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Portarlington Mill – Scottish Towns and Grand Houses Tour featuring Capercaillie (Scotland) in assoc. with National Trust Victoria

14 May


“The most vibrant and exciting band in the field of Celtic music” (Billboard) 

“Securely ranked among the Celtic world’s top live bands. . . Capercaillie walk the trad/contemporary line with admirable poise and scrupulous care” (Songlines) 

Scots folk band Capercaillie will perform as their original acoustic nucleus quartet of Karen Matheson (vocals), Charlie McKerrron (fiddle), Manus Lunny (Bouzouki) and Donald Shaw (Accordion) in a special stripped back quartet format for the inaugural Scottish Towns and Grand Houses Tour, a new national tour to celebrate the Year of Scotland in Australia, 2020.  The band have performed across Australia a number of times on headline theatre tours and festival appearances in the last 20 years, and are delighted to return with their unique take on traditional music and Gaelic songs. Presented in Australia’s splendid National Trust properties and town halls where the Scottish diaspora have made their homes, the 20 date Scottish Towns and Grand Houses Tour is a magnificent opportunity to celebrate the very best in Scottish Gaelic music in historic settings that are beautiful, quirky or opulent by turn. 

From their homeland roots of Argyll in the highlands of Scotland, Capercaillie have been credited with being the major force in bringing traditional Celtic music to the world stage and inspiring the great resurgence so evident today. And even three ground-breaking decades after Capercaillie first performed as teenagers in their native Scottish Highlands; even as they continue the worldwide musical journey that’s taken them from the Brazilian rainforest to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, not to mention into the pop charts – it is the ancient Gaelic culture that still inspires them most. 

Portarlington Mill

At one time there were over 250 flour mills in Victoria and the Portarlington Mill is one of the oldest to survive. Built on Wadawurrung land in 1857 from locally quarried stone, the mill used steam-driven machinery to prepared flour from grain grown around Geelong’s Bellarine Peninsula, then known as the ‘granary of the Colony’. The mill only operated for 17 years, closing in 1874. Its machinery was sent to the Wimmera which had become increasingly used for growing grain crops. Its original builder then used the building for his brick works. In the later nineteenth century, it was a factory, first processing seaweed for use as upholstery stuffing, later producing printing ink then artificial fertiliser.