Leonie Sparks continued...
School holidays were spent touring around the Lakes on her grandfather Robert Broome’s houseboat ‘Dargo’ and taking trips on Peel’s ‘Bluebird’.
In 1954 she made her debut at the Mechanics Hall in Lakes Entrance―the same venue where she played badminton and went to square dances. Leonie also joined the Red Cross and that group supported her when, at the suggestion of the Bairnsdale Advertiser’s Enid Tonks, she began raising money for the Spastic Society and became an entrant in the Miss Victoria Quest in 1956.
As Miss Gippsland, she stayed at the Hotel Australia in Collins Street and attended a whirl of dinners, visits to the theatre and other outings. Leonie was judged Miss Victoria 1956 at the gala event held in the Myer Mural Hall.
As the Victorian finalist, Leonie then hosted the other state finalists in the Miss Australia Quest and took part in many Olympic functions, as well as attending many more dinners and outings, including morning tea at Parliament House with Sir Henry Bolte.
As Miss Victoria, she also visited many regional centres throughout 1957, making her final appearance with her successor in the 1958 Moomba Parade.
In 1959 Leonie was married at the Lakes Entrance Methodist Church. She and her husband moved to Melbourne, buying a house in Mount Waverley in 1961—where they still live today, four children and eight grandchildren later.