Once A Queen

Once A Queen

Downloadable Video - 2015
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For over 75 years the town of Grafton on the mighty Clarence River in northern New South Wales still celebrates its rich history by the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen. In the 1880s Henry Volckers, a German migrant, planted the seeds of the Jacaranda tree which he imported from South America. By 1935, the town was amazed at the magnificent avenues of beautiful flowering trees that were of such beauty and splendour that they decided to hold a yearly festival to celebrate the 'arrival of the blossoms' and to crown a girl 'queen of the town'. The central highlight to this day is the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen. This is not a beauty pageant, and she must be many things to many people in order to represent the town for the coming year. Tradition and ceremony are still central to the 'good old fashioned values' of the festival, in a contemporary world of uncertain futures. 2004 saw the 70th Anniversary of the festival when award-winning filmmaker Lawrence Johnston set out to explore the importance of the festival to the town and what it means to the many women who have been crowned Jacaranda Queen throughout the festival's rich history. Once A Queen is a beautiful, evocative and emotional portrait, not only of the women and the festival, but also of a proud and vibrant community. The story is specific, but also universal: in the USA, for example, many small town festivals take great pride in their young women competing to be a 'Queen' in a variety of guises. In Australia we have the Beef Queen, Banana Queen, Prawn Queen and Opal Queen which all relate to something particular about their town and identity. But few Australian festivals have the scale, profile or longevity of Grafton's beautiful Jacaranda Festival. Directed by Lawrence Johnston.
Publisher: [San Francisco, California, USA] :, Kanopy Streaming,, 2015
Characteristics: 1 online resource (streaming video file)
Additional Contributors: Johnston, Lawrence
Kanopy (Firm)


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