Former Jaca royaltyback for big reunion


WHEN Cheryl Barnes had the idea of a 2004 Matron of Honour reunion back in 2000, she never thought it would lead to almost 170 former Jacaranda queens, princesses and matrons returning to Grafton.

But that will be the case during the next week as past Jacaranda royalty attends a number of functions including a reunion dinner next Saturday night.

Mrs Barnes, who tracked down the former matrons, and Eleanor Powell, who tracked down 91 former princesses, said although organising the reunion had been a challenge they enjoyed the sleuth work involved.

"We really got into it just after Christmas ... to track everyone down," Mrs Barnes said.

Mrs Powell said the Jacaranda Honour Roll, started in 1935, was an indispensable tool.

"We went through it to get all the names and it was a matter of finding out who was still around and you'd just ask one person and often they'd know others on the list or knew where they'd gone or who they'd married which helped a lot," she said.

"You'd hear a name and just keep following the leads for people and eventually you'd find them."

Mrs Powell said Margaret Winkler, the other Jacaranda super sleuth, had managed to trace down all the former Jacaranda Queens in less than a week. In the end all the former queens, princesses and matrons were eventually contacted.

Women who are returning to Grafton may be in for a surprise with the inclusion of the Grafton Dragon Boat Races during the Jacaranda Festival this year.

Jacaranda action will start tonight with the crowning at 7pm at Market Square, followed by the Jacaranda Dragon Boat Races on the river tomorrow morning.

The races will feature 28 teams battling it out to clinch the 2004 dragon boat title. There will also be market stalls, horse and car- riage rides and competitions.

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