CELEBRATION: Mascot Banana Jim leads the queen entrants aboard the banana float at the 2018 Banana Festival Parade.
CELEBRATION: Mascot Banana Jim leads the queen entrants aboard the banana float at the 2018 Banana Festival Parade. Nikki Todd

Looking back at the first Tweed Banana Festival

AS WE get ready to celebrate 130 years of publication of the Tweed Daily News next month, it's time to look back at one of the shire's most iconic events - the Tweed Banana Festival.

The first Tweed Banana Festival was held in late August and early September 1956 and culminated in the crowning of the Banana Festival Queen.

The Tweed Banana Festival committee, under the direction of its chairman Mr RL (Bob) Anthony and inspired by its hard-working organising secretary Mr Jack Merotsy, drew up a week-long festival of events that highlighted the best of the banana industry and was packed full of entertainment, competitions and events.

The big day of the Banana Festival was Saturday, September 1, 1956 when a packed programme of entertainment, including the official opening of the festival by Mr Anthony MHR, cycling events, a parade of vintage cars and the Australian Banana Packing Championship reached a climax at 9pm with the crowning of the Banana Festival Queen.

Miss Jill McGregor, a 17-year-old photographer's assistant from Roslyn Studios in Main St, Murwillumbah, was crowned the 1956 Tweed Banana Festival Queen.

A spectacular fireworks display finished a very full programme. The festival was hailed a huge success by organisers, participants and spectators and so began a unique annual celebration that showcased Murwillumbah and the Tweed Valley.

These days, the Banana Festival lives on as one of the Tweed's most anticipated events of the year.

Tweed historian Di Millar contributed significantly to the Tweed Daily News' 125-year commemorative publication in 2013, from which this information has been extracted.



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