13th Bush Traditions Gathering 2018

2018 saw the first Gathering held in Yass. The venues were convenient and the assembled multitude congenial. Good music and good company for the whole weekend.


Thanks to the contributors who made the event.

12th Goulburn Gathering 2017

As promised the weather for 2017 was Goulburn's best spring weather - glorious sunshine during the day and a tad nippy in the evenings. The Old Goulburn Brewery once again provided the backdrop and a host of folk provided the action. Dave knocked up a ramp to make easier access to the room we call the Brewery and gave the campsite a mow with tractor and slasher.

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Photos from Dave Johnson and George Bolliger


Thanks to the contributors who made the event.

John Warner - Truly a national living treasure with his crafted songs and his vocal and instrumental accompaniment
Don and Sue Brian gave insights into life as a convict on Norfolk Island based on their research and from living there.
Wayne Millar delivered an inspired introduction to the life and music of Sydney fiddle legend Ray Schloeffel
Mark Gregory gave us some perspectives on AL Lloyd the man
Ralph Pride stripped PA of its complications and demonstrated the components in two detailed sessions
Kerry Doherty - said he couuldn't lead the Slow Tune Workshops but did - and did a grand job
Leigh Brown, Keith Brown, John Warner, Helen and Tony Romeo - for leading the weekend's poetry so capably
Alan Swift - The Yarn Space has become a feature of the weekend allowing time and opportunity to yarn
Helen & Tony Romeo adapted the Glugs of Gosh to make The Play Sunlight and Worms and turned some of CJ Dennis' lyrics into memorable songs
Peter Cahill presented more of his topical "Handwritten Songs"
BMC - The BMC's strong support is always welcome - waltzes, singalongs
No Such Thing- this marvellous assembly of musicians from the Illawarra are always a welcome addition, this year exploring contemporary waltzes.
BMC Saplings - these youngsters just get better from year to year.
Darri Adamson - provided her valued wisdom for newer players and ear players
Sandra Nixon - as BMC historian was keen to show the blog that holds her research
Ray Mulligan led some tunes sessions and dealt with much of the weekend management
Jeff Brown - A champion on the harmonica and happy to share his experience
Moir Holmes led the multi-part arrangements session with her inimitable humour and charm
George Bolliger whose growing expertise in all things concertina provides valuable tips and tricks
Dave Johnson - launched an expanded Local Tunes folio and led a session with dance tunes from the publication "And When They Dance"

11th Goulburn Gathering 2016

Despite dire weather predictions the 11th Gathering was on the long weekend in October. The Old Goulburn Brewery once again provided a venue dripping with historical ambience. There was a delivery mishap which meant that the ordered balmy spring weather did not arrive until the Sunday. Organisers are on to this and the suppliers are duly contrite and promise better in 2017.

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Some photos of the event are posted here.

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Thanks to the wonderful contributors who made the event such a ripper.

Martyn Wyndham-Read delighted all with his songs and yarns
The Fossickers - a group of young Australian lasses who bring a sassy voice to the folk scene!
Chris Woodland - Forum on the lingo of Bush Songs
Jeff Lawrie - Hey Diddle Diddle- the Box and the Fiddle
Kerry Doherty - Slow Tune Workshops
Margaret Walters - The Undaunted Female
Leigh Brown - her own ripper poems
Nancy Nicholls - Brewery Bush Choir
John Warner - His Songs and An Alternative Guitar Tuning
Tony Romeo - Newly learnt songs
Ray Mulligan - Bush Traditions WIKI and sessions
Alan Swift - Tunes of Home and Yarn Space
Sue McMahon - The Musical Saw and Advanced Anglo Concertina
BMC Saplings - Bush Music for youngsters
Garry Tooth - Troubador
Darri Adamson - Learning by Ear
Sandra Nixon - Nicks 'n' Nacks
Ian Hayden - Sally Sloane's Tunes
Don Brian - A Selection of Songs
Jeff Brown - Harmonicas - Types and Styles
Peter Cahill - Songwriter
BMC - Brian Dunnett Tribute Concert and Songs of John Dengate
Song writers - Peter Cahill, Richard Officer & John Warner
No Such Thing- Play Me A Rainbow
Pete McMahon - Stagecraft
Dave Johnson - Tunes and Songs and THE PLAY
Chris Poleson - Bush Uke and more
Glenys Johnston - Just some nice tunes from Dave de Hugard

10th Goulburn Gathering 2015

Just a few pictures from 2015




9th Goulburn Gathering 2014

This was the 60th Anniversary of the Bush Music Club, the oldest folk music club in Australia, so its members featured prominently in the programme. Special BMC guests included Chris Woodland, Frank and Ann Maher, John Poleson, Bob Bolton, Ralph and Rose Pride, Bob Foggin, Helen and Tony Romeo, Chris Poleson and Dave Johnson and The Saplings, the BMC initiative for budding young musicians.

