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When the mantlepiece is decorated with Christmas bush and the Christmas Tree arrives from Penrose State Forest, we here at Government House know that the festive season has well and truly arrived and that the year is rapidly drawing to a close.

To say that it has been a busy and fulfilling year would be an understatement.

With the restrictions of the pandemic behind us, Dennis and I have visited regional and rural communities throughout the State, providing a welcome opportunity to learn of the achievements, successes, and challenges of the areas outside the city. We have also been able to visit schools, patronages, and other charitable organisations in the Greater Sydney Region.

Another highlight has been the increasing number of visitors we have welcomed to Government House.

In addition to the many diplomatic calls, we were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and His Royal Highness Prince Edward back to Government House .

Princess Astrid of Belgium, leading a trade delegation of some 300 business personnel, also stayed for a number of days and we also hosted a reception for her delegation.

The staff of Government House, as they always do, assisted with providing wonderful Aussie hospitality with just the right touch of formality.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden also led a trade delegation to Australia, and we were honoured to host a reception promoting Australian and Swedish trade interests.

Princess Dana Firas of Jordan was another visitor, as were the Presidents of Malta and Hungary.

In May, it was an honour to represent New South Wales at the Coronation of King Charles, the first such event of its kind in over 70 years.

In all, we are proud to have had some 50,000 people visiting Government House this year, including at Investitures and the many receptions for community organisations and members of the public for whom the House is open for free, small group tours and who come to our open days and to Jazz@theHouse on the first Sunday of the month in increasing numbers. 

Christmas is a celebration in the Christian tradition and brings a message of peace and goodwill. In our richly multicultural society, with its many religious and cultural traditions at this and other times of the year, we have many seasons of goodwill to share.

It is a time to celebrate the generosity of spirit I see every day in the people of New South Wales.

I cannot leave without mentioning those engaged in our essential and emergency services who keep us safe year in and year out, including over this Christmas season.

Dennis and I wish you the very best for Christmas, and the happiest of New Years.

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