Festival honours Dame Nellie Melba

Dame Nellie Melba in 1903, at the height of her singing career. As a young woman she lived in Marian in what is now Melba House.
Dame Nellie Melba in 1903, at the height of her singing career. As a young woman she lived in Marian in what is now Melba House. STATE LIBRARY OF NSW

SHE’S gracing her second postage stamp and has had a sauce, a dessert and even a slice of toast named after her.

While the nation celebrates Dame Nellie Melba’s 150th birthday, there’s an even bigger event planned closer to home.

On Sunday people can gather at Melba House, Marian, to honour one of the most famous opera singers of the early 20th century, who once lived in the Pioneer Valley township.

As part of the River Rock to Mountain Top festival, Mackay Tourism has planned a full day of family activities including games for the kids, classic cars, prizes, Peach Melba cooking and eating competitions, horse and carriage rides and performances.

There will also be a tour of the home at Marian in which Melba lived, and a cake cutting ceremony.

Mackay Tourism general manager David Phillips said it was important for the community to celebrate and promote Melba’s association with the region.

“Her global fame was, and remains, remarkable and Melba House brings alive her fascinating, positive, culturally valuable link with Mackay and our Pioneer Valley.”

Mr Phillips said the Melba House, which is run by Mackay Tourism and the Pioneer Valley Tourism and Development Association, was a wonderful tourism drawcard.

“Melba House and its grounds are a delightful place to relax and the collection of chattels, clothing, etc displayed, gives us a distinct and absorbing visitor attraction, directly related to Melba herself, and also, the history of the district and our sugar industry.”

To help families from all over the region celebrate, Mackay Tourism has organised buses to run from the city and throughout the Valley. The event will run from 10am to 2pm at Melba House, Marian. It will also mark the final day of the River Rock to Mountain Top festival.

Families can view the Pioneer Valley Museum at Mirani from 10am to 2pm or art exhibitions at Gargett Gallery and Badilla Art Studio, Pinnacle.

Bookings for the buses are essential. Contact Nola at Coops Bus Service on 4959 1543 or 0448 614 504.

Topics:  festival link mackay marian valley

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