Media releases

All singing, all dancing Moomba Monarchs

15 February 2023

Australian musical theatre royalty, Rob Mills and Rhonda Burchmore, have been crowned the 2023 Moomba Festival Monarchs.

The dynamic duo will reign over the extended festival, transforming the banks of the Yarra River – Birrarung for five fabulous days of Moomba magic – from Thursday 9 March to Monday 13 March.

Celebrated for their leading roles in some of the world’s biggest and best theatre productions, Rob and Rhonda will headline the iconic Moomba Parade on a brand new Monarch float on Monday 13 March.

As part of his royal duties, Rob will compete in this year’s Birdman Rally – taking a dip in the Yarra to raise much-needed funds for the Australian Children’s Music Foundation.  

Premiering this month, and playing exclusive at the Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, Rob is set to star in the award-winning musical & JULIET, while Rhonda continues her role as Velma Von Tussle in the Sydney production of Hairspray.

Australia’s largest free community festival will be bursting with colour and excitement, featuring a range of spectacular events and attractions including:

  • The much-loved Moomba Parade, with five new floats and puppets joining the fun alongside more than 1,800 people from cultural groups, dance troupes, marching bands, and more.
  • The hilarious Birdman Rally, which will see 10 competitors hurtle themselves over the Yarra River – Birrarung in their homemade flying devices, all in the name of a good cause.
  • The Moomba Masters water sports competition, showcasing elite Australian and international athletes.
  • Rides and games for thrill-seekers of all ages at the Moomba Carnival.
  • Over 60 performers and entertainers, from acrobats to dancers, musicians, actors, roving performers, and more.
  • Interactive activities and play zones, with crafts, face painting, workshops and a Bluey Live experience.
  • A Dance Hub with workshops and performances, including Bollywood, African Drumming & Dance, Jamaican Dancehall, Swing, Latin and TikTok performance workshops with L2R Dance.
  • Exhilarating scooting, skating and riding across a bustling Moomba Skate Park Program.
  • Food and drinks galore, with more than 25 delicious food truck offerings featuring cuisines from all over the world.
  • Nightly fireworks lighting up the Melbourne skyline, as well as nightly feature films on the Moomba big screen.

The Moomba Ride Pass is now available, providing unlimited rides for all ages on Thursday 9 March and Friday 10 March. Limited passes are availble online for $45 per person.

Moomba is proud to return in 2023 as an accessible and certified carbon-neutral event.   

For more information on Moomba Festival 2023, visit City of Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne thanks its partners TAC, 9News, Serco and Streets.

The Moomba Parade will be broadcast on Channel 9 and available on demand on 9Now.

2023 Moomba Festival opening hours

Thursday 9 March: 5 – 10pm
Friday 10 March: 5 – 10pm
Saturday 11 March: 10am – 10pm
Sunday 12 March: 10am – 10pm
Monday 13 March: 10am – 10pm

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“I am thrilled to crown Melbourne’s favourite musical theatre stars, Rob Mills and Rhonda Burchmore, as this year’s Moomba Monarchs.”

“Melbourne is lucky to play host to so many spectacular musicals – from Hairspray to Hamilton and Mary Poppins to & JUILET. It’s an experience sown into the city’s cultural fabric, so it’s only fitting that these two stars bring their talent and exuberance into this special role.”  

“Moomba means so much to so many. Last year, more than 1.4 million people flocked to the city to soak up the Moomba magic – and we can’t wait to see them return in droves next month.”    

Quotes attributable to City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell

“Major events like Moomba are critical to our community – driving visitation, strengthening our cultural character and providing a much needed boost to city businesses.” 

“Alongside a bustling program of family fun, Moomba creates hundreds of jobs, and delivered a staggering $63.4 million economic impact last year.”   

Quotes attributable to Moomba Monarch Rob Mills

“As someone who was born and raised in Melbourne, the Moomba Festival has always been a favourite of mine.”

“Being crowned a Moomba Monarch is one of the greatest honours there is – and donning the crown with Rhonda makes the experience even more special.”

Quotes attributable to Moomba Monarch Rhonda Burchmore

“During the 40 years of my entertainment career I have performed many roles and sang and danced all over the world — but nothing has been more exciting than taking centre stage as this year’s Moomba Monarch.”

“I can’t wait to see the crowds at the Moomba Parade and I’m so excited to share the throne with my good friend, Rob.”

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15 February 2023

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