A speech in support of a toast to Robert Burns delivered at the St Andrew’s Society of Scotland (Queensland) Burns Supper Glasgow Room, United Service Club Brisbane Friday, 22 January 2016.
The Honourable Justice Logan RFD
A Judge of the Federal Court of Australia1
In Centenary Place, Brisbane, in the inner-city block bounded by Wickham, Ann and Gotha Streets, is to be found a statue of the Scottish bard, Robert Burns.
Our Brisbane statue is one of eight statues or busts in Australia which stand as memorials to Burns. There are four Burns statues in New Zealand, nine in Canada, 16 in the United States of America and one in England (in London). Scotland itself has 20 statues or other memorials to Burns.2
That there are so many outside Scotland is eloquent proof of the enduring wisdom of a medieval French proverb, “Rats, lice and Scotsmen: you find them the whole world over”.3 The genus rattus also commended itself to an observer of Highlanders on the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s, “Poor as rats at home, they are as rapacious as rats abroad”.4