Digitised @SLQ: Photograph of Miss Grace Perry, "Queen of Queens" of the Queensland Patriotic Carnival, 1915
By JOL Admin | 24 October 2016
The studio photograph above shows Miss Grace Perry, representing the firm of T.C. Beirne and Co., in her regalia as "Queen of Queens" of the Queensland Day Patriotic Carnival in 1915. The carnival was held at Davies Park in South Brisbane, on the 25th September, in aid of the Disabled Soldiers' Fund. In the Queens' Competition candidates were nominated by six business houses whose employees collected and donated money towards the war effort.
Staff of the department store, T.C. Beirne's Queen competition, 1915. The Queen in the foreground with the long train is Grace Perry. Source: John Oxley Library, Record No. 246397.
The day began with a procession of the Queens and their retinues through the streets of the city to South Brisbane. According to a report in the Brisbane Courier, 27 September, 1915, the display "was watched by many thousands of persons". The report continues:
The afternoon was intensely hot and the fact that the competing queens and their retinues were exposed in the blazing heat for over two hours without even a parasol, did not add to their comfort. The scene itself however, apart from this, was charming".
Crowds watching a patriotic carnival procession in Brisbane, 1915. This is possibly the patriotic carnival at which Grace Perry was crowned Queen. Source: John Oxley Library, Negative No. 203754.
After the arrival at Davies Park Miss Grace Perry was crowned by Sir Arthur Morgan, president of the Queensland Legislative Council, who also presented her with an inscribed gold bangle.
The carnival also included a sporting programme which featured a display of physical drill and dancing by pupils of the West End State School as well as a gymnastics display by the Y.M.C.A. In the evening a successful concert was held, featuring several selections by the Kurilpa Brass Band.
Gymnastic display at a patriotic fair held at Milton, Brisbane, September 1915. Source: John Oxley Library, Negative No. 24242.
During the war events of this kind were a practical way for those at home to contribute towards the war effort and must also have been a way of boosting morale in their local communities. A vast number of benevolent societies, patriotic funds and charities were formed to raise money to support the soldiers at the front and those that had returned, many of them wounded and often permanently disabled. Other beneficiaries were Australian prisoners of war and families who had lost a husband, father or son, who may have been their sole means of support.
The fund raising took many different forms including raffles and lotteries, patriotic carnivals, and special days such as "Win the War Day", "Allies Day" and even "Do Without Week".
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