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Johnnie's annual procession thru Adelaide
Title : Johnnie's annual procession thru Adelaide Johnnie's annual procession thru Adelaide
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Creator : Moody, Percival Tom Stephen
Date of creation : 1938
Format : Film
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Mr Bill Moody. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Mr Bill Moody and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Adelaide's Christmas Pageant has played a key role in the lives of generations of South Australians since the Great Depression era of the 1930s. It is a tradition started by John Martin's department store in 1933.

The Hayward family owned John Martin's for more than 100 years. The Adelaide Christmas Pageant was the idea of Sir Edward Hayward who was involved with the company from 1932 to 1980. When he was overseas in the early 1930s, Hayward was inspired by the Toronto Santa Claus Parade and Macy's Day Parade to conduct a pageant in Adelaide, emphasised as part of the process of 'shrugging off the despondency of the depression years'.

The first Christmas Pageant was held on Saturday 18 November 1933. A skilful advertising campaign was conducted to build up interest and ensure a good turnout. From 7 November, radio broadcasts and John Martin's advertisements in The Advertiser detailed Father Christmas' 'flight across the World to participate in the 'wonderful and elaborate 'Fairyland' Pageant'', 'specially organised and produced for the big welcome of Father Christmas to 'The Magic Cave' at 'The BIG Store'.'

Newspaper reports of the Pageant recorded crowds five deep on either side of King William Street, but many more in Rundle Street: 'Many, after seeing it in one street, hurried to another to take a second view. At the Beehive corner alone, thousands of people congregated, and, for the moment pedestrians took charge of the traffic arrangements.'

The first parade started with just eight floats and four bands. Its initial success was the start of a continuing tradition which has outlasted its founders. In the last 75 years there have been only four years (during World War Two) when the Christmas Pageant was not held. The Pageant is now owned, managed and directed by Events South Australia, a division of the South Australian Tourism Commission. Naming rights sponsors are six South Australian Credit Unions, with additional assistance from the Adelaide City Council, David Jones and many volunteers.

The Credit Union Christmas Pageant is a South Australian institution, traditionally heralding the start of the Christmas season. From its humble beginnings, the event has grown to be the largest pageant of its kind in the world. Recognised as a South Australian heritage icon, the pageant remains a free event. And to many in the community, both participants and onlookers, it is an opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season of joy and goodwill.

Related names :

John Martin & Co.

Period : 1927-1939
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Adelaide's once-a-year day , Adelaide: Commercial Printing House, [1977]

Internet links :



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