Highland spirit abounds in Maryborough

TARTAN of many colours billowed in the breeze at the 153rd Maryborough Highland Gathering on New Year’s Day.

Although there was the occasional shower of much-needed rain, the popular street parade and carnival at Princes Park drew hundreds of fans.

Harold Hubble has racked up more than 80 years at the Gathering, so the honour of declaring it open was bestowed on him.

His inspirational speech touched on memories of being at the Gift in the 1930s and what the Gathering meant to him and so many others.

January 1 at Maryborough is a unique experience.

There are not too many places in the world where the playlist from the highland pipe bands or brass bands ranges from Scotland The Brave to Rock Around The Clock and many other popular tunes.

Bands who marched and played along the city’s main street were Maryborough Brass Band, Golden City Pipe Band, Daylesford District Pipes and Drums, St Arnaud Pipe Band, Creswick Brass Band, Clan Macleod Pipe Band, Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band, Bendigo Highland Pipe Band, and Maryborough Highland Band.

Signs of each band’s name were held aloft by the rising stars from the Maryborough Little Athletics Centre. 

Highland dancers such as Cailey Finlayson kept pace in the parade. Maryborough Highland Society president Bruce Dellavedova said the day drew many families.

“There is something for everyone,” Mr Dellavedova said.

“It’s a great day for the family and for people of all ages.”

On the track, Tallangatta’s Lee Forrest, a Gathering rookie, sprinted to victory in the $15,000 Bendigo Bank Maryborugh Gift. Forrest joined an impressive list of winners of the 120m sprint classic.

There was grace and power on display late in the afternoon.

Bessie Penhall, 8, danced on the drum, as seven-year-old Ella Burns did likewise on the ground drum while strong men lifted heavy stones onto 44-gallon drums.

In a year’s time there will be many who make the pilgrimage to Maryborough. Harold Hubble believes there’s no better way to start the year.

More, pages 38, 40

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