The Australian Standing Stones venue at Centennial Parklands was built as a national monument to honour the contributions of Celtic Australians to the Australia. Each year the Guardians, who undertake to ensure the integrity of the monument as a place of significance and reflection for Celtic Australians, affirm their duties at a ceremony within the stone circle. Guardians include the Mayors of Glen Innes and Mosman, the Convenor of the Celtic Council of Australia, people who were involved in the original raising of the Stones and others who help in the management of the site. This year it was a delight to induct Judi Toms, Chair of the Australian Standing Stones Management Board, as a Guardian. Peace and goodwill are imparted to the ceremony by a Maid of the Flowers and Sword Bearer, whose flowers and sword presentation symbolise the fruits of our labours and a declaration of peace. This year the grandchildren of Guardian Raelene Watson had the honour to fulfil these roles. During this ceremony, awards were presented by the Celtic Council of Australia to Glen Innes locals Mike Gilbert and Peter Hansen, for their contributions and support of Celtic Australia, in Mike’s poetry and Paul’s piping that make for important elements in many celebrations in Glen Innes. To them, the honour of D Ur, for the Irish ‘Duine Uasal’ (with the meaning Honoured person) was given.
On Sunday a series of ceremonies were held in honour of the Celtic nations, at the Gorsedd and Ogham Stones and upon Tynwald Hill. Wales celebrated with the Gorsedd Prayer and Welsh anthem, invoking peace; Cornwall celebrated through the annual ceremony of bringing together granite from Bodmin moor in Cornwall with the granite of the Gorsedd Stone in Glen Innes, invoking connectivity; Ireland celebrated with the Queensland Irish Pipes and Drums playing the Irish national anthem and a speech by Irish Consul General to Sydney, Own Feeney, invoking Bealtaine, the Celtic summer celebration at the start of May; The Isle of Man celebrated with a greeting from the President of the London Manx Society Alastair Kneale, invoking the longstanding relationship of the Society and the Australian Celtic Festival. Scotland celebrated with clans declaring their presence and the kirking of the tartan with the colour and spectacle of massed tartan and pipes. Every year, these special ceremonials bring a unique congregation of Celtic nations together and are a hallmark of the Festival.