Eisteddfod dancers out to impress in 2015.
Eisteddfod dancers out to impress in 2015. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Celebrating an icon

FIVE generations of volunteers have ensured the 104th Grand Annual Festival of Competitions (eisteddfod) will be staged at four venues in August-September.

How many readers of this magazine remember their involvement in it?

It all began in Lismore in 1907 when Mr Horace Burge, a Lismore violinist and music teacher and the Palings Company representative, was asked to present the winning gold medal at the Toowoomba Austral Festival.

Seeing, hearing and observing amazing talent and sales inspired him to organise such an event in Lismore. He was greatly assisted by Dr. A.J. Cahill of Coraki, who was also a well-known and enthusiastic musician, and together with a small team of volunteers the organising began.

On February 27, 1908 the then Lismore mayor, Alderman J P Quilty, signed the musical festival into existence. Under a huge tarpaulin, on a bright spring September morning in 1908, the first festival was held.

It was a huge success and has continued to be for many years.

Newspapers of 1912 reported excited visitors had arrived and thousands were ready to perform. Train and boat buffs note, additional boats ran each day from Woodburn to Lismore and return and these were specially timed to allow children to perform and return home the same evening. Boats called at all stops wherever necessary. Special trains ran from Casino, and from Bangalow, calling at all stations in between, excursion fares applied.

Rail and river were kings. Today Bus timetables come first - the road is king - school children`s performances must finish by 2pm.

Our volunteers are still priceless. Our competitors are beautiful. Our highly qualified adjudicators are greatly esteemed. Teachers` skills are reinforced and each performer receives written comments on every item presented, trophies and medals awarded.

Audiences are welcomed, details are available from the secretary. Contact by email info@lismoreeisteddfod.

com.au or go to web www.lismoreeisteddfod.


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