New South Wales State Committee of Highland Dancing Inc.

From library research and newspaper clippings we are aware that Highland Dancing in New South Wales was being performed during the 1800’s and possibly prior to that period as our first settlers had emigrated from the United Kingdom to form a British colony. Later, Highland dancing competitions were held and were generally organised by Scottish Societies or Pipe Band Associations. Highland Games continued to flourished within the State through the period between and during World Wars One and Two.

Following the second World War many more schools of Highland Dancing sprang up in the cities within New South Wales and in many small and large country towns. Highland dancers performed at most of the important functions held throughout the State encouraging a greater interest in this cultural art form. The vast distance between States and Territories, together with limited means of transport and cost thereof, meant dancers were generally restricted to local State or area competition.

During the early 1950s the Scottish Dancing Association of Australia and the National Dancing Association of Australasia were both formally established and in due course examinations for dancers, teachers, judges and examiners were held. However, it soon became evident there needed to be a standardisation of technique re Highland Dancing within Australia. With the establishment of the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD) domiciled in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1949 it was decided that our technique should conform in all respects with the standard laid down by such body recognising the SOBHD as the supreme body in the International control of Highland Dancing.

In May 1960 it was mooted that an Australian Governing Body under the auspices of the SOBHD and, in 1962 following many preliminary meetings between the States, the Australian Board of Highland Dancing (ABHD) held its inaugural meeting in Sydney, New South Wales. Objects of this new body were as follows:-

a).        To bring about co-operation between the recognised Associations, Societies, Games Organisations and individuals connected with Highland Dancing.
b).        To help the public by seeing that all recognised teachers show similar basic steps for the traditional dances.
c).        To see that the SOBHD  rules are observed in all Championships and recognised competitions.
d).        To encourage the proper conduct of competitions, to recognise certain established Championships as such, and to discourage the duplication of such events.
e).        And generally, to do anything that will advance the Art of Highland Dancing and preserve its traditional form.

The New South Wales State Committee of Highland Dancing was thereafter formed with representatives from affiliated associations attending as delegates to the ABHD on behalf of the judges, teachers, dancers and organisers of Highland Dancing domiciled within the State. Similar committees were formed in each of the other States and the Australian Capital Territory over the ensuing years.

We are most grateful to the persons who were initially responsible for the formation of our committee and to the many others whom, over the years since its inception, have given of their time, energy and expertise in upholding the Scottish tradition of Highland Dancing and furthering the aims, purpose and objects of the initial committee.

The New South Wales State Committee Incorporated is proud of its achievements and will fervently continue to promote Highland Dancing in Australia.



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