Carols by Candlelight

Australia is the home of  Carols by Candlelight, a tradition started by radio announcer Norman Banks  Melbourne’s 3KZ in 1937.

After Banks saw a women listening to carols alone by candlelight, he decided to do something to relieve the loneliness and isolation some feel during the holidays.

He announced a community carol sing for anyone who wanted to join in. The concept has grown in popularity over the years and the recorded program is now broadcast the world over.

World Will Hear Melbourne’s Carols By Candlelight

On Christmas Eve thousands of voices will send the lines of many traditional hymns echoing through the night from the Alexandra Gardens.

IT WILL BE Melbourne’s 12th Carols by Candlelight festival. Thirteen years ago down St Kilda rd a young radio announcer was walking home.

From the window of a house near by an old woman softly sang carols -it was Christmas Eve.

Carols by Candlelight was born.  Now the radio announcer is director of the festival. He is Norman Banks.

From its first presentation, when only a handful attended, to its present day form, this festival has grown to become probably the first Australian ceremony which has attracted world-wide attention.

This year a relay of the broad-cast will be taken by Radio Australia of Mutual stations will bring “Melbourne, Australia, to the people of North America.”

In the spirit of Christmas, the Carols are also a time of giving. Con- tributions from the sale of pro-grammes, candles, and donations have accounted for over £100,000 being raised for the Austin Hospital.

“Carols” prelude the all-day. Part of the pageantry of the candlelight ceremony. Christmas appeal conducted by station 3KZ for the Austin Hospital….

Source: 1949 ‘World Will Hear Melbourne’s Carols.’, The Argus, 24 December, p. 25 Supplement: The Argus Week-End Magazine,

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