Funding needed for 150th bash

WARWICK’s 150th birthday party planners are appealing to an illustrious Rose City daughter for some festivity funds after being refused Queensland Week funding.

She was born and baptised in Warwick, and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has advised that council should contact her as soon as possible to discuss funding options.

Ms Bligh did not respond when asked by the Daily News whether she would pay a visit to the Rose City, the first free settlement outside Brisbane, for its 150th celebrations in May next year.

The newly-formed local committee had asked for funding to run a festival concert series to coincide with Queensland Week at the beginning of June, 2011.

However the Premier said the program was “heavily subscribed with 353 applicants for the $50,000 fund”.

“Unfortunately not all applicants could be offered sponsorship this time,” she said.

Committee members Warwick Art Gallery director Karina Devine and Councillor Jo McNally were disappointed at the funding refusal.

“Considering the amount of money spent on the Q150 birthday it would be nice to get something,” Cr McNally said. “We’ve played such an important part in Queensland’s history.

“We deserve to have a good celebration and it would be wonderful if the government would get on board.”

Also on the committee is council’s communications officer Tracy Vellacott – soon to be Warwick Tourism and Events CEO.

Mrs Vellacott said the enthusiastic group involved in planning the festivities had already come up with a raft of exciting ideas, including a re-enactment of the proclamation and egg incident, a train trip, historical society open days, a family picnic day and street parade.

She confirmed they would now write to Premier Bligh and ask for other funding.

Ms Bligh said she encouraged groups to make a submission for Queensland Week funding next year, adding “but as it is the 150th year for Warwick I would also encourage the council to contact me sooner to explore further sources of funding this year”.

The Daily News asked about the Premier’s connection with Warwick and if she would attend any celebration, but received no response to the questions.

Community groups are working with Southern Downs Regional Council and hope to plan the 10-day festival from May 25 to June 4-5, 2011.

The program will focus on Warwick as a “region of firsts”, as we are the first free settlement outside Brisbane, have the first national school and first reticulated water supply.

“We wanted to look at music, machinery and business through the ages,” Mrs Vellacott added.

Warwick also has the oldest rodeo, the oldest continuing brass band in Australia and the Warwick Caledonian Society is the oldest, continuously-running Caledonian Society in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ms Devine said she would like to see the egg incident feature in celebrations.

“It’s a particularly important event for Australia but something a lot of people relate to. I enjoy the human part of our history and heritage,” she said.

Cr McNally agreed she liked to remember the human element of Warwick’s culture and said she was looking forward to celebrating people’s personal achievements.

Mrs Vellacott said the committee was looking for hometown heroes whether they are old or young.

They want to hear about locals and former locals who have success in their field whether it be sports, music, business or science.

Contact Tracy Vellacott on 4661 0305 or email Tracy.Vellacott@southerndowns.qld.gov.au


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