From humble beginnings in 1933, the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant is a magical, free community event, full of fantasy, floats, colourful characters, bands, dancers and more, shared by generations of Australians.
In 1896, Mr Edward Waterfield Hayward - then owner of the John Martin & Company Limited, established the 'Magic Cave'. It was a Christmas fantasy world, to support children's cultural heritage and provide a joyful community Christmas experience.
The first Christmas Pageant was held during the Great Depression in 1933, some thirty-seven years after the creation of the Magic Cave. The Christmas Pageant escorted Father Christmas to the Magic Cave. Created by Sir Edward Hayward (Mr Bill), who was the grandson of Mr E. W. Hayward; the Pageant featured approximately eight floats, four bands and ran for around 40 minutes. 200,000 spectators came to watch the Pageant.
The Pageant encouraged the development of artists, with a team of artists, carpenters, wardrobe designers and mechanics all involved in the Pageant.
The Pageant tradition has continued since then, sharing the magic of Christmas with different generations of children. Explore the history of the Pageant by viewing the timeline below.