Following is a letter to the Bingara Advocate from Michael Brown from Wagga Wagga who thought he would throw a little nostalgia into the Thomson Cup Athletics carnival and Orange Festival. He wrote:
As a now regular weekly subscription reader of the Advocate from Wagga Wagga, I would just like to reflect on how both the Thomson Cup and the Orange Festival rated when I was a born and bred student of “ Bingara Intermediate High School” from 1958 to 1968.
The Orange Festival I remember was a great occasion, an event on the school calendar every year where teachers like Gus Stevens and John Lennan would march us up Riddell Street into Finch Street, making sure we picked the oranges in an orderly manner and didn’t throw the peels all over the place and spit the seeds at each other!
From memory Mr Don Whiteman from the Council always seem to be running it with his boss Mr Whitfield as well as a gentleman from the RSL Club. It was always a great day especially as for us young kids, and a terrific opportunity to get out of school too of course!
The Thomson Cup Athletics was something I looked forward to every year. I was never much good at football or cricket but loved running. To me the Thomson Cup March up the main street of Bin-gara was fantastic; it put our school on show. Looking back now and picturing the four teams – Lawson (Red), Kendall (Green), Paterson (Yellow) and Gordon (Blue) – it certainly made a striking scene in Maitland Street.
The Banners, the streamers and everyone in their team colors marching in near perfect defence force stride ( a lot of the precision marching I reckon was due to the supervision by Principal Tom Wells , he made sure everyone was immaculate in every respect!). The teachers used to make us all train for weeks leading up to the carnival.
From memory I think I it was around 1966 when the carnival was moved from the Golf Course to Gw-ydir Oval where we had to learn to run round instead of straight! I remember I ran the 400 in about 57 sec and secured the record from my brother ( who I’m sure still claims it was only because he ran 440 yards and I only ran 400 metres!) There must be people still in Bingara who remember these days – they were such good memories.
I had occasion to chat to another ex local (John Choice) a couple of weeks ago at a football function here in Wagga (Aussies Rules –go Swannies) – we went down memory lane about Bingara and both agreed that the Orange Festival and Thomson Cup were icons of Bingara.
Bob’s email address is available from the Bingara Advocate if anyone would like to contact him.