The Bendigo Easter Fair Society has launched its own Hall of Fame.
Easter in Bendigo would not be the same without the contribution provided for the past 150 years by the Bendigo Easter Fair Society and its members.
As a means of recognising some of the outstanding contributions that have helped grow the event throughout its 150-year history, the organisation has now launched its own Hall of Fame.
Society president Simon Mulqueen said although the pandemic had caused planned 150th anniversary celebrations to be postponed, now was still a fitting time to acknowledge the 21 inaugural inductees to the Hall of Fame.
"The Bendigo Easter Fair Society felt that as part of recognizing the enormous amount of work and the significant contribution various individuals have made over our 150-year history, it was appropriate to establish the Bendigo Easter Fair Society - Hall of Fame.
"The individuals recognized have given sustained and/or invaluable service to the Bendigo Easter Fair at various times over its long history from 1871 until today," Mr Mulqueen said.
The individuals recognized have given sustained and/or invaluable service to the Bendigo Easter Fair at various times over its long historySimon Mulqueen
The list includes 19 individuals as well as the iconic Loong and Sun Loong Chinese imperial dragons.
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Violee Myers Davey OAM gave more than 80-years service as a volunteer working tirelessly on street stalls and selling raffle tickets in support of the Bendigo Easter Fair Society, and joins fellow Life Member and former Bendigo mayor Norm Quin as one of the true community champions included in the Hall of Fame.
For his part, Mr Quin remains the longest serving president of the Society, having served in the key role for more than 15 years, from 1982-1996. Mr Quin was awarded Life membership in 1987, and spent 18 years on the Fair committee.
Loong made its first appearance at Easter celebrations back in about 1892, and was a highlight of Easter in Bendigo every year through until 1970, when the baton was passed to Sun Loong.
For his part, crowd favourite Sun Loong retired in 2019 at the spectacular gala parade, making way for the much younger Dai Gum Loong in an historic display of tradition, heritage, pomp and colour. Other community members included in the Hall of Fame include William Heffernan, most often associated with helping establish the original Shamrock Hotel.
"Often overlooked but critical to the movement to create the Easter Fair, he called a meeting of interested parties on January 1, 1871 at the Shamrock Hotel which resulted in the establishment of the First Easter Fair Committee," Mr Mulqueen said of the famous Irishman and journeyman.
Others honoured as part of the Hall of Fame initiative include founding chairman George Aspinall, his fellow committee members James Burnside, John Woodward, James Rae, Campbell Houston, Jacob Cohn, John Stewart, Alfred Hinton, famed architect William Vahland and Messrs Thunder, Meader and Melrose.
Long serving secretary from the 1950s and early 1960s, Mr E Hains joins Charles Morgan and Mr E Flood, who both shared duties of Grand Marshall and Assistant Grand Marshall for approximately 20 years to earn their recognition.
The final inductee was Mr Harry M. Marks, who served as president and secretary during his 23-years involvement in the Society dating back to 1887.
A scaled-down version of Easter celebrations will be staged across the city in 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions, with organisers looking to 2022 to appropriately celebrate the Bendigo Easter Fair.
"The Society wants to assure the community it is already preparing for the return to a more normal Easter Fair in 2022 with huge celebrations planned and where this community can celebrate 150 years of this iconic event cherished by so many Bendigonians and visitors alike," Mr Mulqueen said.
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