Fancy winning a car?

Ticket, City of Botany Bay Library & Museum Services

In the early 1930s this was a possible reality for women who entered a sailing competition in Sydney harbour know as Queen of the Harbour. In 1931, Miss L. Young, who represented the Municipality of Botany, became the lucky owner of an Austin 7 motor car when the boat she rode on, came in first.

This competition still runs today, but there are no cars for prizes. The roles and dress sense of women are also very different. Recent winners, like Elizabeth Walsh in 2010, wear wet suits and are part of the boat’s crew. In the 1930s, the role of women is less clear. From the newspaper reports from the 30s, they appear as token passengers. 

Back then the event was a fundraiser, and the women who wanted to become Queen raised the money. Mrs Frank Austin, who was eventually crowned Queen of the Harbour in 1932, got to pick which boat she rode on because she had raised the highest amount of money that year. On the day a prize was also given to the most appropriately attired women. This was judged and awarded by the Lord Mayor.
In 1932, Botany’s candidate Miss Iris Siddins went home empty handed, however the overall experience was mostly interesting. Beside the function at Botany Town Hall, which the ticket above is for, she would also have been invited to the Queen of the Harbour Ball, which was held at Sydney’s Town Hall.

Mrs Frank Austin, 1932 Queen of the Harbour,
Courtesy of Trove, Monday 5 December 1932, page 12

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