The vast avenue of orange trees lining Finch Street were planted in the 1950s to commemorate Bingara’s fallen soldiers from WWI and WWII. Unique to Bingara, the trees have become a symbol of community pride and the focus of the highly popular annual Orange Festival.
The original avenue of oranges planted along Finch Street between the RSL Club and the Central School were Valencias. But today, when the need arises, they are replaced with navels.
An extensive orange tree planting program took place over the last few years, with over 80 trees extending further along Finch Street, as well as along the boundary of the town’s sports grounds, the Gwydir Oval.
The oranges traditionally remain untouched until a nominated day in June or July when, following a memorial ceremony outside the Returned Serivces Club, the town’s school children (the Orange Police) rush to harvest them to be enjoyed by family and friends. Those lucky enough to be in Bingara during the harvest are invited to join in this much-loved Bingara tradition.
This respect, self-discipline and pride in this unique memorial has been carried on since the 1960s, from one generation to the next. In some cases, those picking the fruit are the third or fourth generation to do so.
In 1998, a festival was established to coincide with the picking and has now become an important part of Bingara’s Orange Tree Memorial tradition.
The festival is a must-see for those who love rock n roll and the 50s and 60s era, with screenings of 50s and 60s show reels in the historic Roxy Theatre, retro stalls, car displays, rock n roll music, dance demonstrations and children’s entertainment.
For more information about the festival visit the Gwydir Events Directory.