Preparations are well under way for the 40th birthday of the world's largest Cornish festival.
Not, as might be expected, held in Camborne, Penzance or Launceston, Kernewek Lowender takes place in the Copper Triangle of South Australia.
Centred on the communities of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo – where Cornish mining families settled during the 19th century – the event regularly attracts more than 30,000 visitors.
Begun in 1973 by local businessmen, Kernewek Lowender was an instant hit with members of the Cornish Diaspora, with 20,000 flocking to the event in the first year. Such was its popularity that petrol stations ran dry and the bakery at Moonta had to sweep its mill floor to get enough flour to make pasties.
The area's copper mines once employed hundreds of Cornish immigrants. Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo expanded as the wealth of the mines grew and demanded more labour. Cornishmen were employed because they were the best hard rock miners in the world. Moving to the Copper Coast from Burra, Kapunda, Ballarat and Bendigo and from Cornwall itself, they took their culture, Methodism, pasties, singing, brass band music and speech patterns.
"The festival has proudly retained it original constitutional aim which was to revive the traditions of the Cornish heritage of the Northern Yorke Peninsula and to co-ordinate all the functions of the Cornish Festival," said organiser Ros Paterson.
This year's six-day programme, which runs from May 20 to 26, will feature a record number of displays and activities, including maypole and furry dances, street stalls, pasty bake-offs and a gathering of bards.
Ros Paterson said: "The event is certainly on the up and up. Traditional Kernewek Lowender events include the coveted Newbery Chemists art prize. The Cornish Association of South Australia is again presenting its impressive Gathering of the Bards and Dressing the Graves ceremonies and its popular Cornish language lessons, Cornish seminar and spiritual retreats."
Bards from South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and Chicago, as well as a contingent from Cornwall, will be attending the gathering. They will be led by Grand Bard Maureen Fuller, who is travelling to the festival from her home in Saltash.
The Cornish Australian Seminar will include contributions from Victoria Angove speaking on her family's wineries and Kerry Goldsworthy talking about her farming family who settled at Curramulka. Betty Bevins, who is originally from Falmouth and has attended every Kernewek Lowender, will give a history of her seagoing family who worked the boats from Cornwall to Wallaroo via Cape Horn.
"There is a great deal on offer for food, written word and music lovers, with evening concerts, writers events and feasts," added Ros.
For more information visit www.kernewek.org