Camden jacaranda festival idea blooms

There’s no denying that Camden’s jacaranda trees are iconic.

Some residents believe they should even be celebrated.

One local took to Facebook to say a jacaranda festival should be held along Argyle Street.

Hundreds of people have supported the idea.

Camden Historical Society president and local resident Dr Ian Willis said a jacaranda festival would be a positive event for the region.

“Anything that promotes the town locally, in Australia and even internationally is a good idea,” he said.

“It’s great branding – it could bring in more jobs, more business and more people to Camden.”

Jacaranda trees were originally planted in Camden in 1927. 

Dr Willis said it was hard to pinpoint exactly why they were chosen but he said they were planted at a time when a tourism craze was sweeping Australia.

“Camden was known as ‘Little England’ due to the large properties and style of the buildings in the main street which bought a lot of visitors to town,” he said.

The trees are a part of that nostalgic whimsy and a longing for the past.

Dr Ian Willis

“I suppose the trees are a part of that nostalgic whimsy and a longing for the past.”

Grafton, a town on the NSW north coast, hosts a jacaranda festival which attracts thousands of visitors to the small town each year.

The Grafton festival features a parade, market stalls, live entertainment and a range of purple food items.

Dr Willis said jacarandas had also become symbolic of Camden over the years.

“There is something unique about the Camden town historic precinct and the trees are a part of that,” he said.

Dr Willis said the festival could fit in well with other Camden events like the Spring Festival and Live and Local.

“In the 60s Camden had a Rose Festival that was hugely popular,” he said.

“It’s good to have festivals and events that embrace the present but celebrate the past.”

Camden Resident Action Group president Glenda Davis said she would ‘absolutely support’ a jacaranda festival in Camden.

“The trees are spectacular –  in fact I would like to see more planted,” she said.

“A festival would be a great way to get people to come into town and enjoy lunch or a coffee at local businesses and admire the jacaranda trees.”

Camden councillor and resident Eva Campbell said while she didn’t like the idea of copying Grafton’s festival, she was open to any proposal that would bring more visitors to town.

“A jacaranda festival is an interesting idea,” she said.

Fellow south ward councillor Peter Sidgreaves said he would definitely support a jacaranda festival if there was room on the event calendar for it.

“The trees are certainly iconic, there is no question about that – they’re very pretty trees,” he said.

“I also can’t wait for jacarandas to be planted right down to the entrance of Camden along the new median strip.”