In a simpler and more innocent age Brisbane had the Warana Festival, a great annual Spring extravaganza which began in 1962 and included a 2 hour parade through the city streets featuring decorated floats, marching girls, entertainers, and bands, under the blue Brisbane skies. Warana, which is an aboriginal word for “blue skies”, endured until the early 1990s and was eventually transformed into the more sophisticated Brisbane Festival of today.
The John Oxley Library has recently received a donation of photographs which include some fabulous shots of Warana parades in Brisbane from the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the photos are currently being digitised however here is a sneak preview to coincide with the beginning of Spring and hopefully bring back some happy Warana memories.
The Miss Warana Quest was launched in 1964, attracting entrants from most parts of the state, and was run as a charity event to raise money for worthy causes.
Warana also encompassed a wide variety of activities and events including a horticultural Spring Festival; open air art display; writers’ convention; city illuminations; art exhibition; concerts; film screenings; water ski shows; and sporting events, to name but a few.
One event was the Warana canoe race on the Brisbane River.
The Clare Sheldon Photographs, Accession 30963, include other wonderful images from around south east Queensland including Dreamworld, the Big Pineapple, Buderim Ginger Factory, the Redland Bay Strawberry Festival, and the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Festival. The collection is available at the John Oxley Library and many of the photographs will eventually be available online.
Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland