We all know that it's the man himself, Father Christmas, who signals the close of the Credit Union Christmas Pageant as he comes down North Terrace on his sleigh as the very last float in the Pageant.

However, not everyone may know what signals the start of the Pageant each year. In fact, every Pageant since the first Pageant - in 1933 - has been started by the blowing of the Golden Whistle.

It's a tradition as old as the Pageant itself, and was started by the man who brought the Pageant to Adelaide, Sir Edward "Mr Bill" Hayward.

In 1932 Mr Bill traveled to Canada and saw the Eaton's Parade - one of Canada's largest Christmas parades - and was inspired to produce a similar event in Adelaide.

In partnership with the Magic Cave and John Martin's, the first Pageant was in 1933, to announce the arrival of Father Christmas for the Christmas Season. Sir Edward Hayward himself dressed up for the occasion, donning a traditional Admiral's costume completed with an impressive hat.

While the tradition for many years was to have the Manager of the Pageant blow the whistle, current Pageant Director Brian Gilbertson introduced a new spin on this tradition, by having people who have contributed significantly to the Pageant join him to blow the whistle at the start of the Pageant.

There have been members of the State Government who have contributed significantly to the future of the Pageant, there have been members of the credit unions, and one year there was even the family of a boy who had been visited by the Pageant characters in the Women's and Children's Hospital the previous year. After his passing, his family held a photo of him and blew the whistle to start the Pageant in his honour.

To kick off the 85th Anniversary of the Pageant it was Richard Hayward, the great-nephew of Sir Edward Hayward, who blew the whistle in 2017. 

This year, it will be the current directors of the four credit unions who will be bestowed the honour of blowing the same golden whistle that Mr Bill blew in 1933, to signal the start of the 23rd and final year of the Credit Union Christmas Pageant. 

We look forward to many more years of the Golden Whistle, and all of the special people who will be part of this tradition.


Sir Edward "Mr Bill" Hayward via Adelaidia


Richard Hayward, great-nephew of Sir Edward Hayward, blowing the whistle to signal the start of the 85th Credit Union Christmas Pageant in 2017