Rye 150th Grand Parade
Despite the disappointment of the ‘Enterprize” not being able to berth at the Rye pier because of the strong winds (it was securely tied up at Blairgowrie), the parade and ceremonies proved very popular.
Assembling at the RSL car park, the parade of thirty groups and floats moved off at noon headed by the police car, followed by the Town Crier. After the banner of the Rye Historical Society, the swing of the kilts and skirl of the pipes of the Victoria Police Pipe Band thrilled the crowd. The Anglican Church Parish of St Andrew and St John with their fishing boats was followed by a float representing the pioneer families of Rye. The representatives of government followed – the Mayor of the Shire Cr Graham Pittock and CEO Dr Michael Kennedy OAM, Hon Greg Hunt MP Member for Flinders, Rye resident Martin Dixon MP, State Minister for Education and Cr Bill Goodrem, Rye Ward Councillor. Then followed the oldest sporting club in Rye, founded in 1891 the Rye Cricket Club, Rye Primary School with its brightly coloured bathing boxes, and the Womens Resource Centre dressed in period costume doing chores of earlier times, followed by the girls of the Rye Academy of Dance. Vintage cars were a popular sight, and six open cars carried the Miss Rye Community entrants. The Rye Lions Club, a valuable part of Rye for 40 years, the Tennis Club now 50 years old, followed by the SP Concert Band. Tootgarook Primary School in their special vehicles, the Rye junior and senior football clubs (founded in 1946) with their netball club, the Rye and Tootgarook Scouts and Cubs walking together, and the striking colours of Gunnamatta SLSC. The Rye Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank, a sponsor of the parade was followed by the Rye & District Basketball Club. A strong contingent from the Rye Bowls Club now over 50 years since formation, and the Rye Netball Club. The Rye RSL, who provided the marshals for the parade to start, the CFA’s Rye Fire Brigade formed in the late 40s, headed by an early model fire truck followed by three modern ones. The Mornington Youth and Citizens Brass Band played stirring marching music before the Dunes Golf Club. The SP Toy Library children were very cute on their tricycles, scooters and other wheeled toys trying to keep up with the ones in front. To round off the parade the magnificent clydesdales with the CUB wagon with barrels, and the dog on top, complemented by Rye Hotel waitresses in period dress each carrying a tray of refreshments.
Because the Governor of 1861 Sir Henry Barkly could not come in by ship, he walked from the pier accompanied by his Aide, where he was greeted by the shot from a cannon on the beach. Walking up to the flagpole guarded by soldiers, he raised the Union Jack while the Rye school choir in period dress made by their teacher, sang God Save the Queen, as it was Queen Victoria in 1861. The crowd close by were startled as the soldiers fired a musket volley! Opening up a scroll he read the Proclamation of Rye becoming a town, and the big crowd gave three hearty cheers.
The School choir was now on the stage and led the crowd in Advance Australia Fair as the Australian flag was raised on its flag pole. The Mayor Cr Graham Pittock spoke, acknowledging the first inhabitants, then congratulating Rye on its milestone and its great community spirit, progress and endeavours. He read a message from the Most Worshipful Mayor of Rye in East Sussex England, which had arrived a few hours before. Hon Greg Hunt spoke of the quest to bring the Flinders map of Australia back here where it can be on display to the people. Flinders named it ‘Australia’, the first time the name had been used. Minister Martin Dixon spoke as a Rye citizen on the virtues of the area, while Cr Goodrem achieved his dream of proclaiming about 30 people of Rye ‘locals’ – those who were not born in Rye but have resided here for over 50 years.
The program closed with The South Coast Dance School entertaining everyone with Irish dancing. Five ‘old style products’ stalls were busy all day, and a hit was the 1886 French Carousel provided by Michael Wittingslow. For a gold coin donation to the new Rye playground, rides were available to young children and there were many wide smiles on their faces.
"The Old Schoolhouse" Rye Primary School,
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