News

From pineapples to princesses, we love a good festival

Entrants in the Golden Pineapple Festival Queen Competition at the Pineapple Queen Ball in May 1955.
Entrants in the Golden Pineapple Festival Queen Competition at the Pineapple Queen Ball in May 1955. Picture Sunshine Coast

AS community halls across the region take centre stage during the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast celebrations with the Festival of Community Halls, we discover that from the early days, festivals have played a significant role in each and every Sunshine Coast resident's social and entertainment calendar.

Nearly every community group, club, organisation and township has held a "festival” to celebrate a significant event or date, perhaps to highlight local talent or promote a local industry and its produce.

Early editions of the Nambour Chronicle feature reports on various church "harvest festivals” while later articles advertise numerous film, arts and drama festivals, including the Chelsea Flower Show, the Ginger Festival and even Oktoberfest staged by the Buderim Lions Club.

The Maroochy float entered in the annual Warana Festival procession at Nambour in 1966.
The Maroochy float entered in the annual Warana Festival procession at Nambour in 1966. Picture Sunshine Coast

Some things don't change, as all of these festivals only existed due to a great deal of community effort and enthusiasm.

They provided colour, ceremony, excitement, fun and a great opportunity for visitors and those newly settled in the area to join with long-term residents and have a great day out.

Over the years, many festivals have come and gone and today's story highlights several that have celebrated the Sunshine Coast region's wonderful produce and unique attractions.

Among these was the notable Golden Pineapple Festival conceived by the Great North Coast Show Society "as a means of stressing emphasis on the pineapple industry, promoting tourist trade, raising funds for various district charities, and culminating in a week of festivities”.

Maroochy Shire's float leads the Warana Spring Festival Parade along Currie St, Nambour, in 1965.
Maroochy Shire's float leads the Warana Spring Festival Parade along Currie St, Nambour, in 1965. Picture Sunshine Coast

The festival "embraced the Near North Coast: and was held from April 30 to May 7, 1955 with various events held in many local townships”.

The program included sports competitions, a car rally and a speed boat carnival, drama presentation, a pioneer's dinner and a Golden Pineapple Ball.

There were street carnivals, the very popular Golden Pineapple Queen competition and a grand parade of floats followed by a mardi gras, which the Chronicle reported as "a spectacular finale to the festival attended by 3000 people”

The highly successful festival created a "greater appreciation of the golden pineapple”.

In 1959, a Pineapple Festival was organised at Glass House Mountains as part of the Landsborough Shire's Centenary plans.

Agui Monagi and Dave Kubler with the Moreton Sugar Mill entry in the Sugar Festival parade at Nambour, in 1992.
Agui Monagi and Dave Kubler with the Moreton Sugar Mill entry in the Sugar Festival parade at Nambour, in 1992. Picture Sunshine Coast

Many might recall the Warana Festival which had its origins in Brisbane in 1961.

The first Nambour-Maroochy Sunshine Coast section of the Warana Festival was held in 1962 and became an annual event.

A highlight of the local festival was the street parade and a float depicting the region's primary industries and tourist attractions.

It was usually included in the Warana Festival in Brisbane, where it was paraded before returning to Nambour to participate in the local Warana celebrations.

Go-kart race during the annual Sugar Festival Celebrations, Nambour, 1992.
Go-kart race during the annual Sugar Festival Celebrations, Nambour, 1992. Picture Sunshine Coast

In 1968, the Sunshine Coast Promotion Bureau formed a sub-committee to plan the Sunshine Coast Spring Festival for September 1969.

The choice of September, the first month of spring, emphasised that the festival was on the Sunshine Coast and would be the region's own festival in place of Warana.

The first Spring Carnival was reported as "an outstanding success” with a Miss Sunshine Coast Quest and concert, and full program of events offering "fun in the sun in south-east Queensland”.

Caloundra's first Sunshine Festival was organised by the Caloundra Lions Club and involved nearly a year of preparation.

It was officially opened on November 3, 1966 and was launched with a Hawaiian dinner dance.

A model of a black swan is towed along the Maroochy River during the Warana On Maroochy to celebrate the Warana Spring Carnival.
A model of a black swan is towed along the Maroochy River during the Warana On Maroochy to celebrate the Warana Spring Carnival. Picture Sunshine Coast

The nine-day festival provided a spectacular program of events ranging from a National Fitness Sports Day at Henzell Park, a surfing carnival, fishing and woodchop competitions and the Great Crab Race to the crowning of the Sunshine Festival Queen, a colourful street procession with vintage cars and a mardi gras.

A Bath Tub Derby held during the New Year weekend of 1973-1974 by Caloundra Apex Club was one of the most exciting and more unusual of the region's festivals.

The initial event was conducted in conjunction with a marathon at Bulcock Beach and in the following year it became a large scale annual carnival including a street parade.

