CELEBRATING THE SCOTS: Marlene McBean and Janelle Matthews from the Inverness Highland Dance Studio at the 150th celebrations for the Warwick Caledonian Society.
CELEBRATING THE SCOTS: Marlene McBean and Janelle Matthews from the Inverness Highland Dance Studio at the 150th celebrations for the Warwick Caledonian Society.

Huge crowds put Warwick’s Scottish heritage on the map

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There was no piping down the buzz at the Warwick Caledonian Society's 150th celebrations as hundreds of enthusiasts from across the country poured into the Rose City.

Founded in January 1871, the group is most famous for its debutante balls and highland-themed gatherings and now, as one of the oldest societies in the Southern Hemisphere according to society chieftain Alexander Manfield.

"For the history buffs, General Custer hadn't even been to Little Bighorn in the Civil War when the Warwick Caledonian Society was formed," he said.

"These days we have lots of migrant support but 150 years ago that didn't exist. They made things like Caledonian Society to celebrate culture from the places they were from.

"Some readers will remember the Highland gatherings on Boxing Day where for over 100 bands would travel all over Australia to Warwick."

More than 10 pipe bands and over 200 players from "Northern NSW to Rocky and everywhere in-between" travelled for the celebrations, marking Warwick as a coveted historical destination.

"Today, we use the group to celebrate a lot of our Scottish heritage, whether that's helping the Inverness Highland Dance Studio or helping the Pipe Band travel down to the Edinburgh Tattoo in Sydney," Mr Manfield said.

"We put Warwick on the map for a lot of different reasons.

"In just over 28 days our social media reach has increased by a third. We've gone from nearly 400 to over 600 in a month. It's uncharted territory."

Town crier Bob Townshend, who helped open the day, said without societies like the Warwick Caledonian Society our history couldn't be passed on.

"If you don't remember history, you don't know where you came from and you don't know where you're going," he said.

 



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