WONGAWILLI COLONIAL DANCE CLUB INC.
Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club was established in 1987 and incorporated as a non-profit incorporated association in 1990. It promotes, preserves and performs Australian traditional music, song and dance through events and performers - Wongawilli Band and Wongawilli Colonial Dancers.
The band, club and dancers are involved in recording, publishing, arranging functions and folk festivals. The Club is based in the Illawarra region, 130km south of Sydney, New South Wales and has presented a number of events including the Australian Folk Music and Dance Gathering. It was previously the Australian Folk Festival.The Club also assists the Illawarra Folk Club with the staging of the popular Illawarra Folk Festival now held at Bulli since 1987. David De Santi, member of the Wongawilli Band, has been the Illawarra Folk Festival director since 1996.
WONGAWILLI, THE PLACE
The word Wongawilli is aboriginal and is believed to mean place of wind or windy gully.
There actually is a place called Wongawilli. It is at the foot of the Illawarra escarpment south-west of Wollongong. The village has around 20 houses and is the entry to the Wongawilli Colliery.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT BUSH DANCE
Since 1989 The Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club has held a social bush dance every Wednesday night at the Wongawilli Community Hall, West Dapto Road, Wongawilli from 8pm to 10.30pm. And it still does!
The Club has presented a bush dance every Wednesday at the Wongawilli Community Hall (except over the Christmas/New Year) since 1987. There is a live band and all the dances are walked and called through. Acoustic musicians are welcome as sheet music is provided. There are a number of theme dances nights during the year as follows. Click here for directions to Wongawilli Community Hall
The Wongawilli Band plays traditional and contemporary Australian folk songs, dances and music.
They play a range of instruments featuring piano, violin, accordion, guitar, lagerphone, banjo, whistle and mandolin. They also perform with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers in presenting demonstrations of bush and colonial dances from Australia's past.
The band was established in 1987 and has made 7 recordings. The latest recording is Australia Street and was released in June 2008.
WONGAWILLI COLONIAL DANCERS
The Wongawilli Colonial Dancers have been in existence since 1987 and with the band WONGAWILLI perform demonstrations of Australian colonial and bush dancing. The aim of the group is to preserve Australia's rich heritage of music and dancing.The routines are sequences of dances based on the various mainstream social dances from the bush and towns of this and last century and dances introduced in the Folk Revival of the 1950s.The visual effect of the costumed dancers combined with the live music from the band provide a very colourful and entertaining potrayal of Australian pioneering social life.
AUSTRALIAN FOLK MUSIC & DANCE RESOURCES
The Club has been creating Australian folk music and dance publications and recordings since 1990. The Club has established a catalogue including other Australian productions. They are great educational and recreational resources.
ABOUT AUSTRALIAN FOLK MUSIC AND DANCE
Dancing, singing and music have been essential to the party spirit as long as we can remember and the settlers of Australia were no exception. Dancing, singing, reciting and music for the the white settlers became an integral part of the lives, whether it was in a grand Colonial Ball in the city, a celebratory end of sheep shearing season Woolshed Dance or simply a gathering of friends and family for an evening's entertainment in a kitchen or round a campfire. The songs, dances, poems and music reflect the hopes, humour, disappointments and the perseverance of these pioneers in a distinctive and characteristic Australian manner.
"The internationally known folksong scholar A.L. Lloyd once wrote of English folk songs spreading two hundred years, but the seminomadic existence of nineteenth century bush workers in Australia spread songs, tales and recitations over great distances in very short period of time. The Sydneyside 'Bold Jack Donahue's collected in Perth and northern Queensland's Australia's on the Wallaby is frequently found in Victoria". from Folk Songs of Australia Vol.1, John Meredith & Hugh Anderson.