Eisteddfod - A competitive festival of Welsh origin, devoted mainly to music and literature.
The word eisteddfod did not come into common usage until the 18th century, yet the festival to which it refers originated in the medieval gatherings held to determine the professional requirements and duties of the bards (Celtic minstrels or poets).
The earliest of these gatherings for which there is reliable documentation was that summoned by Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd at Cardigan in 1176.
Lord Rhy’s festival is of particular interest because of features it had in common with the eisteddfod as we know it today.
With such a tradition behind them it was only natural the Welsh people who came to Australia should desire to perpetuate these customs in their new land.
It was the Welsh who commenced the eisteddfod movement in Queensland and this was largely due to those who settled in Blackstone near Ipswich.
From an eisteddfod held there in 1887, the Queensland Eisteddfod movement came into being and has been part of our wonderful musical culture ever since.
The Ipswich Junior Eisteddfod Society Inc commenced in 1945 under the title of Ipswich Juvenile Eisteddfod.
The first eisteddfod was held over three days in September of 1945. The committee had set aside the sum of fifteen guineas (₤15/15/- or $31.50) for three bursaries of ₤5/5/- each and competitors competed in 60 Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Dancing and Speech items.
Many of the talented juniors who have performed at the Ipswich Junior Eisteddfod Society Eisteddfods over the years, have since performed on national and international stages.
Today, the Society holds separate eisteddfodau for juniors up to 20 years of age in Music (comprising Vocal, Piano and Instrumental), Dance Solos, Dance Groups, Speech and Drama, and a Drama Festival of One Act Plays.