Group gathers with Victorian vigour

May 30, 2024 BY

Regal reception: Ballarat People Who Promenade members followed their celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday with an appearance at the Provincial Home Living upstairs cafe. Photos: SUPPLIED

A COLOURFUL cast of characters right at home with the antiquated offerings of Ballarat Heritage Festival were seen sauntering around the front of Town Hall last Friday.

The Ballarat People Who Promenade group were dressed in their latter-19th century best to acknowledge the 205th birthday of Queen Victoria.

With about 10 people gathered at Queen Victoria Square at 2pm, coordinator Megan Finlayson brought the monarch to life in costume, addressing passersby.

Heather Horrocks assisted Ms Finlayson in drawing attention to the spectacle, draped in crocheted video tape, and said the event was about highlighting the former Queen.

“Generally during Heritage Week, Queen Victoria pops out to wave at her subjects in Ballarat and is available for photo ops and selfies,” she siad.

“But May 24 is her birthday so she appears at her statue and those of us assisting like to extend some information and support for the role of an extraordinary woman.

“I dressed up as a distant relative of Rasputin to be able to tell that story to people of how he got involved with Queen Victoria’s favourite grandchild, Alexandra and claimed to heal her hemophilia.”

Heather Horrocks was dressed as a distant relative of Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin in reference to his connection with Queen Victoria’s family.


Promenading entails the act of leisurely walking down a road or path for pleasure.

The Ballarat People Who Promenade group was established in 2019 with the aim of bringing a wider recognition around the effort to the region, and gathers several times a year.

The group has been part of te Begonia Festival Parade and The Ballan Autumn Festival, and has supported initiatives like Ballarat Tweed Ride.

“We believe having fun is good,” Ms Horrocks said. “Dressing up is a really fun and cheap way to stir the pot a bit. It’s to liven up the streets of Ballarat.

“We can promenade at the drop of a hat. Especially during Heritage Week, it’s all part of that bit of the program that speaks of old timey things.”

Following a toast and a rendition of Happy Birthday in Queen Victoria’s name, the group concluded their event with an afternoon tea at the Provincial Home Living upstairs cafe across the road.