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The first annual Eisteddfod 1970

Tuesday, 13th August, 2019

Rehearsing for the Folk Section of the first ever Eisteddfod were Ann Goodrich and Jan Provis. They had been a singing duo for three years and sang with the Saint Joseph’s High School Choir in the Eisteddfod as well. PICTURE: Barrier Daily Truth, 1970 Rehearsing for the Folk Section of the first ever Eisteddfod were Ann Goodrich and Jan Provis. They had been a singing duo for three years and sang with the Saint Joseph’s High School Choir in the Eisteddfod as well. PICTURE: Barrier Daily Truth, 1970

The first Eisteddfod was held at the Civic Centre on September 15 to 20 in 1970.

The Office Bearers of the Broken Hill Eisteddfod Society 1969-1970 were:

Patron: Mr. D F Fairweather

President: Mr. Joe Keenan

Chairman: Mr. Hartley Harvy

Vice: Mr. B Johnson

Secretary/Treasurer: Mr. L Diwell

Assistant: Mrs. J Diwell

Publicity Officer: Mrs. Pauline Rauert

Committee: Mr. Don Mudie, Mr. G Devlin

Auditor: Mr. W R Smith

There were six sections: Vocal and Choral, Piano and Violin, Organ, Popular and Highland Dancing, but there were only five Adjudicators; 

Mr. Phillip Britton - Piano, Violin, Vocal and Choral 

Mrs. Barbara Petfield - Highland Dancing  

Mr. Greg Hocking - Popular (pop groups folk and instrumental)  

Mr. Bruce Warhurst - Organ 

Mr. Gal John - Brass  

Sections were Highland Dancing, Piano, Violin, Organ, School Choirs, Brass, Vocal (in this section they had to dress formally) Folk Solo, Folk Groups, Instrumental Solos and Groups, plus there were pop groups battling it out on the Saturday night.

The success of a “Youth Festival” the previous year paved the way for the forming of a local Eisteddfod Society. In the first year it had a membership of 50.

There was a great response to the first Eisteddfod with 600 performers taking part, three times as many as the Committee expected. 

Mr. Ian Bates, who was one the founding members, brought a choir of 50 from Dubbo to compete.  

There was also a party of 17 from South Australia in the Brass Section representing the South Australian Band Association. 

Most entries were in the Highland Dancing section and the next most popular was Piano. 

All sections had competitors from local, intrastate and interstate.  

There was prize money of $700.00.  

Admission prices were:  Day Session 20c, Evening Session 40c and Children 10c. 

Saturday Night Pop Concert was 60c.

The Official Opening  was on Tuesday night at 7.30pm.  

The Acting Mayor Mr. T Stokie, Town Clerk Mr. Harry Keelan, President BIC Mr. Joe Keenan, Inspector of Schools Mr. B Boyle and a representative of the Mining Managers took part in the Opening Ceremony. 

In the Brass Section all the seats were filled in the Auditorium.

The final event of the Eisteddfod was a Grand Concert by selected First Prize winners on Sunday at 7.30pm. 

Other prize winners received their prizes and certificates. 

Overall the first Eisteddfod was a great success with all the Adjudicators praising the organizers.  

There was a letter from Mr. G F Sorrell, President of the SA Band Association, praising the Eisteddfod and saying; “Every citizen of Broken Hill should be proud of those people who were responsible for organizing and promoting last week’s festival of Music and Dance in surrounding equal to anywhere in Australia”.

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