Electrician John Hough and Tony Blackadder from Grafton Ally Fabrications put the finishing touches to the new Jacaranda Queen Clocktower crown.
Electrician John Hough and Tony Blackadder from Grafton Ally Fabrications put the finishing touches to the new Jacaranda Queen Clocktower crown. Jenna Thompson

Meet the men behind festival's new crowning glory

AN industrial shed up a side street in South Grafton was holding a right royal secret until now.

An advanced peek this week revealed a 21st century makeover for the iconic Grafton Clocktower crown ahead of its official craning into place early this morning.

The next generation construction embraces the contemporary outlook the festival is promoting while paying homage to the original outdoor structure that was created in the 1950s.

With the original outdoor crown looking worse the wear from its badly deteriorating steel frame, Festival Manager Mark Blackadder pitched the idea of a new model to his brother Tony from Grafton Ally Fabrication who came up with a more user-friendly rendition based on the original which was modelled on Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Crown.

The bespoke construction made from lightweight aluminium features 115 LED lights and is less than half the weight of the old crown making it a lot easier to hitch up and put into place.

Electrician John Hough and Tony Blackadder from Grafton Ally Fabrications put the finishing touches to the new Jacaranda Queen Clocktower crown.
Electrician John Hough and Tony Blackadder from Grafton Ally Fabrications put the finishing touches to the new Jacaranda Queen Clocktower crown. Jenna Thompson

Mr Blackadder said it took him and electrician John Hough around nine days "about the length of the festival" to make the new crown using good old fashioned nous to fashion it into shape.

"We did a freehand drawing to use as a rough template and basically winged it from there," he said.

The frame is made from 40 x 40 square sectioned aluminium and features weather proof LED lights throughout all set off with the addition of silver ball at the top of the design.

"My workmate Jason O'Grady came up with that idea. We made the ball by welding two high bay light shrouds together. It should all be good for another 50 years."

The impressive structure stands at 3.2 metres high and will adorn the top of the clock tower from today until the end of the festival in November.

Following suit with the contemporary makeovers will the festival's own crowns jewels, the Queen and Junior Queen crowns to be unveiled later this month.



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