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Australian Celtic Festival Newsletter – November 2019 - Australian Celtic Festival

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Australian Celtic Festival Newsletter – November 2019

This month’s newsletter features all the updates you need on the 2020 Festival – Year of Ireland and Isle of Man, along with some interesting articles from our guest writer from the Australian Standing Stones Management Board and the Caledonian Society based here in Glen Innes Highlands.  And don’t forget to read this month’s Celtic News with a whole lot more.

Festival Updates


Performer Announcements

We’re excited to announce the following acts have been confirmed for the 2020 Festival, some of our favourites are returning as well as some exciting new performers.

Murphy’s Pigs
The Boatmen
Gone Molly

Frankie Boy
Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers

Northern Celts (Lismore School of Irish Dance)
Moree Caledonian Society Pipes & Drums
Murrumba Pipes & Drums Society, Inc.

Check out our performers profiles here


Applications & Bookings

We are still taking applications and bookings for those interested in participating in the 2020 Festival.

Be part of something great, be part of our Celtic celebrations. Apply now to make sure you don’t miss out!

Clan and Celtic Society Booking Information
Australian Celtic Dance Championships Entry Form
Australian Celtic Fashion Awards Entry Form
Triquetra Awards Nomination Form


Feature Article: Australian Standing Stones Management Board

The Raising of the First Stone

The site of the Australian Standing Stones at the Centennial Parklands was surveyed by local surveyor Ian MacDonald.  The alignment of the Stones was designed in such a way that the rising and setting sun in midwinter and midsummer pointed to the three central guide stones.

Melbourne architect and designer of the Australian tartan, John Reid, compiled ideas from the Standing Stones Steering Committee. The array was to consist of thirty-eight stones, all over five metres in length and each would stand at a height of over three metres above the ground.

The first stone transported proved problematic at many stages.  Transportation of the stone from where it was found to the Centennial Parklands posed the first problem.  Machinery was skilfully placed. As it proceeded to lift the large stone however, the wheels of the loader became airborne and not the load!  Patience, determination and a true team effort proved triumphant in getting the first stone off the ground to then be coaxed on to the transport vehicle.

The excavation on site for the first stone was ready and a small but very important ceremony took place on 7 September 1991.  Emblems of the Celtic nations were placed into the excavation.  These were: Scotland – a thistle, Ireland – a shamrock, Wales – leek and daffodil, Cornwall – primrose, Brittany – a piece of broom, Isle of Man – ragwort, Australia – wattle and a sprig of rowan – an emblem for all Celts.
To complete the dedications, a bottle of the finest Scotch whisky was poured into the hole by ‘the local Catholic priest, who remarked in his fine Irish brogue, “For shame, for shame to be so wasteful. It should have been filtered through the kidneys first!” (‘The History of the Australian Standing Stones’, John Mathew D Urr, page 26)

The Lone Piper played as the local tug of war team grasped the mile of rope attached to the block and tackle system which was to result in the first stone going into the excavation.  The stone once again proved problematic and no amount of ‘pull’, ‘heave’, ‘strain’ and cheering from the crowd was going to get the rock to submit to the ground again  Modern machinery arrived later in the day to place the Alexander Stone safely in its new home.

As part of the celebrations that day, the sounds of the didgeridoo were played to ensure peace, goodwill and good spirits for the future.

And so began the creation of Australia’s National Monument to the contribution of the Celtic peoples to Australia.

Next month …. The formation of the Array

Judi Toms D Urr
Chair, Australian Standing Stones Management Board


Australian Celtic Dance Championship
Meet our 2020 Judges!

Australian Celtic Dance Championship Judges are announced! 

The Australian Celtic Festival Office is pleased to announce that Petar and Jessica Grulovic will be the Judges for the 2020 Australian Celtic Dance Championships.  Both Petar and Jessica have extensive experience in music, dance, and performance disciplines.

Petar has a strong background in Irish Dance and has completed nationally and internationally since the age of seven.  He has been awarded nine QLD State Championships, one Australian Championship, and placed 13th in the World in 2002.  Petar is currently working towards his official Teacher’s qualification in Irish Dancing. Petar has also learnt non-competitive Highland (and Scottish Country) dancing in the past, having performed at numerous Burns Nights’ dinners and attended numerous regional Highland Dance competitions. Petar’s family has had a long association with Highland Dancing and his grandfather’s sister was a former All-Scotland champion.

