I grew up in Grafton and have some wonderful memories of Jacarandas and the Jacaranda Festival from my childhood.
My sister and I were talking about it last week and she reminded me of how we used to watch the parade on Jacaranda Saturday that wound its way through the streets of Grafton with the Jacaranda Queen and Princess gliding past…and this huge bizarre green turtle that used to spray water out his nose at the people watching the parade. I can’t remember what it was doing there, but presumably it had nothing to do with saving water!
My other clear memories are those of numerous Jacaranda Thursdays when we used to have the day off school, it was an official holiday for us in Grafton, and once we were old enough, we used to run around having all sorts of fun with water pistols, coloured hair spray and shaving cream – sounds very civilised doesn’t it? We lived in a country town, we had to have something to amuse us.
As young children we used to spend countless hours rehearsing in the heat and dust for the school spectacular when we would perform in front of (many?) people, usually wearing crepe paper outfits and hoping it would rain and transform our clothes into multicoloured disasters.
Last weekend was the big weekend in Grafton for the Jacaranda Festival, and whilst it has been many years since I have been to one I still think fondly of them and thought it would be interesting to see what was in Trove regarding it.
This was an article about the first Jacaranda Festival held in Grafton in 1935.
So, it would appear that from the very beginning school children were very involved in the festival. There is no mention, however, of crepe paper or shaving cream. That must have come much later.