Communications Officer Tara Oldfield

Author: Tara Oldfield

Communications Officer

Australia's largest free community festival returns on the 9th of March. In anticipation for the magical Moomba Parade we thought we'd dive into our newly digitised Melbourne Harbour Trust collection of photographs and revisit Moomba of 1966 and '67.


The Moomba Parade

The Moomba Parade is traditionally held on the final day of the Moomba carnival which falls on the Labour Day public holiday. The Parade has run down Swanston Street since 1955, featuring floats, marching bands and even animals. Moomba 1966 and 1967 photos from our Melbourne Harbour Trust collection have recently been digitised. The photos show that the usually unpredictable Melbourne weather gods smiled on Melbourne both years with large crowds turning out to celebrate in the sunshine.  


Moomba 1966

Men on bikes with five wheels cycled through tambourine players, weaved past performers on stilts and past floats for organisations like Lions International. Newspapers reported that demonstrators opposed to Australia's involvement in Vietnam temporarily interrupted the procession, though the Melbourne Harbour Trust photographer didn't capture those protests in these images. 

As was tradition since Beverley Stewart's crowning in 1955, a Moomba Queen was chosen for the festivities. That year 19-year-old model Erica McMillan from Oakleigh was Moomba Queen 1966 winning the crown over eight other finalists. Sadly Erica died in a car accident only two months later. She was a passenger in the car she won as Moomba Queen.


A red and white Melbourne Harbour Trust float with five women and two men in uniforms
Melbourne Harbour Trust had its own float as part of the 1966 procession featuring staff in uniforms. Image citation: VPRS 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/22


a man on stilts holding a sign that says 'for the well balanced'
A man with a sense of humour. Image citation: 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/39


photo of the lions float which features a world globe
The Lions 'Service to our Community' float featuring world globe and volunteers dressed in white. Image citation: VPRS 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/33


Moomba 1967

A crowd of 800,000 graced the City of Melbourne for Moomba 1967 to see the two and a half hour procession and 57 floats parade down Swanston. Melbourne buildings were decorated in streamers as colourful as the floats. The Queen in 1967 was Patsy Larp of Ivanhoe, and for the very first time a Moomba King was appointed - British actor Robert Morley. 

The behaviour, and perhaps quality of the floats, of university students drew some controversy in the papers with the Director of Moomba, Don Ingersole, banning them from future Moomba carnivals:

"I make an exception with Melbourne University students because their entry on Monday was well done and a credit to them... But students from Monash and Footscray Technical and other colleges put on shows that left much to be desired. Many students behaved in poor taste. It was shocking that a roll of lavatory paper was thrown at the Lady Mayoress." Don Ingersole, Canberra Times, 15 March 1967.

Following the procession, The Seekers played to a packed crowd of 200,000 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. 


photo of bird float and crowds
This float was the winner of the Governor's Trophy. In this photo you can also see the many newspaper photographers in attendance at front. Image citation: VPRS 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/20


A close up photo of the bird float
The trophy-winning float close up. Image citation: VPRS 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/18


another man on stilts
The man on stilts is back again, this time in polka dotted pants and top hat! Image citation: VPRS 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/40


photo of gold Melbourne Harbour Trust float
This year the Melbourne Harbour Trust float won a prize - the Lord Mayor's Trophy. again the staff in uniforms are back. Image citation: VPRS 8357 P1 Unit 7 Item 4/12


tiger float
The most ferocious of the floats! Image citation: 8357 P1 Unit 17 Item 4/31


Melbourne Harbour Trust photographs

The Melbourne Harbour Trust photographic collection is in the process of being digitised. The full suite of images will be available on our website within the next six months. In the meantime we will be sharing as many as we can via our social media channels if you'd like to follow us...