Thu, 30/11/2006

On Saturday November 11 Margaret Timpson Park was transformed into a giant fairground as around 10,000 people attended this year's Belconnen Festival. The event also celebrated Belconnen's 40th Birthday with Chief Minister Jon Stanhope cutting the Big Birthday Cake.

Local performers including singer songwriter Ashleigh Mannix, country rock band The Fuelers, indigenous singer Johnny Huckle and Tanzanian musician Gus Mpofu with his band Hoza, performed on the main stage while local dance groups entertained the crowd on the stage in the middle of the park.

A highlight of the day was the History Tent which displayed photos and maps chronicling Belconnen's past. Local historians were on hand to talk to people about their memories of Belconnen's history and also to record the memories of those who were among the early residents.

The new town of Belconnen was inaugurated at a ceremony and the unveiling of a plaque near what is now the southern approach to the suspension bridge over Belconnen Way in Aranda on June 23 1966. The unveiling was performed by Doug Anthony then Minister for the Interior and Sir John Overall Commissioner of the NCDC. Mary Porter arranged for restoration work to be undertaken on the plaque in recognition of the 40th anniversary.

"Belconnen is a great place to live" Mary said whilst at the festival watching her 5 year old granddaughter Catlin-Anne performing middle eastern dances with the Peacock Dance Studio. "Events such as this help to build community spirit, and to see so many family groups and young people enjoying the day together is fantastic."