This year the Smelter’s Picnic will be celebrating their 115th anniversary of bringing together families across Port Pirie and the surrounding regions for a day of fun.
The picnic has a long history in the Mid North and originally started as the BHP Company decided to provide a day of pleasure for their employees and their families.
It is believed the first few picnics were held at Telowie Gorge and people attended by horse and buggy.
As the picnic grew it landed itself in Crystal Brook, where people were able to visit via train.
Forward to 1915, the BHAS Pty took ownership of the Port Pirie smelter and thus the name of the picnic changed to BHAS Pty Ltd. Picnic and Sport.
Over the years this has gradually changed and is now referred to by all as the Smelter’s Picnic.
The picnic still stands as a day of excitement for many and Ray Walters the acting picnic coordinator says that not only do people come across the region for the day, but across the country.
“We have people come as far as Queensland and New South Wales. They all travel over for the day. For many ex-patriots, Pirieans, the picnic is such a traditional thing, they like to be involved in it and come back for it”, Mr Walters said.
“Pirie doesn’t have a show as such, so the picnic is the next best thing and that is one of the attractions I think. People support it, especially if it is good weather.”
Although the picnic has changed a lot since its Crystal Brook days, Stan Matthew a member of the committee says they are always looking for ways to improve.
“There are a few extra events for the kids this year and that is the direction we are taking. We are wanting to bring back the old picnic feel”, Mr Matthew said.
“Next year we would like to see the footy kick competition come back, depending on areas that we have got.”