Bryn Cymro

Words and images from home and away

What’s Moomba?

Parents — wanna go to Moomba?

Kids— what’s Moomba?

Moomba Film

A B&W film from 1965 makes it look like the 1860s, but there are some interesting floats including the Department of Science lunar module. I only came to Melbourne in 1967 and don’t remember being taken to the Moomba parades (though I can remember collecting plastic lunar modules out of cornflakes packets). Also featured in the clip are Melbourne University students on their “Banned Wagon”, opposing censorship of Mary McCarthy’s The Group, Nabakov’s Lolita and the like. This was in a long tradition pre-dating Moomba of university students conducting their “annual revels” at least from the 1890s. Melbourne University students regularly marched by torchlight from Carlton to the city in fancy dress on commencement of theatre or amusement nights at the People’s Palace, the Bijou Theatre, Princess Theatre or Princes Court.

Things of yore from the 1950s and 1960s — tobacco ads, standing on verandahs and rooftops to get a better view, women wearing white gloves. But the past looks quite different in colour don’t you think? The City of Melbourne Arts + Culture flickr stream has some great shots (a pink touch of India on the 1961 Myer float), as does the SLV catalogue.

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3 comments on “What’s Moomba?

  1. Keir
    March 9, 2014

    Great post Andrew, are you getting back in the saddle?

  2. AM
    March 10, 2014

    Speaking of saddles, check out the panto horse in the film footage

  3. Jeff McGee
    March 11, 2014

    Thanks for that Andy, it brings back memories. I do remember being taken to early Moomba parades and staring in awe at the floats. the Myer float was always the highlight while the behaviour of the Melbourne Uni and RMIT students caused both mirth and outrage among the citizenry. I remember riding my bike over to Alexandra Gardens to get a closer look at the floats at the end of the parade -it wasn’t far from Albert Park.- where I was offered a job selling ice creams. It was a nice warm day and I couldn’t keep up with the demand. I think I went home with 2 pounds ten shillings in my pocket, which is the biggest pay day I had achieved up until then. It beat selling papers outside pubs. I remember a float that trumpeted the making of On The Beach in Melbourne but alas Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck were nowhere to be seen. It must have been about 1958. Apart from the photos of Moomba -which I’m reliably informed means back hole in some Koorie languages-the photos of the horse races and the professional foot race caught my eye. The winner is none other than Austin Robertson who was world professional sprint champion and also played for the Swans during the foreign legion era of the 1930s. He missed the 1933 premiership because he was in the USA defending his title. His son Austin Junr. also played at South and later on become one of the architects of Packer’s world series cricket. He had previously been Dennis Lillie’s manager. And to think that most lefties saw Moomba as a conservative conspiracy to consign Labour Day to the rubbish bin of history. Cheers, Torch.

    >>> Bryn Cymro 9/03/2014 2:26 PM >>>

    AM posted: “Parents — wanna go to Moomba? Kids— what’s Moomba? A B&W film from 1965 makes it look like the 1860s, but there are some interesting floats including the Department of Science lunar module. I only came to Melbourne in 1967 and don’t remember bei”

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2014 by in Home, Melbourne and tagged , , , .
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