August 23, 2017
This year’s annual Scots In The Bush Festival at Boondooma Homestead set a new record for attendances, with 405 caravans packing the grounds and an estimated 1000 visitors taking part in the three day event.
Boondooma Homestead manager Buddy Thomson said he was astonished by the roll-up, which was more than a third bigger than last year, and believed the festival could soon rival the Homestead’s popular Bush Balladeers Muster, which is held each April.
Scots In The Bush started in 2010 and attracted about 72 visitors to its first outing.
It was set up to acknowledge three Scots who settled the area in 1842 and went on to found Boondooma Station, which once covered a 1000 sq mile area stretching from Proston to Brovinia Creek, Darr Creek and west to the Great Dividing Range.
While the station itself no longer exists, Boondooma Homestead’s museum and grounds preserve the 175 years of history in between.
Scots In The Bush, like the Muster, is a fundraiser to help the Homestead’s volunteers continue to expand and improve one of the South Burnett’s most unique tourist attractions.
And this year it paid off in spades.
Guests came from all over south-east Queensland to enjoy three days of non-stop Celtic music and Highland dancing, along with the Festival’s often hilarious Highland Games.
Along the way, bolder souls also had the opportunity to sample some rare Highland delicacies like haggis, while less bold souls got to enjoy more traditional Aussie fare from the Homestead’s camp kitchen.
This year’s Festival was officially opened by South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell, who partnered Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff to the event.
Mayor Campbell said he was a bit wary about coming because he’d heard there might be some McDonalds in the audience (the ancient enemies of the Campbell clan).
However, in a spirit of friendship he was willing to set aside any urges to commit a highland atrocity if they were willing to do the same.
Laughing, the McDonalds who heard his speech agreed.
The Festival began last Thursday night with some evening performances in the Homestead’s amphitheatre while caravanners found campsites in the densely-packed grounds, before swinging into full gear on Friday.
However the official opening was postponed until Saturday so weekend visitors could enjoy the Kirkin’ O’ The Tartan, the Address Tae The Haggis and the Homestead’s own contribution to Scottish mythology, solving the mystery of what Scotsmen wear under their kilt.
Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff explained that each year since the festival began the Homestead added an extra inch to its tape measure and then lifted a kilt that distance to see what might be found.
This year, she said, the tape measure had expanded from its original setting of seven inches to 14 inches, so she was certain the mystery would be solved at some point in the near future.
Scotsman Gervie Fullerton assured Cr Duff the only thing under a Scotsman’s kilt was a pair of socks and shoes.
But Cr Duff was not to be dissuaded and had her assistants hold Mr Fullerton while a third lifted his kilt the prescribed distance.
Then Mayor Campbell and Cr Duff each took a turn on the bagpipes, followed by a tartan ribbon cutting.
Afterwards the pair admired the Homestead’s latest addition – a giant covered awning that shades the area in front of the spacious amphitheatre and provides an almost cathedral-like entrance.
The new awning was erected by the Homestead’s volunteers in May this year, and Scots In The Bush was its first road-test in front of a large crowd.