New Year’s day in Maryborough has long been associated with the annual highland gathering. This year was the 150th celebration – and to mark the occasion, the Highland Society decided to hold a Scottish Tattoo.
The tattoo was preceded by a parade down the main road. Because I was behind the wheel of one of the SES rescue trucks I don’t have photos of the parade, but we certainly had fun being part of it. The kids lining the route loved seeing the trucks with flashing lights and blaring sirens.
The tattoo itself was fantastic. It kicked off with the Maryborough brass band playing a few introductions and was followed up by some re-enactment actors who played out a scene depicting the discovery of gold in Maryborough. Regular readers might recognise a few of the actors.
Next up was a ensemble of pipe and drum bands (something like 7 or 8 bands combined) that sounded fantastic. They played for 10 or 15 minutes and the crowd enjoyed every second of it.
Once the band left, a small stage was setup for Celine Toner, a Celtic singer. Her set of 5 songs were great and left a lasting impression on the girls. Because they shared a changing room with Celine they spent a bit of time with her and her band. We’ve got a personally signed CD and some great memories.
Peter, Diane and Terry (an acting friend of Peter’s) played a second set as a snake-oil salesman. They needed an audience plant who would be afflicted by some terrible disease and then miraculously cured. Cue Big Girl:
No highland event would be complete without marching girls and sword dancing. There were two groups of marching girls – one group called The Originals who was made up of older women who have been marching girls at earlier highland gatherings. They weren’t as mobile as they used to be, but you could tell they were having a great time marching in front of a crowd again.
Next up were the modern day marching and sword dancing girls. There were four different groups and they all did pretty well – they were another crowd favourite.
The Windy Kilts
An actor played the role of audience warm up and MC early in the event. Later, he slipped into his role as leader of The Windy Kilts. They were great – very funny stuff. Completely unsophisticated slapstick humour, but I loved every minute of it.
The event closed with the whole arena filled with the Maryborough brass band, the massed pipe and drum bands, the marching girls and the actors. The bands played a few final songs including Auld Lang Syne (it is New Year, after all) and finished the only way the possible could with Scotland The Brave.
I’ve been told that if this year’s tattoo was a success they’ll make it a regular part of the new year’s event. I haven’t yet heard whether they’ve made a decision (it’s a little early to know) but given that Princes Park was full of people who loved every minute of what went on, I can’t see how it could be considered anything other than a success.
A few more random shots from yesterday…
Having revisited my photos from last weekend’s photowalk through Maryborough I think these two are probably my favourites.
They’re vastly different, but they both capture the essence of the railway in Maryborough.
One tells the story of a grand old station that’s 120 years old this year. Mark Twain visited Maryborough in 1895 and remarked that it was “A railway station with a town attached”. The station is indeed a magnificent building. There are lots of local rumours and legends about why it’s such an ornate structure, and I’m not sure which I believe.
The other explores the idea of distance and a vast land tied together by rail. During wheat harvest season, rail still forms a vital link between farms and ports. Large parts of Victoria (particularly the Wimmera and The Mallee) are all about railway lines going to the horizon and every small town being dominated by silos.
A very cool video showing the extent of the known universe.
Adelaide’s grade 2 class are doing a topic on “The Sea” for the fourth term this year. Today they had a class trip to the Melbourne Aquarium.
She has really embraced this topic in a way we haven’t seen before. The diorama she made (which this picture does not do justice to) has been worked on for over a week. The Adelaide of old would tend to rush through something to get it done but she has taken a lot of time with this and worked very carefully to get exactly what she wanted.
It’s also worth noting that this isn’t something she had to do for school: it’s something she’s done in her spare time at home because she wanted to.
According to the fact sheet on the official website the 128 turbines each generate 1.5MW for a total capacity of 192MW.
The turbines are huge. We found a side road where we could get pretty close to them, and while we were out of the car taking photos a farmer stopped by to say hello. He owned one of the 34 properties they’re on and invited us in to have a closer look.
Each one is 89 meters from the ground to the turbine housing, and 109 meters from the ground to blade tip. The actual blades are enormous and although they look like they’re turning pretty slowly the blade tip is certainly moving pretty quickly.
Lisa and I were both impressed with with how graceful they are. I know some people think they’re an eyesore, but we don’t agree. They’re pretty quiet and considering how much good they do (enough power to 140,000 homes) it’s a wonderful installation.
Many thanks to the anonymous farmer who kindly let us past the “No private access whatsoever” sign to take a close look.
Trevor says (13:06):
I did hear a Jon Faine interview with a woman who called from Paris because a friend listening in Holland had heard an appeal on 774 for news of a particular couple in Buxton. The Paris woman’s parents lived next door to them. She was able to call them from France, confirm that the missing couple were actually with her parents and then called Jon and let everyone know!!
Andrew lighten says (13:07):
so the lady in holland was streaming 774 over the ‘net, and was able to link family members in melbourne via a call via paris… that is so cool
Trevor says (13:07):
way cool !!
Trevor says (13:07):
Andrew lighten says (13:08):
mind if i stick the last snippet of this chat on my blog?
Trevor says (13:09):
np. I’ll hunt down the audio if you like
Andrew lighten says (13:09):
that would be great… i’ll link to it
Trevor says (13:12):
No surprise that $APPL is down 8% on this news.
Isaac Newton is, as most will agree, the greatest physicist of all time.
(Not that it’s worth anything, I happen to agree. Newtonian physics is such elegant model of the universe, even though Einstein later showed it to be a teensy bit inaccurate in some edge cases.)