How the Eisteddfod Started…
Since its inception in 1986, the Quota International of Beenleigh Eisteddfod has been growing and growing. Originally conducted for just 3 days, it now runs for 26 days and nights in July, August and September each year. Held are performances in Dance, Music and Speech & Drama.
In 1985 Moya McKeon asked permission of the Quota Club of Beenleigh to look into the feasibility of having an eisteddfod as a service to the youth of the area. In the 1980's opportunities for the children of the district to perform on a stage and be adjudicated by experts in the field was extremely limited.
The Quota Club agreed to set aside $1,000 for this service to the local youth. This began what has become an annual event. Moya, who had had experience in the field of eisteddfod, called a public meeting to ascertain what support T might expect.
Attending that meeting were:
Dawn Parkin - a music teacher
Anne Roache - a drama teacher
Lynette McCauley - a speech and drama teacher
All spoke of the great need in this area for an eisteddfod and offered support. Two of these teachers are still supporting us today .
The First Eisteddfod Committee 1986
Moya McKeon - Coordinator (Eisteddfod Patron appointed 2009)
Karen Cornish - Dance Convenor
Trish Mulligan - Music Convenor
Mary Macaulay - Speech and Drama Convenor
Connie Marshall & Betty Smith - Catering Committee
Evie Radke - Treasurer
When the first eisteddfod concluded the organising committee had made a profit and the Quota club gave permission for the eisteddfod to be held again in 1987. The Eisteddfod operated on a year to year basis and without constant hard work and dedication from the organising committee the eisteddfod might have been cancelled. It was decided that to keep the eisteddfod viable, sponsors and patrons would be needed to provide all manner of support.
Patrons and Sponsors
The committee got working and sponsors for that first year included:
Starstruck Speech & Drama
Ian & Ann Robinson
Quota Clubs of Gold Coast, Nundah/Clayfield, Sandgate, Toowoomba
Many of these still support us today all these years on.
Charter Members Cecelia Teys and Muriel Crocker of Quota Beenleigh were approached to become the first two patrons. They held this position until they passed away. Over the years many patrons have presided over the Eisteddfod. Patrons over the years have included:
Eric & Ann Evans
Moya McKeon (OAM) Current Patron appointed 2009
Items such as scheduling, adjudication and a database of entrants were just some of the tasks that needed to be competed to make the eisteddfod run efficiently. Many people assisted with the set-up of the eisteddfod. See the List below.
Jacki Moorland and Shirley Treacy from the Queensland Ballet
Beres Turner and Lynette McCauley assisted with the Speech & Drama sections
Joan Bevan, Quota member assisted with the Music section
Paul Atthow, appointed Dance adjudicator
Beres Turner, appointed adjudicator for Speech & Drama
Hilary Jones appointed adjudicator for Music
Both Paul and Beres were invited back again to adjudicate and the three day eisteddfod got underway. The adjudicators provide us information each year on how to improve the program for the following year. Many avenues of inquiry were sourced in establishing a database for the eisteddfod entrants - of course today this is all done digitally with the use of email campaigns, websites and social media.
In the beginning, all sessions were conducted in the Senior Citizens Centre, Beenleigh. This was the best venue at the time. Later venues included the Memorial Hall in James Street and Kimberley Park Community Centre for the school sections. Woodridge Senior Citizens was another venue used, as we could program it for performances on Sundays. This has been an ongoing problem, as most halls are booked with church groups on Sundays. We continued with the Lutheran Hall in Beenleigh for the Drama.
In recent years, some of the Eisteddfod was held outside of our council area because there are no suitable venues in Logan to host the sheer quantity of performers. We now use the Logan Entertainment Centre and Crete Street Theatre Beenleigh as the number of participants and spectators has increased significantly.
Beenleigh Quotarians have been lobbying for a "Regional Arts Centre for Logan" as this area is sadly lacking an Arts facility, especially if you consider the population growth in this area and the greater emphasis on the "Arts" in society.
Eisteddfod Funding & volunteers
Over the years the eisteddfod has relied on support from the local community. Many community organisations provide financial support. In many cases they choose to provide this by way of bursaries or scholarships to the winning participants. We are now very fortunate indeed to have Logan City Council as our major sponsors, along with funding received from many other sources by way of sponsorship or advertising. Without these organisations, we could not run the Eisteddfod. Please support our sponsors whenever you are able.
The volunteers in our local community are invaluable and some have been helping us at the Eisteddfod for many years. We treasure these community members, both organisations and individuals.
Seeing The Results
Since inception in 1986, the support from people has been consistent and ongoing and entrants come back year after year. Now the entrants are bringing their students back! What an absolute joy it is, to see them all succeeding in their chosen fields.
Seeing the success of our competitors both nationally and internationally, is what makes holding an eisteddfod worthwhile. We love hearing of all past supporters, participants and what they go on to achieve. A big thank you to all those involved with the eisteddfod and we look forward to your continued participation