CAMPBELL, James (editor); STEPHENS, J. Brunton; FITCHETT, W.H.; MEADEN, J.W; STRONG, Herbert A., et al.
[BALLARAT] A Booke of Ye Olde Englishe fayre
Ballarat [Vic.] : Imprinted bye James Curtis, of ye Caxton Works, . Quarto, printed illustrated cards (soiled and chipped), cloth spine, pp. 70, illustrations by J. Lake printed lithographically by F. W. Niven; includes advertisements for Ballarat businesses (many full page); outermost leaves with foxing, else internally clean and sound.
The foreword to this ephemeral (and consequently little-known) Ballarat imprint acknowledges that the publication was inspired by one which had been produced to coincide with a similar event held in Melbourne in the previous year, also called Ye Olde Englishe Fayre, which had been staged at the Melbourne Town Hall. Both the Melbourne and Ballarat events provided popular amusement and entertainment for the general public, with a theme based around the traditional English fair.
The Ballarat Fayre was staged in the Alfred Hall, a magnificent building constructed in only two months in 1867 to host the public appearance of Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, which could accommodate 7000 visitors (the site is now a car park and retail outlet). This publication contains a plan showing the layout of the various stalls and events and includes exhaustive lists of all the adults and children involved in the various activities, which included musical entertainment, fortune-telling, traditional games, food stalls, and a Christmas tree display. There are many short contributions by numerous Ballarat identities, including humorous pieces, puzzles, verse, and historical sketches concerning English customs.
Rare. Only two copies are recorded in Australian collections (State Library of Victoria; State Library of New South Wales).