind right now. Firstly, ‘Queenslanders are sensational athletes and the maroons should be immortalised by bronzed statues dedicated to their god-like attributes’ and secondly, ‘what the heck is Queensland Day?’
Ashamedly I had no idea what it was until very recently. But after spending Wednesday night bonding with my fellow Queenslanders over one too many champagnes and waking up on Wednesday morning with a splitting headache, I am now very aware of its existence.
Queensland Day celebrates the birthday of our sun-kissed state. On June 6 1859 Queen Victoria gave her approval and Queensland, named in her honour, was given its own Constitution and became a self-governing colony.
The Australian High Commission seemed to know all about it and put on a spectacular do with local musical talent including Brisbane’s Georgia Potter and an array of Queensland themed treats including prawns, spicy mango pancakes, lamingtons and cheesy-mite scrolls.
If you’re a Queenslander then, like me and most of the people I’ve spoken to recently, you probably haven’t heard of Queensland Day before, which is surprising seeing as it is right up our ally. It provides the platform for a state-wide public holiday, encourages us to toast a beer in its honour and fills us full of pride and love for our banana growing homeland.
As I discovered at the Queensland Day celebrations, the Governor General of Australia, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce is a born and bred Queenslander and what’s more, she’s proud of it. A Brisbane girl, the Governor General even attended UQ to study Law and was one of the first women accepted to the Queensland bar.
Queenslanders have been moving to London as a rite of passage since the State was founded and Quentin Bryce is no exception. Rather than flying economy on British Airways and complaining about a bad beef casserole Queenslanders were forced to travel by ship, taking weeks to complete the journey.
While many things have changed since then, one thing definitely has not; the Queensland spirit. Whether you’re at the Normanby belting out tunes with Tuffy on a Sunday, screaming “Queenslander” at the top of your lungs in Suncorp Stadium on Origin day or enjoying a pint in a London pub with mates you’ll always feel proud to call yourself a Queenslander.