Later, the Bath Tub Derby was held on the northern side of Currimundi Lake and then at Apex Park in the Military Jetty area of Golden Beach.

During the years the associated festivities became bigger and better, attracting increasing interest from national sponsors.

The Eudlo Queen, Hazel Johnson, in the Golden Pineapple Festival procession in Nambour on May 7, 1955.
The Eudlo Queen, Hazel Johnson, in the Golden Pineapple Festival procession in Nambour on May 7, 1955. Picture Sunshine Coast

In January 1979, the Bath Tub Derby was the official state qualifying event for powered bath tubs to compete in the Australian Championships in Brisbane.

In August 1977, a new festival was launched which highlighted the importance of the sugar industry to the Sunshine Coast region and also captured the spirit and vibrancy of the area.

It was the long-running Sugar Festival, initiated as an annual event by the Nambour Jaycees who organised the first week-long program of events which featured a spectacular street parade through Nambour to the showgrounds and a Sugar Queen Quest.

The townspeople and businesses of Nambour joined the celebrations and went all out decorating their shop windows and the streets with leafy cane decorations.

After a lapse, the festival was revived in 1991, supported by local residents and the business community.

The Golden Pineapple Festival Ball in full swing in the show pavilion at Nambour on May 4, 1955.
The Golden Pineapple Festival Ball in full swing in the show pavilion at Nambour on May 4, 1955. Picture Sunshine Coast

It included the usual popular festivities as well as thrilling billy kart races and a Sweet Heart Quest which, like previous queen competitions provided a popular way to raise funds throughout the community.

Fast forward to today and we still love festivals.

Whether it is the Festival of Community Halls happening throughout August and September or the Horizon Festival from August 25-September 3, featuring more than 200 events in visual art, film, literature, performance, street art, comedy, music, theatre and new media across the regio, there is definitely something for everyone!

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council's Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Topics:  history sunshine coast


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Hot and dry conditions spark weekend infernos

DESTRUCTION: A fire at Noosa North Shore destroyed three houses and damaged two others.

Noosa was ablaze with at least three separate fires at the weekend

Speak up for road safety this week

ROAD SAFETY WEEK: Constable Matthew Bedding, constable Bradley Threkeld and constable Steve Freney participating in speed management LiDAR training in George Street.

Communities encouraged to get behind Road Safety Week

Outback adventure awaits volunteer

TOP HAT: Patrick Roach adds some race fashion to an Akubra for the Birdsville Races.

Patrick Roach is preparing to tick something off his bucket list.

Local Partners

Two bushfires burning, Sunshine Motorway closed

Two bushfires are burning in the Noosa area and the Sunshine Motorway is closed in both directions at Peregian Springs

Painting a brighter future for koalas

WORTH SAVING: The Queensland Koala Crusaders' Community Crowdfunding Campaign aims to raise $30,000 towards the cost of planting 10,000 trees for koalas.

Queensland Koala Crusaders have launched a crowdfunding campaign

REVEALED: Liam Gallagher is coming to Falls Festival

English musician, singer, and songwriter, former lead singer of the rock band Oasis, Liam Gallagher performs during his concert at National Olympic Sports Center in Beijing, China, 10 August 2017.

He revealed the news ahead of the official line up announcement

New colour festival to hold global debut on Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast has locked in a new, world first festival: but get in quick, tickets are on sale tomorrow.

The Project will now be on six nights a week

The Project presenters Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar.

The Project is expanding with a Sunday night edition and a new host.

Click your fingers, tap your toes

Helen Peters, Elisabeth Wallis-Gaedtke, Evalee Sharples and Kemal Avunduk rehearse for Fascinating Rhythm, Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir's performance of hot jazz, sizzling samba, Latin beats and smooth swing sounds at Lake Kawana Community Centre on August 26-27.

Libby to set beat for Fascinating Rhythm this weekend

Margot Robbie is unrecognisable in London

Margot, is that really you?

MARGOT Robbie looks completely unrecognisable as Queen Elizabeth I.

Game of Thrones: Season 7 finale predictions

Emilia Clarke in a scene from season 7 of Game of Thrones.

JON and Daenerys finally met. But what happens next?

Reese Witherspoon on being a ‘has-been’ at 36

Witherspoon’s career has never looked better but that didn’t stop people declaring her a “has-been”.

Reese on the ‘brutal’ article that called her a has-been at 36.

RECAP: Game of Thrones s7 e6 - Beyond the Wall

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, Iain Glen, Paul Kaye and Joe Dempsie in a scene from Game of Thrones.

*Warning this story contains spoilers about today's new episode*

Residents fear sand mine sell out by State Minister

Sand mine opponents attend the Nambour Council Chambers.Cou

Further testing undertaken on site, despite claims of significance

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!