Thanks also to the Victorians - Bruce Watson, Harry Gardner and the VFMC mob, and Peter Ellis; and the
Illawarrans - Denis McKay and No Such Thing; and
Canberrans Alan Swift, Ray Grieve, John Carroll and Ray Mulligan; and
Bathurstonians - Tony Stuart, Jude Bertolin, and Bob Murray; and
Locals - Ian Baxter, David Hart, Marilyn Buckley, Richard Officer, Lesley Ferrier, Mark Wallace, Keith Brown and Graeme Clark.

The Lilac Time Family Bush Dance in the St Saviours Hall featured the Bush Music Club Concert Party under Ralph Pride's direction with caller Don Richmond.

The Sunday night Singabout was the social highlight of the weekend with all the "family" together for an evening of diverse entertainment and dance. And the final fun was the Play Reading featuring Reedy River.

Gathering feedback:

  • The Gathering just keeps getting better. Great music, song and spoken word and great fun. Even the weather cooperated. Alan Swift
  • I am sure you must be pleased with the success of the Gathering over the long weekend...seems to me to have been outstanding. Graeme Clark.
  • We were saying on the trip up that it couldn't possibly be better than last year (our first time), but it was!  Had a wonderful weekend, thank you so much. Janine Forster
  • Thanks for organising such a great weekend, had a wonderful time, but missed out on seeing so much - which is a good sign. Sharyn Mattern (BMC President)

8th Goulburn Gathering 2013

The eighth Gathering was held at the Old Goulburn Brewery over the October long weekend. Some of the feedback. And a gallery of pictures from Sharyn Mattern

  • A big thank you to Bush Traditions and everyone who did the preliminary organisation to ensure the Goulburn Gathering proceeded. It was a first for Gene and myself but hopefully it won't be the last. We were so, so impressed by the wonderful spirit prevailing at the Sunday night ceilidh. We felt as though we were among old friends. Tony Smith (near Bathurst)
  • Thanks again for the superb weekend at Goulburn. Harry Gardner (Melbourne)
  • Thanks again for another very successful Goulburn weekend....and, in particular, for slotting in the ABC intro for us. Tony Romeo (Shell Cove)
  • Great Weekend again. Thanks Dave Bill Montgomery (Kiama)
  • And an amusing one from Helen Romeo as she arrived "Thanks for a great weekend Dave. I know it is going to be so I thought I'd get in early!"

2013 Picture Gallery (Thanks to Sharyn Mattern)

7th Goulburn Gathering 2012

The seventh Gathering happened at the Old Goulburn Brewery over the October long weekend. The weather provided a clear test of character on Friday and Saturday with 30mm rain and strong winds, which kept camping numbers a bit low.However, the number of folk who turned out was the best to date. They reportedly had a good time. Wayne RIchmond took lots of photos which can be viewed here.

The Gathering is the Bush Traditions event for sharing and passing on music, song, poetry and dance in sessions, sing-a-longs and workshops. The dance in town on Saturday evening as part of Goulburn's Lilac Festival was well attended with a good representation of regionals from Canberra, Sydney and the Illawarra, as well as a pleasing number of locals.

  • Features this year were some great workshops by Cath Ovenden, Barry McDonald and Wendy Hodgins who led and taught a bunch of tunes collected from Joe Yates, Stan Treacy & Charlie Bachelor and others. 
  • Chris Sullivan hosted a couple of workshops where he spoke of his experiences collecting tunes from across the Eastern Seaboard of Australia, from Queensland to Victoria.
  • Margaret & Bob Fagan presented Songs of the Battlers,
  • Jason and Cloe Roweth gave some insights into how they achieve their formidable arrangements,
  • Eric Eisler & Sam O'Brien introduced Tunes from the Nulla that Sam has been busy transcribing,
  • Dave Johnson and the local Goulburn musicians presented local tunes and a range of songs and
  • Bob Campbell showed the Irish influence on his fiddling style.
  • Southern Cross stalwarts Helen and Tony Romeo were busy all weekend reciting poetry, playing dance music, running a percussion workshop and leading a sing-along.
  • Don Richmond, Peter Ellis and Sandra Martens spearheaded the dance programme with workshops and calling at the evening functions.
  • Alan Swift led a Yarn Session that covered topics from woodwork to crochet, and
  • Keith Brown regaled us with tales of steam trains.
  • Carole Helman, Moir Holmes, No Such Thing and Ray Mulligan led tune sessions that resounded beautifully off the old stone walls of the Brewery.

