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Now in its 38th year, this local festival began when a group of Eaglehawk (near Bendigo, Victoria,) citizens led by Lew Llewellyn, wanted to promote the then Borough of Eaglehawk by way of a championship Dahlia Flower Show and mass planting of Dahlias in Canterbury Park, Eaglehawk.

David Richards prepares for Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts festival 2009


With the support of local growers and a hunt for tubers by the members of the Rotary Club of Eaglehawk, massive beds of Dahlias were established in the Park and the National Dahlia Society Championship Dahlia Exhibition staged in the Town Hall. With the backing of the community an annual Street Procession began as well.

David Richards prepares for Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts festival 2009

As President of the current committee David Richards, (himself a ‘Pure bred Boroughbearian’,) explains, the whole festival is run by volunteers.

David Richards prepares for Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts festival 2009

The City of Greater Bendigo gives the committee an annual grant of $15,000 as well as ‘in kind support like road closures and that sort of thing.’

As well as the 21 events that run while the festival is on over the ten days, there is a literary program that attracts entries from all around Australia. On the evening of the opening, the winning entry is read by local poet and writing identity, Estelle Randall.

David Richards prepares for Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts festival 2009

The committee already has plans for the next few years, with ‘next year being a full blown Cornish festival,’ the year after the theme will be Welcome back cousin Jack, and the year after that will be a book published to commemorate the festival.

The very first Festival was officially opened by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe. The unique community spirit and volunteer support for the festival has encouraged the attendance of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, Premier Sir Rupert Hamer, Actor Michael Pate, Historian Geoffrey Blainey, TV Presenter Mal Walden, Ms June Bronhill, Governors of Victoria, Sir Brian Murray and Dr. Davis McCaughey, 110 year old local identity Mr. Jack Lockett and Lola Miller AM BEM (Victorian of the Year 1996) to attend as guests of honour to officially open subsequent festivals.

David Richards prepares for Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts festival 2009

To get a program of the festival, you can call in at any Eaglehawk business or go to: http://www.dahlia.bendigo.net.au

Published: Mar 16, 2009 10:50am by stlg48.

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