Back to the Bush @ Binalong

The last few years has seen initiatives to take collected music back to the communities it came from. The Goulburn session have been focused on music from the area collected from Stan Treacy, Frank Collins and Pearly Watling in particular for several years now. In 2016, a group of musicians from the Bush Music Club took a programme of music from the Mudgee /Gulgong area to play for a dance at the Gulgong Folk Festival. Here they met up with the local band Stringybark who have been performing in the area since before John Meredith recorded them in the 1960s. Later that year Sofala was host to a Bush Music Club weekend to celebrate the music of Joe Yates.

In November this year Bush Traditions is organising a weekend of music at Binalong (pronounced Bine-along) [Click here for a Google map] primarily to celebrate the music of accordionist/ fiddler Harry Cotter. Also of interest in the area is the connection with Banjo Paterson who lived nearby and Johnny Gilbert who died nearby.

Binalong is west of the Hume Hwy, 35 km south of Yass. The town boasts 220 residents and the district another 350. It has a Hotel and a Motel, a community Hall and a large campground.

The weekend will include:
Friday night bush dance
Saturday night bush dance
Concertina workshops
Programmed workshops
Slow Sessions
Informal sessions

The plan is to use existing facilities, e.g. the Binalong Motel (Stephen Street), the Binalong Hotel (cnr Fitzroy & Wellington) and the Campground (near the sports oval). Participants are, of course, responsible for their own accommodation and meals. Camping at the campground is free of charge and the luxury of hot showers will be available courtesy of the local football club. ( $5 per camper for the weekend)

Binalong boasts a beautiful old Mechanics Institute Hall (Wellington Street, 130M from the Hotel). There will be a small charge to attend dances in order to cover its hire. The Supper Room will be used for workshops. For the Friday dance we'll have a scratch band from the assembled and on Saturday night the Bush Capital Band will be in force. Volunteer callers will guide the dancing for the expected mix of locals and visitors.

To focus on the music of the Cotter family a folio of tunes has been prepared and will be available for purchase (to cover printing costs) or can be downloaded and printed (or squinted) here.

The aim is to take our collected music back to the community where it was collected to put the music into its historical context with a contemporary experience. The event is being promoted through the Monaro Folk Society, The Bush Music Club and the Kiama Folk Club.


The first Concertina Convergence Camp is a bonus event happening at Back to the Bush @ Binalong. Sandy Gray and Carole Helman have planned for just a few organised workshops and anticipate lots of informal events. The offerings for the weekend are:

SATURDAY 10 am - Sue McMahon  Extending your Anglo across genres
SATURDAY 2 pm - Greg Wilson  English systems
SUNDAY 10 am
- Steve Wilson  English Chordal Accompaniment for Singing

George Bolliger will be available and happy to answer questions regarding concertina maintenance and more over the weekend.


Bundanoon DanceFest 2018

Next year is the 10th Bundanoon DanceFest so we are looking for ideas to make this a special one.......

National Folk Festival 2017

Tune Sessions in the Bar, Bush Orchestra and a concert were the main additions to the NFF from Bush Traditions. Ray also presented a workshop on the wiki to an interested crowd.

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Recently Heather Clarke joined the organising team at Bush Traditions. Her knowledge of early Australian dance is remarkable and can be explored at her web site.


Trove Treasures
Researcher Mark Gregory has unearthed some treasures from the NLA's TROVE.

He will be at the Gathering 2017 to show this and more.

nfsaReal Folk Videos
Some classic bush music now on YouTube

danceMusic from previous events available for free download here.

danceMusic from the 2016 NFF Settler Sessions
is available for purchase here.

concAnglo Concertina Tutor
A set of bush tunes arranged with fingering and all for Anglo Concertina players.
Click here to see it

This website is maintained and developed by David Johnson.
Suggestions for inclusion welcome