Carols has a fantastic rich history that spans over 80 years! Here are some of our favourite snippets from the early years of this wonderful Christmas festival.
- While Norman Banks is known as the driving force behind the creation of Carols by Candlelight, it was his secretary, Dot Dawson, who coined the iconic event name.
- The proceeds of Carols during the years of World War 2 were shared between the Red Cross and the Comforts Fund, supporting Australian soldiers both returned and abroad.
- In 1943, greetings from Lord Mayors across the world – including London, Ottawa, Capetown, Wellington, and even New York – were broadcast to crowds at Alexandra gardens during the event.
- 1949 saw the first major international spin-off, with a Carols by Candlelight event taking place in England. The Melbourne organisers sent a package of candles and sticks as a gesture of well-wishes.
- In 1956, Carols was broadcast by television station GTV9 via three cameras – and expected to reach as far as Ararat, 160 miles away from transmission!
- For a number of years through the 1950s, a parade of torch bearers would proceed through the grounds before the performances began. They were typically young women dressed in white flowing gowns.