Geelong Scots win back champs
The Geelong Highland Gathering has won the right to host the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Championships for the first time since the event was forced to move from Queens Park in 2009.
Spokesperson Daryl McLure said the gathering was now held at Deakin University Waurn Ponds Campus after losing its home of more than 50 years.
‘‘Regaining the Victorian titles is amajor step to again becoming one of Australia’s biggest Scottish events,’’ he said.
‘‘This is the third year the gathering will be held at its new permanent home at Waurn Ponds.
‘‘This year’s gathering date has also changed, from the third Sunday in March to the first Sunday, March 1, because of other commitments at the university.’’
Mr McLure said the pipe band championships attracted bands from throughout Victoria, and maybe also from interstate.
‘‘A new feature event for 2015 is the exciting and astonishing Birds of Prey demonstrations of mediaeval falconry, with peregrine falcons, owls, kites, kestrels and eagles involved,’’ he said.
‘‘This will add to the attraction of the gathering which also hosts the South Pacific Heavy Games Championships, the Western Martial Arts Academies of Australia National Longsword and Broadsword championships and Highland Dancing competitions.
‘‘In addition, there will be the Scottish Breeds Dog Show, Scottish Country Dancing displays, the 42nd Highlanders re-enactment group, the New Varangian Guard Dubh-linn Branch, also providingmediaeval re-enactments and Clan and Scottish souvenir stallholders as well as food and other vendors.’’
Mr McLure said one of the most popular innovations in recent years had been the expansion of the children’s program to include a modified Wee Highland Games for youngsters, with haggis hurling and lightweight caber tossing.
‘‘Last year also saw the reestablishment of an old link dating back to the first Geelong Highland Gathering in 1857, when Wathaurong Aboriginal people first took part in the event,’’ he said.
‘‘A medal was produced in the 1870s, marking those early Highland Scots-Aboriginal links with an Aboriginal warrior on one side of a shield and a Highlander on the other.’’
Entry costs are: Family $40; adult $15; concession $10; children five to 16, $8; children under-five free.
For more information go to www.geelonghighland gathering.org.au
Talent: The 42nd Highlander and highland dancers.