GOVERNOR General of Australia David Hurley and his wife Linda arrived on the Scenic Rim yesterday to visit communities impacted by last month's bush fires.
After visiting the fire-ravaged areas at Binna Burra and Beechmont, the Governor General addressed a full house at the Canungra School of Arts Hall, where he pointed out that he and Mrs Hurley were no strangers to the region.
"When we lived in Brisbane this was a favourite haunt for us and in fact we came here for one of our wedding anniversaries," he said.
"The kids learned their times tables bushwalking up here... with the promise of an ice cream afterwards, so it's always been close to our hearts, this particular part of the country.
"In my swearing in speech in July I said I believed Australia was a rich country, not in a material sense but a richness of spirit... and when we travel round the country, that's what we see.
"For all those in uniform, both paid and unpaid, the volunteers, the firies who got out there and helped address the fires, tried to stop the fires, corralled, cajoled, whatever to get people in the right spot so no lives were lost, thank you for what you did.
"For the council and all the workers in the crisis management area that comes together, sets up the community support network to help the people who are really in some of the worst positions they can be in their lives.
"To all the businesses, support agencies, the not-for-profit charities who immediately put up their hands... thank you for what you do, because we could easily take these knocks and not get back up.
"I don't like the word resilient because it's a bit overused but I know there's a real depth of strength in Australia. I'm proud to be the Governor General because I'm extremely proud of my country."
Mr Hurley said as the community moved into recovery it was important to watch out for each other's mental health.
"To all those who are doing it tough at the moment, you know the community is with you," he said.
"This is the time to be looking out for each other, this is the time to be putting your hand up and saying 'a chat would be great'."
After the Governor General's speech, Mrs Hurley took to the stage to lead those assembled in a rendition of You are my Sunshine accompanied by Mayor Greg Christensen.