HomeHistoryJan's Bundaberg memories live on through diary entries

Jan's Bundaberg memories live on through diary entries

Bundaberg memories
Bundaberg history: Jan Cedergreen in the 1954 Siren of the Surf competition.

A former Bundaberg man is paying homage to his late wife by sharing her memories of the region to online history buffs.

Brian Kennedy is an avid poster on the Facebook page called Bundaberg: Remember When, with documented stories from his wife Jan Cedergreen sparking plenty of feelings of nostalgia within the group.

Brian said it was the 50s and he was just 19 years old when he met the enthusiastic Jan at a special dance at the Federal Band Hall in Bundaberg.

“I was a young man about town and decided to check out the dance with a couple of mates,” he said.

“We got there and there wasn't much happening so I decided to leave. However, on my way out, Jan stopped me.”

A member of the Marching Girls, Jan was adamant in keeping as many people as possible at the dance to help promote the night.

“She asked me for a dance, we started talking and we didn't stop for 50 years!” Brian said.

The pair were married in 1959, travelled the world together and had three sons before Jan passed away from pancreatic cancer in her later years.

Since then, Brian has shared notes from her diary to the Bundaberg: Remember When Facebook page about her time spent in the region.

One of those standout memories was at the Siren of the Surf Competition in 1954.

The Siren of the Surf event was established in 1944 as a fundraiser for Prisoners of War.

It was later added as the major event in the annual Railway Picnic.

Siren of the Surf: Jan Cedergreen's story

Read about the Siren of the Surf competition from one of Jan's diary entries:

Every Sunday we would travel by bus to the beach at Bargara which was always the most popular beach.

Most of our time was spent sunbathing and swimming.

It was at Bargara where I entered the Siren of the Surf competition – a contest held during the Railway Picnic which was one of the major outdoor social events of the year. 

Bundaberg memories
Bundaberg memories: The Siren of the Surf team in 1954.

At that time the railway lines were mainly unused although train transport was available on this day. Most of the town travelled to the beach by car, bus or train. 

I forget how many teams of girls entered that year – probably about a dozen or more. 

Each team consisted of seven girls with a leader who carried the flag with the team’s name on it.  We were the “Scamps”.

For the contest we were coached in beach marching by a lifesaver and practiced in the parks in town for weeks before the big event. 

Our swimming costumes were black and white and were kept a big secret until the day. 

I remember having to stuff cotton-wool down the front of mine to make it fit. 

Must have fooled the judges alright. 

I was 15 and came second to a girl from the Rockhampton team. 

I was presented with a red sash, an engraved cup and some vouchers for hairdressing and make-up. 

It was a complete surprise to win this as I was in it solely for fun and had little confidence in myself.

Other history stories: Arthur McKenzie shares Caledonian Pipe Band history

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