I’m currently house and dog sitting in Bingara, New South Wales and thought I would share with you a delightful celebration this community enjoys. (And my thanks to the Northern Daily Newspaper for the catchy headline)
Many towns plant Memorial Avenues of trees to pay tribute to the soldiers from the area who didn’t return from the wars. Bingara chose to celebrate and remember their fallen soldiers from World War 1 and 2 with a Memorial Avenue with a difference – they planted a living memorial of orange trees. But it is not just the trees that honour their dead, it’s the tradition that has grown along with the trees and how they have become a symbol of community pride.
In spring, the heady orange blossom perfumes the air, while in autumn the fruit develops and ripens on the trees. The tradition is that on a designated day only local school children pick the fruit. This year 2018 it is on Friday July 6.
During the year, all Bingara residents leave the oranges untouched, even the children, who are taught the significance of the trees.
This respect, self discipline and pride in this unique memorial has been carried on since the 1960’s, from one generation to the next. In some cases, those picking the fruit are the third or fourth generation to do so.
It can get a bit nippy in Bingara! (photos from bingera.com.au)
As the tradition has grown it has morphed into the Bingara Orange Festival which follows the orange picking day. This year it happens on Saturday July 7.
Each year the bar is raised even higher, with the inclusion of new initiatives and each year a new theme is announced, keeping the festival fresh, innovative and attractive year after year. However, one thing that never changes, is the memory of those who have fallen and for whom the orange trees represent.
I think this is a wonderful local initiative and a fantastic community tradition that helps to shape the identity of this little town of Bingara.