Markets and exhibitions hail bard’s birthday celebrations as festival arrives

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BANJO: The Banjo Paterson Museum's Alf Cantrell, Rotary Club of Orange member Len Banks and festival committee chairman Justin Byrne.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BANJO: The Banjo Paterson Museum's Alf Cantrell, Rotary Club of Orange member Len Banks and festival committee chairman Justin Byrne.

THE fourth annual celebration of the life of one of Orange’s most famous exports starts on Thursday with the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival.

From breakfast and poetry in the park for the next five days, night markets and a poetry competition through to plays, yabby hunts, horse racing and the annual Banjo Business Awards, committee chairman Justin Byrne said there were plenty of activities on offer.

“We’re taking a poet into a range of schools next week to perform but also run workshops in writing poetry – it’s really about trying to encourage young people to write poetry,” he said.

“[Paterson is] not the only good bush poet but because his subjects are so iconic in terms of Australian folklore and culture, you can really only have so many who can do this job and it’s accessible and people can read it and understand it.”

Brand Orange executive officer Rhonda Sear said Friday’s night market at Robertson Park would feature 30 food and wine stalls, including a bush tucker stall with kangaroo sliders and Aboriginal dancers.

“We’re trying to get the indigenous cultural aspect to some of our events – so as part of the itinerary we’ve got an indigenous cultural adventures tour where they’re taking us to some of the sacred sites which have never been showcased so there’s Wiradjuri elders escorting those tours,” she said.

Paterson was born on the Narrambla property on February 17, 1864 and spent his early childhood in Yeoval. 

Festival events

  • Rotary Brekky and Poetry in Robertson Park from Thursday to Saturday. 
  • Banjo Paterson display at Emmaville Cottage – Open daily 10am-3pm.
  • Banjo Paterson Museum, Yeoval – Open daily 9am-3pm.
  • Breakfast with Banjo at the Orange Civic Centre on Friday.
  • Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Competition on Saturday.
  • Family Market Day at Emmaville Cottage on Sunday.
  • Banjo Paterson Cup and Banjo Business Awards on February 25.
  • Program – visit www.banjopatersonfestival.com.au
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