Memories of the early years of Moomba, particularly of the pageant and my involvement in those early years.
Now as a ‘Senior Citizen’, or as some people would have it a ‘Golden Oldie’, I recall fond memories of those early Moomba years, particularly the Pageant. That’s what the ‘Golden Oldies’ treasure most, their memories of days gone by. In those days one became emotional involved and caught up in the excitement of the Parade, its characters, its animation and its colour. Who of us oldies can’t recall the joy and pleasure we felt back in the good old days as we watched the passing Parade? We still wonder at seeing the stamina and balance of stilt man Alex German as he negotiated the tramlines, still hear the applause for the colourful and changing costumes of Denver Dixon and still smile at the antics of the clowns and appreciate the ingenuity of Eric Wilson’s whirring, honking and backfiring jalopy. Who of us oldies can’t forget the elegance and craftsmanship of floats entered by Evergreens, Coles, Myer, Peters, Gas and Fuel, SEC or the outrageous RMIT. We remember many other floats back then, industrial, commercial and cultural, entries from television and radio stations, commercial theatre and other organisations. Remember the ever popular Zig and Zag, sadly no more. Oh…how we loved a Parade. Remember the whistles as the marching girls passed, the clapping of hands in time with the beat of the music. Remember the Brass and Pipe bands, the stirring martial music of the Service Bands. Remember the colourful costumes of our ethnic community groups as they parade in their national dress. Then there were the clowns, the Disney characters, animals, mounted policemen and, always a spectacle, the Chinese section. We can all look back and remember those who took part in the glittering displays from year to year, parade to parade. One of my most outstanding memories was watching the crowds lining the route, a sea of happy, expectant faces, young and old, beaming smiles and generous applause. Those memories time can never erase. Why, you ask, are those memories so vivid to me? You see back then there was a personal involvement. From 1957 to 1965 I had a major role, first as a volunteer, then as a staff member and Assistant Organiser, in running and organising those pageants. Looking back, in addition to those wonderful memories, is the self satisfaction of knowing that I have played a role in bringing enjoyment and entertainment to the masses. It was great to be part of the passing Parade.