12 October, 2022
Come home to Gil!
Stemming from an idea over three years ago, the Come Home to Gilgandra Festival was a long weekend many will remember for a lifetime.
Friends and family had the opportunity
to come back to Gilgandra, and catch up on happy
One of the event organisers, Paul Morris, said the idea
came from John ‘Pug’ Farragher, who loves coming home
to Gilgandra, and wanted a reason to catch up with people
in a happy environment.
“John made a comment that we come home for people’s
funerals, so why don’t we come home and have a happy
“That way Gilgandra can benefit, and everybody can
catch up,” said Mr Morris.
“John wanted this to happen
years ago, but COVID-19 intervened.”
began to settle down, a committee was formed, and the
event was created.
“It doesn’t happen without the people, you look at the
markets and parade, and the participation of the people is
brilliant. It always works if everybody tries,” said Mr
Throughout the sunny weekend, many people caught up
with peers they hadn’t seen in years. Some over 50, some
over 10, but all were grateful for the opportunity.
Brian Whiteman from Dubbo was able to work up with
former Gilgandra Newspapers colleague Don Groat.
“In 1969 I did my apprenticeship at Gilgandra
Newspapers; we were going from letterpress into offset. I
was there with a few people including Groatie. It’s been an
amazing experience to catch up with them all over this
weekend,” said Mr Whiteman.
“I saw a girl I thought I’d never see again!” said Rosie
“I didn’t know who was coming because I had
been trying to come home for a couple years’ now, so I
picked this weekend for the double bonus, and it’s just been
so wonderful to see everyone.”
Officially kicking off on Thursday, the Come Home to
Gilgandra Festivities could be felt right from the beginning
of the week. The streets were busier, shops were full, and
finding a parking spot on Miller Street was near impossible.
Shop fronts were filled with old photograph of year groups and footy teams, and as visitors filtered in, there was busy discussion and reminiscing.
On Friday night, many school, work, and sport
reunions occurred at various pubs, followed by the
market and street parade on Saturday morning.
The three Gilgandra schools held open days for
visitors to walk through their old schools for a trip
down memory lane.
There were festivities at the Sporties as well,
including a ‘family fun day’ and ‘dinner under the
The weekend was topped off with Bendigo Bank’s Day on McGrane Oval, where there was live entertainment, raffles, and the 2022 NRL grand final played on the big screen.