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18 November 1933 Christmas Pageant

18 November 1933     Christmas Pageant

The first John Martin’s Christmas pageant paraded through the streets of Adelaide, from Angas Street to the store in Rundle Street, on Saturday 18 November 1933. Aeroplanes flew low over the city with loud hailers to advertise the event. The cast ranged from the ‘Old woman who lived in a shoe’ to the one and only Father Christmas. The most ambitious float was a battle cruiser, manned by a female crew, and complete with guns, Britannia and John Bull with bulldog. Thousands of people lined the street to see the eight floats with three bands. Apart from five years during the war (1940-44) the pageant has thrilled young and old every November and over the years has grown larger and more spectacular. In 1987 there were 72 sets which included 61 floats, 16 bands from the city and country towns and over 1300 people taking part. Traditionally the Pageant was set off, right on time, when Sir Edward Hayward blew a whistle; he did this every year until his death in 1983. From 1986 the State Bank joined forces with John Martin’s and now, this well-loved annual event goes under the banner of the Credit Unions. In 2009 the pageant had 3873 volunteers in the parade and behind the scenes working hard to present the spectacle.

Advertiser, 20 November 1933.

Tags: Christmas Pageant