August 23, 2018
Boondooma Homestead was awash with tartans and bagpipes over the weekend as 300 caravanners and 800 guests gathered to celebrate all things Scottish.
The occasion was the ninth outing of the Scots In The Bush festival, a popular annual event nominally set up to acknowledge the three Scots who settled the area in 1842 and went on to found Boondooma Station.
While the 1000 sq mile station itself no longer exists, Boondooma Homestead’s museum and grounds preserve the 176 years of history since then.
And Scots In The Bush is proving to be a reliable fundraiser to help the Homestead’s volunteers continue to expand and improve one of the region’s unique tourist attractions.
Boondooma Homestead management committee secretary Judy Brandt said she was delighted by this year’s roll-up.
Guests come from all over south-east Queensland. Several new groups of performers took their place on the Homestead’s stage alongside the regulars who’ve supported the festival since its inception in 2010.
“It’s taken a while but I think our festival has finally become a must-do on the Scottish festival circuit,” Judy said.
“We had lots of different clans represented at this year’s Kirkin’ ‘o’ the Tartan, and we also had lots of new groups performing alongside our regulars, which allowed us to provide a full day of entertainment on Friday for the first time.
“We were also honoured to have Ian Campbell from the Queensland Scottish Community pay us a visit.”
As usual, this year’s activities got underway on Thursday evening with a Ceilidh (a Scottish country dance).
This was followed by three days of entertainment covering everything from an Address Tae The Haggis over lunch on Saturday through to the festival’s Highland Games complete with caber tossing, haggis tossing, putting the stone and foot races on Saturday afternoon.
The annual Kirkin ‘o’ the Tartan display was held on Sunday morning, along with a pipe band parade that included members of the Noosa and District Pipe band, the RAAF Amberley Pipes and Drums, the Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band and the Dalby Thistle Pipe Band, accompanied by dancers from Bundaberg’s Rum City Highland Dance Studio.
Guests could also browse a dozen stalls offering everything from South Burnett wines to tartans and genealogical research, or cast their eyes over a menu that offered Aberdeen sausage, Scotch eggs and salad along with Haggis, Tatties and Neeps.
Scottish favourites such as shortbread, Dundee cake, Scottish pancakes, Highland scones and Scotch tablet were also well received, as were oat cakes to help the haggis go down.
In addition to raising money for the Homestead, this year’s Festival also raised almost $3000 for drought relief, and almost $2000 for cancer research.
“We usually do the sound check on Wednesday night before the festival gets underway,” Judy said.
“This year we expanded it by holding a sausage sizzle and invited our local farmers to take part.
“Then we held raffles, and by the end of Scots In The Bush on Sunday afternoon we were surprised to find they’d help raise $2964 for drought relief and $1941 for cancer research.”
The drought relief money will be given to Murgon Rotary, whose members recently helped send a truckload of hay to drought-stricken farmers, while the remainder will be sent to the Queensland Cancer Council.
Judy said the weather had been kind to this year’s Festival, too.
“It was very cold and chilly in the mornings but fairly warm during the day,” she said.
“It only really got very windy on Sunday, and by then it didn’t matter.”
The Homestead’s management committee will now start planning for their next big event, the annual Boondooma Homestead Spirit Of The Bush music muster, which will be held on April 25-28, 2019.
[Video by Jamie Wieland-Allsop]