Bass Strait Maritime Centre

The Dahlia Festival

On the 14th of April 1955 a public meeting was held at the Devonport Town Hall to consider holding a floral festival in Devonport. It had been suggested that various activities take place over a week, and that these activities be sponsored by various organisations and community groups of the town. A committee was formed to meet monthly and to decide how the festival might move forward 1.  

The Festival quickly became a big event for Devonport. The programme for the second Dahlia Festival which took place in March 1957 shows that some of the activities included a sand castle competition, fancy dress ball, speedboats, a flower show and judging, a fashion parade, performances by the Devonport Choral and Orchestral Society, inspections of various manufacturing businesses and a parade of floats through town. The Festival’s Dahlia Queen was chosen at the Dahlia Ball which was held in the lead up to the Festival. Open to girls from the Devonport municipality, the Dahlia Queen received a prize cheque and participated in all the official functions held during the week-ends and evenings of the Festival.  Her crowning took place at the Mardi Gras event. 

 Do you have any images from these festivals? We’d love to see! 

By Leah Johnson, with thanks to Helen Anderson


1 Devonport Dahlia Festival Association Tas. (2018). In Trove. Retrieved June 26, 2020, from 

Devonport Dahlia Festival Programme Saturday March 2 to Saturday March 9 1957

Pamphlet: BSMC Richmond Collection

Header Photograph: Mardi Gras Parade with floats, 1966, R15335.1—16, Robinson Collection, Courtesy of Devonport Regional Gallery

Inset Photograph: Crowning of the Dahlia Queen, R14363 1-6 , Robinson Collection, Courtesy of Devonport Regional Gallery