Reg Byrnes, historian and life member of the Festival of the Fish and Chips, would like the community to look for memorabilia such as this 1970 poster, and to help revive some of the bygone activities for the festival’s 50th birthday next year.
Reg Byrnes, historian and life member of the Festival of the Fish and Chips, would like the community to look for memorabilia such as this 1970 poster, and to help revive some of the bygone activities for the festival’s 50th birthday next year.

50th party for Bruns Fish and Chips fest

The Brunswick Heads Festival of the Fish and Chips is 50 years old next January and the committee is already hard at work planning a very special celebration.

The festival started when the McGregor family came to Brunswick Heads to run the carnival over summer in the late 1950s, and then had the idea that a woodchop carnival would be a winner to add to the entertainment for holiday makers in Banner Park.

“Locals went out and got fallen ironbark limbs,” recalled committee member Reg Byrnes with a chuckle, “and they were chopped on the ground, no cradles – it’s a wonder a few toes didn’t go.”

In the early years all kinds of events were joined on to the festival to add to the fun: sand modelling, treasure hunts, tug-of-war, fence painting, dances, beach girl quest, talent quest, processions, the Blessing of the Fleet, while organisations like the CWA and Red Cross held stalls to raise funds for their own purposes.

Over the years most of these events and activities have dropped away due to lack of volunteers and the cost of public liability, but the committee is aiming for a revival of some of them for its 2010 festival.

“What we want to do for the 50th anniversary,” said committee treasurer Joy Slater, “is to bring a few of those activities forward for a one-off community festival over that period.”

The committee invites anyone interested in taking part in the 50th Festival of the Fish and Chips to attend a meeting on Sunday, March 15, at 11am in the Fire Station Training Centre in Fingal Street, Brunswick Heads, and also to bring along any memorabilia, such as photos or old programs, that they may have sitting in drawers or cupboards.

Those planning on attending should RSVP to slater@linknet.com.au or to Joy Slater on 66801170 or Roslyn Hogan on 66284495.

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