Kids sail into Maritime fun

by Wendy Pugh. Warrnambool Standard 20th October 1986 - ęCopyright Warrnambool Standard 1986. All rights reserved

The shipwreck coast lived up to its blustery reputation for yesterday's children's day at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime village. Despite the conditions the programme attracted an estimated 3500 people through the turnstyles [sic]. Organiser Ms Andrea Beattie said  that for the first time adults and children were admitted free, no doubt contributing to the big crowd. Yesterday was the village's fifth annual children's day. Director Mr. Peter Ronald said it attracted many people to the village for the first time. 'This sort of a day gives people the chance to see it at its best," he said. It is organised as part of Children's Week which is held throughout Victoria and Mr. Ronald said: "We look at It as a day to provide as much free activities and entertainment as we can for them." Organisers encouraged children to come dressed in period costume from the late 1850s to early 1900s. Many children entered into the spirit of the day, and in some cases- whole families came in costume. Mr. Ronald said that dressing up had become a feature of activity. The atmosphere of Warrnambool's maritime
past was also brought to life by period costumes in the village's shops and houses. The blacksmith created considerable interest and at the lighthouse keeper's cottage many people sampled freshly baked bread. A feature of the afternoon was the arrival by helicopter by BTV 6 personality Glenn Ridge who handed out spot prizes to those in costume. Traditional music was provided by local band The Sea Shanties and Backpack Theatre Company entertained on the village green.
The Wooffs entertain children
Music of a different kind was provided by Geoff Wooff who played his Irish bagpipes and hurdy gurdy underneath the verandah of the shipwright's workshop. Mr. Wooff is well known as an instrument maker. He bought the hurdy gurdy while selling his own Instruments on a trip overseas. He described it as a cross between a fiddle, bagpipes and a harpsichord.
Geoff and Jo Wooff
Between rain showers children took part in games, an obstacle course and races where every participant received lollies as prizes. Many people packed the St. Nicholas  Seasmen's [sic] Church for a special service. A children's choir performed and the scripture was read by Warrnambool's junior mayor, Miss Linda Trigg. Next door in the churche's [sic] recreation room the Wool and Craft Guild gave an exhibition of wool spinning, in front of a warm open fire. Mr. Ronald said that children's  day would not be possible without community support. More than 150 community groups and organisations volunteered their services. Yesterday's crowd was the biggest to attend the village since December 1984, when about 5000 attended to mark Victoria's 150th anniversary.

South West TAFE music archive