"To those in the Wooroloo community… know that we are supporting you and know from this presence here (today), that this community is behind you."
This was the heartfelt message delivered by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, to Wooroloo residents on Monday.
His Excellency the Governor-General and Her Excellency, Mrs Linda Hurley, were guests of honour at an Afternoon Tea at Wooroloo Hall held to acknowledge the community impact of the Wooroloo Bushfire, and to thank those involved in recovery efforts.
"Thank you to all the organisations who are represented here today for the way you have pitched in to bring the community together, around people who are really hurting and really suffering, and helped them on their way," he said.
Passing on a message from his recent conversation with Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, His Excellency told the gathering: "she thinks of you and hopes your recovery runs smoothly".
Delivering a message of hope to those rebuilding after the fire, and inviting residents to share their stories with him, he added:
"I can't put myself in your shoes. But all I can say is, we are here for you, both in an emotional sense and a community sense. And certainly the assets of the nation (are available) to assist people to get through in these difficult times."
His Excellency also acknowledged our volunteer bush firefighters.
"The country could not be where it is today without your support and the hard work you have done... to the thousands of people who have travelled back and forth across the country helping each other out in different states, our heartfelt thanks."
Referencing a line from Dorothy McKellar's poem, My Country, when also thanking the countless organisations, not-for-profits and charities that have lent support he said: "No matter what life throws at us, it gives us back three-fold and that is the country we live in. And why does it give it back three-fold? Because of everybody in this room.
"We have the beauty. We have the nature. We have the history. But what really shapes this country, and gives it back three-fold, is you! So thank you very much for all you do."
Shire President, John Daw, extended gratitude to the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley for showing support and empathy and standing alongside our community.
"In the midst of such trauma and loss, the very best of people often shines through," he said.
Cr Daw thanked community members – whose homes, properties, businesses and livelihoods were destroyed or impacted – for attending.
"We're very pleased that you've come along today to share your story with the Governor General and Mrs Hurley," he said.
"And to the many organisations who contributed to the emergency response, and some of them are here with us today, I salute you all..."