HIstory Matters || Empire Day 1930 celebrated with gusto by Mt Mitchell school

Empire Day was May 24 celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday and to honour the British Empire.

With a focus on school children, there were patriotic activities across Australia and many will remember it for cracker night - bonfires, double bungers, fountains, Roman candles, sparklers, catherine wheels and rockets set up in bottles.

The Glen Innes Examiner Tuesday May 13, 1930 reported the Mt Mitchell school Empire Day [early] celebrations in glowing terms.

Empire Day celebrations an excellent programme

Nowhere in the district - probably nowhere else in the Commonwealth - was Empire Day celebrated with more impressiveness or enthusiasm than at the Mt Mitchell school on Wednesday last.

The celebration took a most appropriate from, and the children, the central figures in the proceedings, manifested a full knowledge of the importance and value of the day.

By mid-morning there was a crowd estimated at 350 in the Mt Mitchell school grounds in the centre of which was a platform liberally and artistically draped with red, white, and blue Mr Adams, president of the Mt Mitchell Parents and Citizens Association, presided and with appropriate reference to the significance of Empire Day, opened the proceedings...

Each portion of the great British Empire was represented by a scholar in characteristic dress, and as each one ascended in turn to the stage a short recital of the contribution of that portion of the nation's greatness was made.

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Each child acquitted him or herself excellently, the recital and deportment of the child reflecting the concentration and ability which their teacher Miss Parker had brought to bear in the training of the young folk.

The participating children and the representations were as follows.

How the Union Jack was made, Phyllis Williamson; Britannia, Sybil Donald; Sir Austin Chamberlain, Reg Kerr; Australia, Norman Donald; NSW, Joyce Wetherspoons; Tasmania, Lucy Donald; Canada, Edna Sargeant; India, Bob Donald; New Zealand, Wallace Rose; Ceylon, Bruce Wetherspoon; New Guinea, Carrie Crampton; Egypt, Doris Smith; British Guard, Milton Morley; South Africa, Roy Donald; Fiji, Claude Kerr; Nigeria, Les Smith; Sierra Leone, Jack Sargeant; Gold Coast, Herb Crampton.

Each child was introduced by a scholar suitable attired and bearing a marked resemblance to Sir Joseph Chamberlain minus his eye glass.

MARKED RESEMBLANCE: Sir Joseph Chamberlain, left, in Switzerland in 1926. Picture: F H Jullien, courtesy of Australian War Memorial

MARKED RESEMBLANCE: Sir Joseph Chamberlain, left, in Switzerland in 1926. Picture: F H Jullien, courtesy of Australian War Memorial

In the course of a speech Mr Adams expressed appreciation of the presence of the mayor, Alderman W A Cramsie and Ald. Coates and conveyed his thanks to the local community for their attendance in such large numbers.

He then called on the Deputy Mayor to deliver an address.

Ald. Coates opened his address by laying stress on the fact that the British Navy was the first line of defence as far as Australia was concerned.

He touched on colonisation, a very material link in the strengthening of the Empire, and urged upon the gathering how very necessary it was that we in the colonies should ever endeavour to uphold the reputation of the Empire.

Ald. Coates dwelt upon the part Christianity had played in developing the Empire and quoted such men as Gladstone, Palmerston, Pitt, Peel, Cobden and others, all good Christians, who stood out prominently in the records of the Empire...

The Mayor ventured the pinion that in no part of the Commonwealth was the celebration more impressive or spectacular than the celebration that day and he congratulated the children and their teacher on the programme.

Miss Parker had undoubtedly recorded a very fine achievement that day reflecting long and careful training of the young folk.

The Empire tableau was one of the finest Empire Day presentations he had seen.

Miss Parker stressed the importance of love, loyalty and liberty - love their parents, loyalty to their teachers,and the liberty which Australians enjoy in greater measure than the people of any other country.

The singing of the National Anthem concluded the ceremony.

An appetising lunch was served by the ladies, after which a very entertaining sports programme was submitted.

One of the features of the afternoon was the slow race won by the mayor and second, Mr Prator.

A dance in aid of the P&C was held at Glencoe the previous night and was a distinct social and financial event.

This story Empire Day 1930 celebrated with gusto by Mt Mitchell school | History first appeared on The Armidale Express.