Not everyone went to church on New Years Eve as The Queanbeyan Observer observed, “many indulged in hilarious pastimes, some of a highly reprehensible character for which it is likely the chief actors will yet be called to account”.
Time to Repent
The above comments may indicate that the author of the article was teetotaler John Gale who was also a magistrate and may have been looking forward to dishing out the punishment through the courts for the inebriated hilarious actors.
Towards the closing, cloudy hours of the old year the bells of the Queanbeyan Church of England and Wesleyan Church had rang out “lustily” calling the “devouts” to the exercise of religious services, which might bring “profitable results to the worshipers” during the dying of the old year and the birth of the New Year.
Lost and found
But all was not lost because the fallen still time to repent at St Stephen’s Prebyterian church and St Gregory’s Catholic church where early devotions on New Years day were held and were “exceedingly well attended”.
Boxing day attractions had been disappointing with only out of town horse racing at Foxlow and a cricket match at Captain’s Flat, but on New Year’s day Queanbeyan came alive with country visitors attracted by the program of a pageant, a sports competition and a ball at night planned by the committee of United Friendly Societies.
New Years day was full of “joint energy and forethought” as the friendly societies prepared the events of the day. the community were all of a “quiver” that the planned events and especially the pageant (procession) would meet their expectations.
If Queanbeyan – a small country town in 1895 with a population of around 1250 could attract the surrounding district to its New Year day activities including a procession of a band; and three men only societies with a banner each; what does it say about our own ineptitude or that of our leaders that the City of Queanbeyan cannot muster from its own troops of 38,000, enough people, with or without banners, to form a parade of sorts?
Surely there must be some people around who can still muster a “quiver” at the sight of real people in a real live procession?
Outside the Protestant Hall in Crawford Street, where the men assembled, the Town Band played a few airs in their lead up to leading the procession, just like the “performance of suitable and enjoyable music on New Years Eve the night before”.
The 1895 pageant followed the following streets: Up Rutledge Street, along Lowe Street to Monaro Street across the Queen’s bridge by way of Trinculo Place into Macquoid Street, back across the bridge into Monaro Street to Crawford Street and then down Morrissett (sic) Street to the Town Park, where the procession disbanded and the band entertained.
The Observer noticed that the magnificent banner of the “Sons of Temperance” and its members were absent from the procession with no explanation given and although this “ingredient would have added materially to the event, even in its absence, it was still a very creditable procession for a country town” and was proud to report that the crowds of spectators who watched the hearty pageant and listened to the music of the band during the procession and in the park were “much gratified”.1 - 2
Footnotes / Resource
1. Articles: (i) “New Years Day in Queanbeyan”; (ii) “Friendly Societies Demonstration”; (iii) “The Sports”; (iv) “The Ball”, The Queanbeyan Observer & Mining Record, January 4, 1895.
2. “Connee-Colleen Queanbeyan Outlook” © Lust of New Year,” (122). The Queanbeyan Age, January 11, 2008, p. 20.
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