How did the Queen of the Harbour originate?
In about the 1912’s it was decided by the menfolk that they would allow the “girls” to sail one day a year. So this small allowance became known as “Ladies Day”. As you can imagine it soon became the biggest event on the sailing calendar. So, J.J. Giltinan, the then Commodore, and a shrewd businessman decided that was a good way to raise money. Hence the event was renamed “The Queen of Port Jackson” in 1926.
The First Queen of Port Jackson Race
By October 1926 The Queen of Port Jackson was creating a great amount of interest. By then there was already had 10 guineas in prizes.
“On November 26th the drawing for the boats for the “girls” (as referred in the article). All candidates are requested to be present at 8 pm at the Cocoa Tree Cafe.”
This is the list of boats, and potential queens in 1926:
Alert Miss E Kelly Theo Kings
Avalon Miss E Stewart More Commercial Co
Arline Miss C Williamson Syd Taylor
Australia Miss G Aikman Harry West
Advance Miss E Tonks Wesley West
Britannia Miss A Webber Yellow Cab Co
Eclipse Miss A Bezette Palmolive Soap Co
Florrie 11 Miss M Gourlie J B Sharp
Furious Miss J Booth W Gilkison
Gloria Miss G Gorham The Cocoa Tree Cafe
Hall Mark Miss M Aikman John Sands Ltd
Keriki Miss C Gallimore R Caston
Kismet Miss Barry T W Brennan
Liberty Miss C McGlede McDowells Ltd
Life Saver Miss R George Wear Proof Hosiery
Mississipi Miss D Hemill Ald. A. E Laws
Mavis Miss D Murray Seaman Bros
Mascotte Miss G Jessops Murdochs Ltd
N.S.W Miss G Merricks Davis Gelatine Co
Onda Miss A Bell Broomsfields Ltd
Pastime Miss M Mahony The Castlereagh Embroidery Co
Rosetta Miss L Taite Taites Millinery
Scot Miss I Hamill J.W Lown
Yendys Miss E Clayton Walter & Co
By Sept 1929 the “Queen of The Harbour Competition” became a happy way to raise money for the Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington. By then there were 100 candidates and were grouped and chosen by the highest number of votes. By that time there were 29 skiffs entering the race. On Saturday 20th of March, the Queen Habour Crowning Ball took place in Sydney Town Hall.
In 1929 Mark Foy presented the 23 young ladies gold brooches and the “Queen” won a car, an Austin “7” as a prize.
On Clark Island, as reported on the 22nd of February 1930: the huge flagpoles being fully draped with a fine show of bunting and adding to this is the young ladies gay colourings.
The Queen of the Harbour continued to be a fundraiser throughout the 40’s and 50’s.
The”Miss Betty Payne” award (Water Board) was given for the best-dressed sailing lady.
The Queen of the Harbour lost its shine over the years and the last Crowing the Queen of the Harbour took place in Petersham Town Hall in 1962 as far can be established.