Queenslander FirstJune 10, 2014

On June 6, 1859, Queen Victoria signed a Letters Patent, giving her approval on the separation of Queensland from New South Wales. On that same day, an Order-in-Council gave the state its own Constitution. The event seemed insignificant nowadays, as most would rather celebrate being Australians first. But such happenings need not be forgotten.

Queensland Day was a reminder of the efforts made by Queenslanders back then, who believed that they were being neglected. The state was far from Sydney, the seat of government (of New South Wales), Queensland a remote region. The British government was sympathetic. This remoteness lures locals and tourists alike. Queensland is identified with the Great Barrier Reef, a coral reef system, the largest of its kind in the world. It became one of the seven natural wonders of the world, which prompted some to believe that there would be other attractions that this state, the second largest in Australia, would offer.

There was a shift in attitude through the years, as the event became an observance, recognising the Queenslanders who became successful in their respective fields. It doesn't mean that talks on the history and development of the state should be put to the side, but what better way than to honour a fellow Queenslander.

Past recipients of the Queenslander of the Year Award included Phyllis Cilento, who became known for her advocacy of the health of (Australian) women and children. She was born in Sydney, but she and her husband, Raphael Cliento, settled in Brisbane. This will be a trend for many natives of New South Wales, where Queensland seems to have a different kind of charm. Another recognition was the Young Queenslander of the Year, which was introduced later. Liesl Jones was the most notable recipient, one of the best breaststroke swimmers of all time. She was the only swimmer to compete in four Olympics. She was only 15 years of age when she took part in the 2000 Sydney Games, her first apppearance in the most prestigious multi-sport event.

Other recipients of the Queenslander of the Year Award included Robin Gibson (architect), Ron Grant (long distance runner), Allan Border (cricketeer), Chris Sarra (educationalist), and Ian Frazer (scientist). Young Queenslander of the Year winners included Aaron Maree, Lana Higson, Tiffany Dudman, Danielle Begg, and Lars Olsen.

But for many Queenslander, the event will be most memorable by pulling a leg. Below are the favourites:

1. Queenslander sounds way, way better than Newsouthwaleser

2. Patrick Rafter looks better than most people who were born in New South Wales and who model underwear

3. Ricky Stuart is not from Queensland

4. If you travel south from New South Wales, you only end up in Victoria

5. Like many from south of the border, Miranda Kerr’s family chose to live in Queensland rather than New South Wales

6. Queensland mud crabs are from Queensland

7. Australia’s most popular Prime Minister in the past five years was from Queensland

8. Bundaberg rum comes from Bundaberg … that’s in Queensland

9. Phil Gould is not from Queensland

10. Queensland is not in New South Wales

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