image of blow up swan in outdoor festival grounds
Image source: Celebrate WA

Governor launches WA Day 2020 campaign with a message to all West Australians

As Patron of Celebrate WA, the Governor has written a message to launch this year’s celebrations in the lead up to WA Day on 1st June.

The Governor’s message was published in The West Australian today (Monday, 25th May).

Celebrate WA is the not-for-profit organisation responsible for promoting and organising the annual WA Day celebrations.

“In my years in Federal politics one of the joys in life was landing in Perth between sittings. As you exited the plane, if it was not at an airbridge or the air terminal if it was, the tang of sand and salt told you ‘you were home’. An enveloping atmosphere that has not changed since my childhood and we still have the cleanest air for a city our size.

Then there is the light. That bright, clarifying light during the day, turning late afternoon to a slanting covering for shadow-creating buildings and trees. It is no accident that though 7 percent of Australians were born in the UK, 14 percent of Western Australians were. We are what the British imagine Australia to be, but which the rest of Australia is not – perfect Mediterranean.

In this crisis we have time to think and to appreciate our fellow citizens. At Government House we used to host five to eight substantial community events a week, and a myriad of smaller encounters. Now it is the phone, Zoom and one-on-ones. The upside is, however, a deeper conversation. Speaking to our regional development commissions, volunteer, cultural, business, medical research, sport, Aboriginal, service and health organisations over the last few weeks has provided a more detailed understanding of how much we owe to so many.

This pandemic is a challenge we are meeting. Our character – which is of a tolerant, phlegmatic, unselfish but shrewd nature – is testing well. The next phase will be harder.

We are of a different type to the type of my youth. Then, I was part of two thirds of the population born here. We are now a slight minority, or we were prior to lockdown. Then we were insular and dependent. Now we are the outward State and in large measure carry the country. Then we were derivative. Now we are inventive. For example, NASA partners with Rio Tinto and Woodside because in robotics, critical for a Mars expedition, we are a decade ahead of them.

You could go through health research, ship building and broader defence industries, software for mining, innovative agriculture, cyber, most facets of engineering, and find the same story. As sovereign capability becomes the fashionable leitmotif, we are prepared.

But the times will be very hard. They will test our capacity for empathy and action. Our 600, 000 volunteers across all aspects of endeavour will be critical. We must stay seized of the needs of our youngsters and our elderly. Our elderly our critical health concern. Our youngsters must have a future.

WA Day often passes through our consciousness as an occasion of mild self-congratulation. This time, it passes as a call for focus and action.”

Read the Governor’s message in PDF

About WA Day

On the first Monday of June each year, Western Australians young and old, from all ethnicities  and cultures, unite to celebrate WA Day.

In 2012, Foundation Day was formally changed to WA Day following bipartisan political support in the Western Australian Parliament. This welcomed a new era for the State with WA Day being a universal celebration of all Western Australians, recognising our Aboriginal history, early European settlers and the many people from all over the world who have made, and continue to make, WA their home.

How to get involved this year



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