The Clan were one of nine bands that helped bring the magic of the Highlands to Boondooma Homestead this year; the complete band has four pipers, four drummers and a bass guitarist

August 18, 2015

It’s taken six years, two floods and a drought to get there, but Boondooma Homestead’s annual “Scots In The Bush Festival” could finally be said to have arrived this year.

The Festival chalked up a record of 229 campers for this year’s three-day event, along with another “40 or 50” caravans carrying visiting musicians and volunteer helpers packing into the grounds.

And on Saturday, another 70 daytrippers paid their admission at the gate to join in the fun.

The Festival is a celebration of all things Celtic and is nominally set up to acknowledge the three Scots who settled in the area in 1842 and went on to found Boondooma Station, which once encompassed 1000 sq miles and stretched from Proston to Brovinia Creek in the north, Darr Creek to the south and west to the Great Dividing Range.

These days, though, the Festival is one of the Homestead’s major annual fund-raisers and helps contribute towards the property’s on-going maintenance and restoration work.

This year guests enjoyed three nights and two full days of entertainment in the undercover concert area and outside in the grounds.

The Festival opened on Friday night with evening entertainment and a camp-oven dinner prepared by the Homestead’s volunteers.

On Saturday morning, the Festival was officially opened by Cr Kathy Duff, who cut a tartan ribbon … and then inspected kilt lengths to ensure everything was where it should be.

This was followed soon afterwards by a “Gathering Of The Clans” which saw a record 50 different tartans represented in this year’s line-up, with many participants dressed to the nines in traditional Scottish costumes.

In the afternoon, guests moved outside onto the Homestead’s lawns for the Highland Games which included foot races, haggis throws, shot put and caber tossing. Prizes ranged from ice blocks to $25.

Then it was back indoors for lively Scottish dancing and many more hours of entertainment, which stretched through until late the following day.

Organisers said they were delighted with this year’s attendance figures.

“It’s a really great event,” stallholder Ray Ellington, from Celtic Thunder, told

“We come here every year and I think it’s one of the best Celtic festivals in the country. Everyone is relaxed, it’s a great environment and I’ve seen it get bigger from one year to the next.

“I think it can only keep growing.”

Boondooma Homestead resident caretakers Rob and Marilyn Shackel were enjoying their second Scots In The Bush; the couple took up duties just before last year's Festival
Brian Missett and Stuart Gearey dressed in their traditional finest for the Gathering Of The Clans (Photo: Kerry Cotter)
Kingaroy bonnie lass Letitia McDonald caught up with friend Julie Tones at the Festival
(Photo: Kerry Cotter)
Cr Kathy Duff and her father Michael came from nearby Di Di Station to enjoy the weekend; Cr Duff is part of the Homestead Committee and helped out judging the Highland Games
Boondooma Homestead's Brownie poses with a caber during the Highland Games
Stuart Gearey, dressed more casually for athletics, prepares for a caber toss
Heather McGregor, from Dayboro, tries her hand at the Haggis Toss; but to help preserve the rare Highland delicacy, a sand-filled rubber 'haggis' was used instead of the real thing
Coral Pettit, Bev Waldron and Esther Schultz travelled from Gympie to enjoy their first-ever Scots In The Bush festival
Bundaberg's Rum City Highland Dancers are regular entertainers at Scots In The Bush; teacher Amanda Plunkett, at right, has been teaching Highland dancing for more than 20 years
Friends Of Boondooma Homestead Shirley Grice, Ted Beckmann, Valentine Harris and Fae Beckmann helped man the gate over the three days; they said they were delighted with this year's roll-up

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