The Maytime Fair returns

The Maytime Fair returned after an absence during the pandemic with Jesuits and Jesuit ministries across Melbourne coming together at Xavier College to raise money for Jesuit Mission.

“The rain held off”, the relieved remark at the end of many a Maytime Fair since 1952, was heard again on 7 May 2022. In the absence of that rain people connected with Jesuits and Jesuit ministries across Melbourne came together at Xavier College to raise money for Jesuit Mission.

The sense of community was palpable. Families at the Fair for the first time, curious at this tradition latent during lockdowns. Couples who have been coming to the Fair for decades, seeking out jams and cakes. Friends returning for an annual catch-up with one another, maybe over a burger and a drink in the Rigg Quadrangle.

There was energy and life throughout the day as children engaged in activities organised by Manresa, the new Year 7 & 8 program at Xavier College’s Senior Campus, and staff from it’s Junior Campus, Burke Hall, along with various Xavier Senior Campus Houses running golf putting and four-square competitions, along with the dunking machine, battle of the bands and theatre sports. Students from other local schools entertained with a fairy stall and photo booth. There was popcorn, snow cones, fairy floss and more on offer.

Julian Butler SJ with Xavier students at the Maytime Fair.

Second-hand books were back on sale, and very popular. As was produce from Xavier’s boarding families, and food stalls from each of the school’s parent associations. Throughout the day people gathered in the Rigg Quadrangle to munch on a sausage, hot chips, or a Dutch pancake, share a glass of wine, and listen to music from students and staff.

The connection between the Maytime Fair and the those supported by its fundraising has always been strong. The first Fair was held the year after Australian Jesuits went to Hazaribagh, India to work in education and with the poor and dispossessed. This was the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between people working with the marginalised overseas, and people in Australia wanting to support that work.

Xavier students assisting at the fair.

As the international development organisation of the Australian Jesuit Province, Jesuit Mission continues that work today and believes that every woman, man, and child deserves to live a full and free life. Jesuit Mission works with people who are living in the margins, suffering the indignity of poverty and injustice.

To create the greatest possible change, Jesuit Mission, with the funds raised in its name, go where it is needed most in Asia and Africa. It actively focusses on life-changing support to the most marginalised people and communities. Those involved in the Maytime Fair were privileged to support this work.

Julian Butler SJ