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Carols by Candlelight


Carols by Candlelight

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Carols by Candlelight is an Australian Christmas tradition that has spread around the world. It involves people gathering, usually outdoors in a park, to sing carols by candlelight, accompanied by a band.



Carols by Candlelight was begun in Melbourne in 1938 by Norman Banks, a radio announcer then with Melbourne radio station 3KZ. Whilst walking home from his night-time radio shift on Christmas Eve in 1937, he passed a window and saw inside an elderly woman sitting up in bed, listening to Away in a Manger being played on the radio and singing along, with her face being lit by candlelight. Wondering how many others spent Christmas alone, he had the idea to gather a large group of people to all sing Christmas carols together by candlelight, and the first such event was held in the Alexandra Gardens the following Christmas. This first event had 10,000 people attend.

Following World War II, the Carols moved to the nearby Sidney Myer Music Bowl, where they are still held to this day. Funds raised from donations are given to Vision Australia (Previously the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind), who are still the beneficiaries.


Similar events are now held all over Australia, usually arranged by churches, municipal councils, or other community groups. They are normally held on Christmas Eve or the Sunday before Christmas. The major Australian events are the Melbourne Carols (which attracts about 30,000 people) held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve and the Sydney Carols in The Domain (which attracts about 20,000) and borrows the shape of its stage from its big brother, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. Both of these are televised nationally and the Melbourne Carols By Candlelight is televised also to eastern Asia, many Pacific Islands and New Zealand, live.

In Brisbane the Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols are held about a week before Christmas, at the Brisbane River Stage in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.

In Adelaide, Carols by Candlelight is held in the weeks before Christmas in Elder Park on the banks of the River Torrens.


Since the 1980's, the event has been brodcast nationally on Channel 9 and simlecast on local radio. The program is hosted by journalist Ray Martin who invites viewvers to either cuddle up with their family, or join 9's family for the night.

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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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