Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Yakkerboo Festival turns 40!

The Yakkerboo Festival in Pakenham  is turning 40 - the Festival will be held on Sunday, April 17 and the theme is not suprisingly  - 'Living in the 70s'.  Thanks to Andrew Trotter, who has always been  a big supporter of this blog - we can trace the early days of the Festival. Andrew has spent a lot of time at the State Library of Victoria looking through the Pakenham Gazette newspapers and has supplied the following images connected to the early days of Yakkerboo. You can see  more pictures of other Yakkerboo Festivals here.

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakenham Gazette September 3, 1975

In the Pakenham Gazette of September 3, 1975 on page 9 there was this advertisement (above)   from the Shire of Pakenham for  a public meeting to be held on September 17 to elect a Committee to plan a 'Festival of Culture and Art'. 

Image:  Andrew Trotter  from Pakenham Gazette September 24, 1975 page 1

The Festival meeting was well attended by around 40 people representing more than 20 different organisations  including Rotary, Jaycees, Fire Brigade, Western Port Light Opera Society and the  Historical Society. 

Image:  Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette October 15, 1975 

The next meeting  elected an executive of nine people - Deputy Shire Secretary, Ray Canobie, was elected Secretary - other committee members were Miss L. Cornwall, Cr Michael Bishop, Cr Keith Ewenson, and P.B Ronald. D.J Bourke, R. Utber., R. Walden and W. Grubb. Five sub-committees were established. According to the Pakenham Gazette report on October 15 the meeting failed to come up with a suitable name for the Festival. However there was general agreement that basically the theme of the activities should be district community involvement encompassing all ages, all towns and all walks of life . District residents were invited to submit  names for the competition and to devise an appropriate symbol.

Image:  Andrew Trotter from the Pakenham Gazette October 29, 1975 page 1

A further meeting was held and Mr Roy Walden was elected as the Chairman and other sub-committees were established. The competition for the name and the logo of the Festival attracted some good entries and the judging was to take place on November 7 1975. A report in the Pakenham Gazette of November 12 said the name Yakkerboo was selected and it was an Aboriginal word meaning 'Where the grass is green' The article did not say who suggested the name and no finality was reached in regard to an emblem.  Planning for the event took place over the next few months

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakeham Gazette March 27, 1976.

The emblem which was eventually selected was Mr Yakkerboo, shown above in this promotion for the Festival from the Pakenham Gazette of March 24, 1976.

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakeham Gazette March 27, 1976.

This article (above) from the  Pakenham Gazette of March 24, 1976 tells us some of the events that woulfd take place during the Yakkerboo Festival with the Street Parade to take place on Saturday, March 27 1976 at 11.00am. The floats started at the Recreation Reserve in Henry Street, went down John Street to Main Street and then ended up at the Pakenham Racecourse (this was before the Racecourse moved out of town to Tynong)

Image: Andrew Trotter from the  Pakenham Gazette January 21, 1976

This Festival Programme mentions the all important Queen of the Yakkerboo Festival. All the towns in the Pakenham Shire selected a 'Princess' to represent them and she would then be crowned at the Festival Ball held on Friday, March 5. Around 350 people attended the Ball held at the Pakenham High School. There were thirteen 'Princesses' but the winner was sixteen year old Sandra Burns from Officer. She was a Form Six (Year 12) student at Pakenham High and she won a trip to Tasmania and accommodation at the Wrest Point Casino. 

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakenham Gazette March 10, 1976

This is Sandra Burns the inaugural Queen of Yakkerboo, with local State politician, Robert Maclellan, M.L.A

Image: Andrew Trotter from the  Pakenham Gazette March 10, 1976

There were thirteen Princesses - and this photo shows (left to tight) Christine Brown (Pakenham Upper)  Julie Gow (Cora Lynn) Mary Hermans (Nar Nar Goon), Sandra, Helen Hermans (Garfield) and Kim Jones (Bunyip)  the other Princesses were Karen Davey, Mary Nicholas, Brigitte Swagemakers, Kerry Sinclair, Jan Crowley, Sandra Tomlins and Marty Smith.

Image: Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette March 31, 1976.

The Street Parade held on March 27 1976 was a huge success with 60 floats and an estimated 3000 people in attendance. This is the Pakenham Jaycees exhibit - a five man bicycle team - with Ian Davie, Ted Sloan, Robert Noack, Russell Broadbent and Rick Annul. Russell Broadbent is now the Federal member for McMillan.

Image: Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette March 31, 1976.

This is the Guides and Brownies float - 'Eight points of Guiding' which won the Best Community Organisation float'

Image: Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette March 31, 1976.

Cockatoo Kindergarten float.

Congratulations to the Yakkerboo Festival for 40 successful years and hopefully 40 more to come!