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It’s the state of the heart


It’s the state of the heart

Jane Stephens considers the difference between those born in Queensland and those less fortunate, such as her.

There is no better place to live on the planet than Queensland.

We proudly call ourselves Banana Benders and even align our identity come State of Origin time with that omnipresent pest, the cane toad.

We loudly love our big sky, our wide spaces and jostling coastal fringe, our sticky tropical and sub-tropical clime, our often-quirky past and being judged as unsophisticated by the southern states.

Queensland Day is June 6, which this year falls on a rather inglorious Tuesday.

It is the date of our official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony in 1859, when we were finally freed of the Blues. It is a day to actively appreciate our good fortune to find ourselves here, to list the wonders we share and to honour the people and things that make our state great.

My parents moved to Queensland when I was approaching my teen years, moving first to the tropical north and then sliding down to the south-east corner.

And while I unashamedly tell the world how grateful I am that I am that I live here, I am sharply aware there are two kinds of Queenslanders: those born here and the rest of us.

“Queensland born, Queensland bred. When I die I’ll be Queensland dead” reads a bumper sticker at one of those kitsch, gimmicky retail outlets. Good for you, I mumble a little jealously.

But is being birthed into a specific longitude and latitude an accomplishment?

As a ‘blow in’, I suggest that as we mark Queensland’s legal re-birth as a separate entity, we should remember that we humans don’t get a say in where we make our debut in the world.

Those of us who chose Queensland to make our homes might never be as true Queenslanders as those who were born here, but we can love it just as fiercely.

We can want the best for it, sing its praises to visitors and prickle with protectiveness when one of its many virtues is threatened.

We Queenslanders by choice seek to know about its past and help contribute to its future. It is an active kind of gratitude.

And those of us who embrace Queensland as an intrinsic part of our identity, who give our heart to our adopted home, bleed maroon just like those Queensland-born. We all have the privilege of being part of Queensland’s story.


Jane Stephens is a USC journalism lecturer, media commentator and writer.

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