The format for the Gathering saw a few additions this year. 

  • Firstly there was a Bush Poets Concert on the Friday night that was hosted by Laurie McDonald and Mike Delaney. It was deemed a success and plans are already in hand for casting the net wider to expand this valuable aspect of the weekend. 
  • Secondly, Bill Arnett put up a large tent in the paddock to be a focus for community activities among the campers. This time Bush Traditions hired a BBQ and anyone who wanted was able to cook breakfast, lunch and tea for themselves. Bill’s setup proved to be robust when wind and rain tested.
  • Thirdly, Alan Johnson suggested that we dig a hole, bring wood and have a fire. This fire formed a focus for activities in the paddock and Alan produced first a couple of camp ovens, some makings and cooked a meal for those who wanted one; all this while we watched the full moon rise over Lansdowne Park the home of the Bradley family, the same people who built the Brewery in the 1830s.
  • Fourthly, photographer Andrew Johnson spent some 15 hours video recording a number of the attendees in a quiet spot within the brewery's southern wing. This was followed by 30 hours of editing and the outcome is a remarkable set of videos that should be an effective way to promote Australia's folk heritage.

brBrewery Bouree

Bronwyn Underwood, Jim Gambling, Ann Young, Wendy and Don Richmond composed this dance to the melody Boozing Jolly-well Boozing at the 2011 Gathering.

Lines of 3 dancers, (1 center of the room person, 2 middle of line, 3 outside person) facing anti-clockwise.  Progressive.

Bars   (3/4)

1 - 8     Everyone set and turn single.  Repeat.
9 - 12      All join hands along the line. 1 and 2 make arch with their inside hand - outside person (3) waltzes around 2 going under the arch
13 – 14    middle (2) follows under
15 – 16    centre (1) turns in under the arch and around
17 – 22    all waltz 2 backwards, 1 forward, 1 backward, 2 forwards
23       person 3 honours to person 2
24       person 2 honours in return
25 – 32    1 and 2 make one arch with inside hands and person 3 waltzes in front of the line, under the arch and into place 1 in the line behind.

6th Goulburn Gathering 2011

Another great weekend of traditional Australian music, dance, poetry, songs and general good fun.

  • The Saturday Bush Dance held in conjunction with Lilac Time was a roaring success. It was held in St Saviour's Hall and a good crowd enjoyed dancing to the musicians from the festival with callers Don Richmond and Sandie Martens.
  • No Such Thing with John Harpley presented a brilliant workshop on legendary fiddler, Eileen McCoy;
  • Cath Ovenden came all the way from Queensland to share her interpretations of traditional Australian fiddle players;
  • Bob Foggin's tribute to the music of his father kept the audience spellbound;
  • Alan Swift encouraged personal anecdotes, to remind us of the importance of our own personal folklore;
  • Chris Woodland briefly explored the Australian Idiom and showed us that this topic warrants further workshops in the future; Peter Ellis and Stuart Simms came from Victoria and contributed valuable ideas on playing for dances;
  • Sam O'Brien and Eric Eisler introduced some lovely tunes from NZ fiddler Charlie Montgomery; and
  • Ian Baxter presented a fitting tribute to Crookwell band leader and musician John Warn.
  • The Sunday Night Dinner Dance and Concert initiated last year has become a favourite with its mix of song, poetry and dance.
Belmore Park Lilac Time Concert - Bush Dance Display Group from ACT doing a participation dance and Claire Doherty and Dave Johnson playing a tune together on fiddles. Photo credits Ann Young.

5th Goulburn Gathering 2010

A wonderful weekend with a surprise and welcome contribution from Gary Shearston who was in Goulburn and accepted an invitation to provide a bracket of songs. A nice mix of oldies including Shearing in a Bar and his newer style.

In addition to the events at the Brewery this year we ventured off site for:

  • Saturday Concert in Belmore Park
  • Saturday Bush Dance in Goulburn Soldiers Club
  • Sunday Concert at the Railway RoundHouse

Warm thanks to our contributors who made the weekend such a pleasant gathering :

  • Garry Tooth (of the old Troubador school)
  • Ned Kelly historian Keith McMenomy
  • Poet and singer/songwriter Tomas Hamilton
  • Harry Gardner, Denise Hibbs, and Richard Ayling (from Victoria),
  • the Roaring Forties (including Robin Connaughton, Tom Hanson, Margaret Walters, Chris Maltby and John Warner)
  • the Bush Music Club Concert Party (including Bob Bolton, Ralph Pride, Eric Eisler, Samantha O'Brien, Bob Foggin)
  • Helen and Tony Romeo,
  • Chris Poleson,
  • Don Richmond,
  • Sandra Martens,
  • the Brewery Bunch (including Dave Johnson, Peter McLaren, Keith Brown, Marilyn Buckley, Peter Perry, Ian Baxter, Adrian Wilson)

4th Goulburn Gathering 2009

What a beauty!

