Premier reflects on past
LOCAL residents lined the main street on Saturday night to welcome Queensland Premier Anna Bligh back to the city in which she was born for the first event in Warwick's 150th birthday celebrations.
The nostalgia of the occasion was accentuated for the Premier as she stayed in not only her former hometown for the night, but the actual building in which she was born.
“(The Abbey of the Roses) is actually a very significant part of my history because my mother had a very difficult labour there and at one time the nuns came in and said prayers with her during the night,” she said.
“It is a part of our family folklore and I have already called my mother to tell her I was staying there.”
Ms Bligh said the 150th celebrations presented an opportunity to reflect on personal connections to Warwick's history such as hers.
“It's terrific to be in Warwick to celebrate 150 years of the city I was born in,” Ms Bligh said at the town hall before the variety concert.
“It is important to not only remember our history but to celebrate it and that's what tonight is about.”
Although her family left Warwick when she was just one year old, Ms Bligh said the city still had a special place in her heart, which she is reminded of when asked to list her birth town on official documents.
Ms Bligh arrived at the concert on Saturday night accompanied by Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Ron Bellingham and said she was impressed by the city's ability to bounce back from the floods.
“Warwick is one of the great cities of regional Queensland and it was great to drive through some of the streets tonight with the Mayor,” Ms Bligh said.
The Premier and the Mayor took to the town hall stage to open the show and Ms Bligh recalled her “strong family history” in Warwick, where her father owned a newsagency and her five half-brothers and sisters attended school.
In introducing the first performer of the night, Ms Bligh thanked Warwick for inviting her to be part of the celebrations and said: “Let's get on with the show!”
The stellar line-up of performances began with Bob Townshend, the man elected as town crier for the weekend followed by an animated Alan Cunningham, played by James Clarke who kept the audience entertained with witty quips about all things local, including Cunningham's Gap, “rotund” councillors and the absurdity of names such as Yangan, Killarney and Allora for towns.
Narrator, host and local poet Marco Gliori shone on stage, reciting several poems throughout the night.
The poem that seemed most popular with the audience was his tribute to Warwick's own Mt Everest – Weewondilla Hill.
Singer Caitlin Alley performed a haunting version of Danny Boy, accompanied by dad Col on guitar.
Miss Alley said the VIPs in the audience made her nervous, but not the Premier.
“My grandparents have come from Cleveland to watch the performance so I was more nervous about them being here,” she said.