Burdekin Water Festival History

The Burdekin Water Festival is one of the longest running festivals in Queensland. It was the dream of William (Bob) Saxby who had been to Toowoomba and had experienced the Carnival of Flowers in 1957.  Upon his return to Ayr, he approached the Shire Chairman at the time to discuss what the Burdekin could do to promote its underground water supply.  A public meeting was called in late 1957, and from that meeting the Water Festival was formed, with the first Festival being held on 6 September 1958.

In 1958, three young ladies competed for the title of Water Festival Queen. (Val Pegararo was the very first winner.)  In 1963, the organisers decided to include a primary-aged section, the Water Festival Princess.  Then in 1974, the Water Festival Charity Queen title was created to reward entrants for their fundraising efforts.  In the 1990's the Committee changed the titles to ‘Ambassadors’ and ‘Young Ambassadors’ to allow young men to enter the quest.

The Burdekin Water Festival has developed over the 60+ years and now highlights the abundant water supply, unique lifestyle, produce and culture in the region.  Each year, a dedicated band of committed and community-minded people voluntarily organise a wide range of exciting events and competitions.

The 2022 Burdekin Water Festival Committee has a broad spectrum of experience (life members – Treena List and Robyn Hewson) through to new membership; a total of 25 members.

The following members have been instrumental in the creation, planning and implementation of ideas to ensure the success of this year’s Festival:

Laura Acton, Karisa Bojack, Joseph Cardillo, Tony Goddard, Sophie Hancock, Tina Hancock, Robyn Hewson, Treena List, John McVeigh, Shane Moon, Amanda Norton, Charlie Scuderi.

Past and Present Sponsors

    • PO Box 831
      Ayr Qld 4807
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