  • Dave de Hugard with his inimitable laconic style - truly a national treasure,
  • Lyell Sayer powered into the bush songs and his own beaut topical compositions,
  • Alan Musgrove gave us some delightful fiddle tunes with Tom Walsh and then some more from Frank Forde,
  • Peter Ellis - his knowledge of traditional Australian social dancing is unsurpassed and he plays his concertina with great dance drive,
  • Margaret Walters as always a mainstay of the weekend singing and with Christina Mimmocchi aired some fine songs about women in Australia,
  • John Warner - a powerful singer and a powerful songwriter and with Jenny Cole gave some great songs about living in the country,
  • Harry Gardner's puppetry presentation of Waltzing Matilda was just incredible,
  • Sally Leslie's dance calling coupled with Stuart Leslie's concertina made a great combination for workshop and dance,
  • Carole Helmann again put forward her wonderful concertina style,
  • Bill Montgomery played his heart out in sessions and even led a tune or two,
  • Yvonne and Kath O'Grady both good value in sessions and dance bands,
  • Stuart Simms gave the dance music the traditional thump (especially in the minor keys),
  • Gary Lovejoy showing his unique concertina style that embraces that of Clem O'Neal,
  • Jim Moir ably played for Sandra Martens' stylish quadrille workshop,
  • Alan Swift - well researched and presented family hisotory with song,
  • Toby Eccles raised the bar with a well-researched treatise on marchen (fairy stories) in Australia and their overseas counterparts,
  • Helen and Tony Romeo threw themselves into enjoying themselves in sessions and singalongs,
  • Keith Brown, Peter McLaren, Peter Perry, Marilyn Buckley and Ian Baxter led a singalong session and enjoyed all the other sessions too,
  • Sandra Nixon took the money with such a lovely smile it didn't hurt and she kept singing sessions flowing without resort to a whip,
  • as well as organisers Dave Johnson and Ray Mulligan, who both just enjoyed a very special weekend with friends sharing the unique Australian culture we love.
  • It isn't about numbers but this year just over 120 enjoyed the Gathering despite the rather dampened camping conditions.

Some Feedback

  • G’day Ray and Dave, Thank you both for your great effort and congratulations on running a most enjoyable weekend. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one. John Harpley
  • Dear Ray and Dave, Thanks yet again for all your efforts towards a great Bush Traditions gathering.  It was fun sharing music and dance with all those folk. Carole Helman

3rd Goulburn Gathering 2008

What a weekend! It actually rained in Goulburn! But spirits were not dampened, and with onsite camping and forty hardy campers, the Gathering had a convivial community atmosphere. Music, song and dance were celebrated with gusto and finesse.

A huge thanks to:

  • Dave de Hugard, Peter Ellis, Carole Helman, Alan Musgrove, Gary Lovejoy, Sue and Pete McMahon, Martin Chatfield, Harry Gardiner, Richard Ayling, Denise Hibbs, Margaret Walters, Chris Woodland, Ross West, Sally and Stuart Leslie, Helen and Tony Romeo, Sandra Nixon, Alan Johnson, as well as organisers Ray Mulligan, Dave Johnson, Don Brian and Bill Arnett.

Some Feedback:

  • Many thanks to your good selves and all others who put in the hard yards to make a great weekend. The sense of community - no 'celebrities'  - no egos - plenty of sharing - all made it a unique 'gathering'. Well done ! Rob Willis
  • Thanks for a great weekend. Stuart and Sally Leslie
  • Just a short note to say thank you to you and the other organisers of the "Bush Traditions Gathering", it was great. Bob Murray 
  • Hi, another good festival. Thought it might even have been a bit better than last one. Bill Montgomery
  • A great time was had by all here.  Many thanks for including us.  Would love to do it all again. Yvonne O’Grady
  • Had a fantastic time at Goulburn, well done to all the organizers. Martin Chatfield
  • What a great weekend of friendship and wonderful music, thanks so much for
    the organising such a " little gem" of a Festival. We will be back again next
    Barbara and Lance Court
  • I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the bush gathering at Goulburn.  Thanks so much for inviting me to do the workshops. It’s definitely a special experience sharing music, song and dance like that. I know you did huge amounts of work to make it all happen, and I very much appreciate your efforts.  It was especially good to be able to camp on site. Carole Helman.  
  • Linda and I both enjoyed the weekend. The on-site camping was much better than being off-site. We both felt more part of things than last year - coming back may have contributed but being on site was a big part of it. Alan and Linda Swift