35th Assembly of the Bards of Cornwall in Australia

There are Cornish Bards around the world, whether having migrated or being Barded for services to Cornwall in other lands. In Australia there are currently 43 Cornish Bards, with 39 more having passed away since the Australian first made a Cornish Bard in 1935.

On Saturday 22nd June, in a grassy square in the town of Wallaroo, South Australia, 19 Bards of Cornwall gathered to hold the special ceremony, modelled on the Open Gosedh, written and approved in 1986 for use in the local communities.

The town and port of Wallaroo is part of the so-called Copper Triangle or Copper Coast, where Cornish miners and Welsh smelters lived and worked from the 1860s until the 1920s. Just down the coast is Australia’s Little Cornwall; the town of Moonta and nearby Moonta Mines.

Like the Open Gorsedh or the Arwen ceremony it is held entirely in Cornish, except for some small bits of information for crowd control and context by a narrator. The ceremony contains many of the elements you will see in Cornwall: Local official greeting, threefold cry of peace, flower dancers, a May Queen (like the Lady), a horner to the 4 corners, remembrance of deceased Bards since last meeting, introduction to the local circle of newly installed Bards, introduction of visiting Bards, much singing, and harp music.

The leader of the assembly ceremony wears a copper plastron specially made for Australia, and is assisted by Vice Herald Bard/s. This year the leader was Terry Johnson from SA, assisted by Chris Dunkerley from NSW. The Marshall was Roseanne Hawke (SA), Horner Carleen Woolcock (SA), Chanter Matt Curnow (SA), Oath taker Rob Lloyd (Vic).

This years ceremony was sadly attended by no Bards visiting from Cornwall due to Covid-19 travel bans. From South Australia there gathered twelve, from Victoria five, and New South Wales two. This year was the 35th Assembly, and the 37th formal gathering of Bards in Australia.

The Cornish Gorsedh was established in 1928, following the Breton counterpart in the previous century and the Welsh one a century earlier.

More information of the Cornish Bards in Australia:  http://members.ozemail.com.au/~kevrenor/gorseth.html

More about the Gorsedh:  https://gorsedhkernow.org.uk  plus links to the previous two websites.

Top photo is 18 of the 19 Bards assembled, after the ceremony (By Dee Payton), and the bottom is of Hughes Pump House at Moonta Mines (By Chris Dunkerley)

Kevrenor 10 June, 2021