A Brief History

Eisteddfod Society

The Gunnedah Eisteddfod is the town’s cultural exhibition in Music, Instrumental, Speech & Drama and Dance. The Gunnedah Eisteddfod has long been recognised as “the friendly eisteddfod” with many performers from around the north west and beyond, travelling many hours to be a part of this rewarding competition. The Gunnedah Eisteddfod has always been regarded as far more than a competition, with many friendships and bonds strengthened over the years.

The Gunnedah Eisteddfod had its small beginnings in 1953 with 200 entries. Sixty Eight years on, this competition attracts over 3,000 entries. The Eisteddfod became a reality largely due to the efforts of musical sisters Ruth and Emma Heath and their husbands Malcolm and Russell. Mrs Joyce Charters and Mrs Clare Walker also made a significant contribution to the Gunnedah Eisteddfod in the early years, specifically in the area of Speech and Drama.

Over the years, the Gunnedah Eisteddfod Society committee has always gone to great lengths to find adjudicators who worked well with children and who offered sound advice to performers.

Whilst many suburban and country eisteddfods have ceased functioning, the Gunnedah Eisteddfod continues to flourish, thanks to the many enthusiastic music teachers and active volunteers.

Manager of Radio 2MO, Lew Worms, instigated the first Massed Choir evening in 1964 after watching a similar presentation in Tamworth. This significant event was administered by the Gunnedah Eisteddfod Society. A break with this tradition occurred in Australia’s Bicentenary Year 1988, when the Massed Choir night was replaced by a more lavish production, the Massed Choir Spectacular. Over 600 students participated each year in this production. Now called Schools on Stage, this significant cultural event is now held biannually.

The Gunnedah Eisteddfod Society has a committed, progressive and active membership, who are now displaying great initiative in difficult times, by the development of an Online Gunnedah Eisteddfod.