Commonwealth State Funeral for Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen - Premier's tribute

Published Thursday, 04 January, 2018 at 01:30 PM

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Today, as a community and as a State, we join family and friends to mourn Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen - a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother.

Today, as a community and as a State, we say “thank-you” for the life and contribution of Lady Flo and we pay our respects.

Her contribution to this region and to our State has helped and encouraged many more Queenslanders than Lady Flo herself could have ever known.

As a Senator serving our State in Canberra, in her own right, she brought her passion for family, faith and cooking – yes, those famous pumpkin scones - to the fore.

It is not well known that Flo had answered her calling to public service before she met Joh.

Indeed, by the time of her chance meeting with the then Member for Barambah, Florence Gilmour of New Farm was working as a public servant in the high-powered office of the Commissioner for Main Roads in Brisbane.

Joh and Flo would become a loving couple and make a formidable political pairing.

Indeed, their first dinner date was at Parliament House - during a Parliamentary sitting week.

After their wedding in 1952 - as they honeymooned in New Zealand – Flo, not Joh, received an invitation to open a fete in Murgon in her new husband’s electorate.

It seems the people of the South Burnett recognised early on that they were getting two Bjelke-Petersens for the price of one.

Lady Flo enjoyed a long life, supported by her family and comforted by her faith.

Her life spanned more than half of Queensland’s.

On the day she was born – the 11th of August 1920 – a State Funeral was held to farewell former Premier and one of our nation’s founding fathers Sir Samuel Griffith.

Last year, I joined the Queensland Country Women’s Association to announce a $1 million building fund to celebrate the organisation’s 95th birthday.

Fittingly, as Flo was a major supporter of the QCWA, the announcement was made at the Ekka on Flo’s 97th birthday.

Today is a day for us to remember Lady Flo in totality - her life, her contribution, her mark on our State. We celebrate her legacy.

The community hospital, owned by the Council, is already proudly named for her.

I will be seeking the permission of the Bjelke-Petersen family to dedicate part of the new 66-bed Kingaroy Hospital that my Government is delivering, in her honour.

Vale Lady Flo.