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January 6, 2022

Beyond the Crown with the queens of Ballandean

Queensland’s oldest family-owned and -operated winery will be hosting the launch of podcast series Beyond the Crown  at The Barrelroom this Saturday at 5pm, a rich tapestry of stories from the former Queens, Princesses and Young Ambassadors of Stanthorpe’s Apple and Grape Harvest Festival.

Podcast producer Lou Bromley says,

Raise your glass to the Queens as we gear up to celebrate 150 years of Stanthorpe in 2022,” says Ms Bromley.

Beyond the Crown is part-oral history, part-documentary and part-photographic essay that seeks to tell the stories behind the people of Stanthorpe’s Apple and Grape Harvest Festival. Season one features ten podcast episodes with bonus interviews, and a digitised collection of images and videos of previous festivals from private collections.

“Ballandean has a strong tradition of winning Southern Belles, from Queens to Young Ambassadors, all helping to raise funds for charity and to support the festival.  

“One of the first Queens was Dorothy Papagallo, Miss Orchardist 1957. Her family grew apples, stone fruit and vegetables in the Ballandean area, a property which now hosts Accommodation Creek Cottages and Granite Ridge Wines.

“Robyn Puglisi-Henderson was crowned Queen in 1992, and her sister Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi entered in 1990. They continue the Puglisi family’s trailblazing legacy as outstanding advocates for Queensland’s wine industry and as some of Australia’s most influential women in wine: Winemakers Federation Board memberships,  Samuel Basset award winners, and export market innovators for Shiraz trade to China.

“Since 1954, Stanthorpe has hosted Australia’s longest-running apple festival—originating as ‘Back to Stanthorpe Week’, then the Apple Blossom festival in 1955, finally evolving into the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival, a biennial event that has been crushing it since 1966 and now draws over 60,000 people to Stanthorpe.

“I wasn’t expecting to discover that the smallest apple growing district in Australia hosts the longest continuous running apple festival in our country. It’s a wonderful birthday surprise for Stanthorpe turning 150 in 2022.”

“Mayor Vic Pennisi has secured archival footage of the fashion regatta at Storm King Dam from 1955 to 1964, which we hope to share at the  launch of Episode 1, Dorothy Papagallo’s story, at The Barrelroom on Saturday.

Lou Bromley has a property in Ballandean and works as a podcaster and writer, and previously produced content for  ABC Radio. She is looking forward to completing her novel, her  Harvest Festival Queen, in 2022 as a writer-in-residence with Queensland Writers Centre for their Fishbowl Residency.

Want to listen? Here’s how to find Beyond the Crown

The podcast launches on Saturday 8 January with one episode released each week up to mid-March. To find ‘Beyond the Crown’, you can listen online here: https://feeds.captivate.fm/beyond-the-crown/ and find us on Facebook and Instagram. Episodes will also be available on Spotify, Apple and your favourite podcast app.

A non-fiction book is now being planned for 2026 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival, bringing all the interviews, photos and additional ephemera into one publication. The podcast will continue to release new episodes after 2022 in the lead up to the book launch.

Beyond the Crown is funded by Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), a partnership between the Queensland Government and Southern Downs Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Listen to Episode 1, Dorothy Papagallo, ‘Sputnik and the Festival Queen’ here: 


Guest blogger: Louisa Duval (alias) | Australian Romance Readers Association

‘Let’s get sashed’: How my romance novel research turned into a podcast

I write small town, contemporary romance, inspired by my local rural fire brigade at Ballandean, a small village south of Stanthorpe in Queensland where we have thirty-five acres on the Severn River. I was outlining my novel about a heroine sentenced by the…https://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2022/01/02/guest-blogger-louisa-duval/

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