Petar’s background also includes many years of learning (and teaching) Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Speech & Drama & Voice; and he is the Co-Principal of Triple Threat Theatre Academy, a performing arts academy founded by Petar and his wife, Jessica, in 2012 (based in Mackay). Petar has been a dance choreographer for over a decade, and has performed/competed in various international dance styles, including Serbian, Hungarian, Estonian, Spanish and various forms of Celtic Dance.

Jessica Grulovic is also experienced in the areas of Performing Arts, specialising in Voice, Speech and Drama, Ballroom and Contemporary Dance. She has worked professionally with Opera QLD and Triple Threat Theatre Academy/Company, and is familiar with many forms of dance, music and arts. She has a Bachelor of Music Theatre from CQ University and teaches Celtic (classical, folk and modern) music to her private Vocal students in North QLD. Jessica also choreographs dance and drama work for TTT Academy.

Petar and Jessica were the inaugural judges of the Australian Celtic Dance Championships in 2016, and we are very pleased to have them back with us for our 2020 competition.
Entries for the Australian Celtic Dance Championships are open and available on the ACF website.


Feature Article: Caledonian Society of Glen Innes


The practice of Morris Dancing is thought to be an utterly English thing but it is more than likely that Medieval Morris was part of a wider European tradition. Morris appears to have been a medieval form of courtly entertainment relating in some way to the Moors of Spain and North Africa.

The clue to this lies in the dance’s name. “Morris” which is a modern rendering of what used to be called “Morisk,” “Moorisse,” or “Moorish” dance. How this dance form came to England no one really knows but suffice to say the earliest reference to Morris costuming comes from the account books of a wealthy family from Lanherne in Celtic Cornwall dating to 1466. The entry notes that they bought 48 bells and large amounts of paper and glue with which to perform a disguising and a Morris dance. Morris dancing is a flexible art form, with participants usually trying to make their act as silly as possible.

Dancers typically wear white or brightly coloured clothing and often set their outfits off with brightly coloured sashes called baldrics. Ridiculous hats made of straw or felt and copious numbers of bells comprise other “musts” for dancer attire.
Most performers carry white handkerchiefs or sticks and strike them against each other to punctuate their moves. Morris dance is not just an English pastime but is very popular in the Celtic regions of Cornwall and
Wales. In Wales a different type of Morris called Border Morris is popular both there and in the border counties of England.

It differs from traditional English Morris in that the dances are mainly stick dances and the costume is made up of a very colourful tatter coat.
The Nantgarw tradition is a style of Morris dancing from the South and Valleys regions of Wales specifically associated with the small village of Nantgarw in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf where they are said to have first been performed.
In the Cornish dance tradition (Cornish: Donsyow kernewek), there is much evidence of Morris dancing and mumming from 1466. Iconography on the pew ends at St. Nonna’s church Altarnun suggests performance of a Morris dance with knee bells, a fiddler and a piper about 1525. A ditty dated 1600 referring to the Altarnun bench ends written by one Robert Weilkes reads, Harke, harke, I hear the dancing
And a nimble Morris prancing; The bagpipe and the Morris bells The figures on the Altarnun bench ends in CELTIC CORNWALL are the oldest surviving depiction of
English Morris dancers.
Glen Innes has it’s own Morris dancing group called Pretty Grimm Morris and consists of four men and four women. The group specialises in the Welsh Border Morris tradition and dances with brooms and sticks.

Classes are weekly at the Masonic Centre and enquiries can be directed to 67322890. Members ages range from 28 to 73!!!!!!!

Garek Fysch D Ua
Chair Caledonian Society Glen Innes


Other News and Updates

New look for ACF Website coming soon!
We are excited to announce our ACF website is getting an upgrade. Stay tuned for more updates.

ACF Trader Information and Applications are available on the ACF website.  
Trader Applications close 31 January.

Clan and Celtic Society Booking information is available on the ACF Website. 
Clans and Celtic Societies are welcome to make a booking for a tent/stall site.  Simply read our Booking Terms and Conditions, then send in your Clan/Celtic Society contact information to book the site.


Glen Innes Showground ACF Camping

Bookings for camping at the Glen Innes Showground during the Festival period are now open.

The Showground is one of the main camping areas available to Festival goers every year. They can meet the needs of individual campers, as well as small and large groups.

For further information visit the Glen Innes Showground


Want more Celtic News?

Click here to read the latest from Celtic News and don’t forget to sign up to their newsletter!


What’s Next?

Next month we’ll have more performer announcements and updates on the
2020 Australian Celtic Festival – Year of Ireland & Isle of Man
as well as more featured articles from our guest editors.

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