I don't think any government would accept a situation in which money was simply given over to community groups without some sort of accountability or transparency. I think it's fair to say that there was a very wide-ranging set of criteria that weren't that difficult to meet, and community-level groups were invited to present submissions for funding.
I've mentioned the example of Townsville in northern Queensland. I'm pretty sure there were similar parades and pageants in Tasmania.
Tasmania was a convict colony in Australia, of course, not like Newfoundland.