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PART A: MORRIS, SWORD AND MUMMERS PLAYS IN AUSTRALIA

© 2005 Warren Fahey

 

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Here is another view of the history of Morris including the early days of the Sydney Morris Men;

The first documented Morris team was born out of the Australian folk revival in the 1970s, in Perth. Other States followed and there is now what is known as a ‘Morris Ring’ – a national organization, with a ‘chief’ known as ‘Squire’. Significantly, women were admitted to the Australian Morris at an early stage of its development.

At the time of writing this overview (2005) the Australian Morris Ring included the following groups: (location is quoted as State capital city or major city)

* Adelaide Morris Men (Adelaide)
* Hot For Joe (Adelaide)
* Albion Fair (Sydney)
* Jolley Hatters Morris (Hobart)
* Ballarat City Morris (Ballarat)
* Lancashire Witches (Adelaide)
* Bellswagger Morris (Toowoomba)
* Logan Morris (Brisbane)
* Brandragon
* Longford Morris (Tasmania)
* Brindabella Clog Morris (Canberra)
* Molonglo Mayhem Border Morris (Canberra)
* Britannia Morris Men (Melbourne)
* Moreton Bay Morris (Brisbane)
* Canberra Morris Men (Canberra)
* Morris & Country Dance (Melbourne)
* Fair Maids of Perth (Perth)
* Morrice Rampant (Brisbane)
* Glorishears (Adelaide)
* Perth Morris Men (Perth)
* Hedgemonkey Morris (Adelaide)
* Sydney Morris Men (Sydney)
There appears to be some confusion as to which groups are still dancing as the AMR site seems to be in need of an update. I therefore asked John Milce (SMM) if he could indicate any dance groups that were around and have now disappeared: His account is tongue-in-cheek as fitting Morris humour.

“The SMM were formed following the Numeralla FF in Jan 1975. Our first foot up was the Friday after the Steeleye Span gig at the Hordern Pavillion mid 1975. I’m pretty certain that Perth started before then, but you would ha. There have been several sides that have come and gone over the years (and in most cases – thank Christ). Here’s a sample:-

* Boadacia (however you want to spell it): Sydney ladies Cotwold side extant around late 70’s maybe early 80’s
* Maids of the Mill – as above, but started earlier and lasted longer
* Blackwattle – Sydney mens cotswold side, again around the 70’s/80’s
* Border Roughs – An all male border side consisting of members of SMM & Blackwattle, subsequently subsumed into SMM
* Free Settlers (at least I hope they are extinct) A bunch of wooses who formed a mixed side in WA in early 80’s
* Maurice Rampant – An offshoot of the SE Qld Morris scene in the 90’s, men’s Cotswold, danced very fast and energetically, which perhaps explains why they folded after a year or 2
* Plenty Morris: Melbourne mixed Cotswold side, quite big in 70’s and possibly into the 80’s but then went the way that all mixed sides should go.
* Bringabella (Brindabella?)- Canberra ladies Clog side in the 80’s