The procession seemed to go on forever and people crowded along Auburn Street to take in the fabulous floats.
Department stores Knowlmans and Rogers dazzled with large floats decked out liberally in lilacs and staff perched on top. A long line of other similarly impressive efforts followed, along with marching girls, as the show moved along Goulburn's main street.
There, watching on, 18-year-old Joyce Friend, from Parkesbourne, was busy snapping the Lilac City Festival for posterity.
"I always looked forward to the festival. It was a big thing," the now Canberra woman told The Post.
"All the shop owners did a marvelous job with their window decorations and during the procession, people stood several deep to watch it. It was a long affair."
Afterwards, people flocked to Belmore Park for more activities. Up at the Odeon Theatre, an exhibition by business houses filled the foyer.
Joyce, now Mrs Hall, recalled that her mother embroidered a duchess set one year to enter in a Lilac competition.
The family would come in from their Parkesbourne property to enjoy the weekend.
"It was bigger than it is now," Mrs Hall said.
"I think it brought a lot of attention to Goulburn because people visited from out of the area. It was always regretted that it was on the October long weekend because there were so few lilacs out, but the window decorations more than made up for that... The involvement by the community and the organisation was huge."
Mrs Hall said she had always enjoyed photography. She photographed the festival throughout the 1960s and kindly shared her collection with The Post.
She also captured the 1964 festival, including the procession, on an 8mm film.
Mrs Hall said she remained very interested in Goulburn and district's history and had also photographed its buildings and the Towrang stockade.
The former Goulburn High School student moved to Canberra for work when she was 17 and later married. She still has family in the area, including brother Neville Friend in Goulburn who compiled the photographs.
'Festival will go on'
An energetic committee is continuing the Lilac tradition and putting plans in place for the 69th festival in October.
President Carol James said the event would be scaled down, given COVID-19 restrictions but would not skip a year.
"It has to go ahead," she said.
"It is NSW' longest running festival so we encourage people to decorate the whole town."
The committee met on Thursday night to discuss arrangements.
April Watson will reign for the second year as Lilac Queen but the procession will not be held due to the health risk.
The shop window display, 'lighting up the city,' including the Big Merino, the baby competition, garden contest and RSPCA pet parade, will proceed.
Cr James said organisers wanted to inject a new element every year. In 2020, this will be the canoe race from Fitzroy Bridge to Victoria Street bridge, with events for different age groups.
The committee also hopes to revive the Lilac Fun Run as part of the weekend. Discussion continues about the markets and Joyland Carnival, given COVID-19 considerations.
"It's hard because we can't do all the usual entertainment but we don't want to be responsible for anyone getting ill," Cr James said.
But the committee is keen to continue last year's success. Fifty entries took part in the procession.
"We hope 70 participate next year. We want it to be bigger and better, so we'll get people enthused this year," Cr James said.
The festival will mark its 70th year in 2021.
- The committee is looking for old photos and memorabilia of past Lilac Festivals for this year's event. Anyone who can help is encouraged to drop in to Carol James Real Estate at 126 Auburn St or phone 4821 5033.
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