culture banner  The Celts: "Each object or aspect of life impressed them vividly and stirred them profoundly..... They were, and are, an indispensable and never-failing assertor of humanity as against the tyranny of principles, the coldness and barrenness of institutions..........the Celt has always been a rebel against anything that has not in it the breath of life, against any un-spiritual and purely external form of domination."   ---   Thomas Rolleston, 1911.

a   The Welsh have been involved in the development of Australia from the earliest days of European settlement. Their impact has been notable in a number of key areas of Australian life -- especially in the mining industry - but has always been limited by their relatively small numbers. It has also been obscured by the long-held but misleading view that, with the exception of the Irish, all British people who have settled in Australia have been culturally homogeneous. Although overwhelmingly Protestant and, since the sixteenth century, politically and economically integrated with England, the Welsh have brought to Australia a distinctive cultural identity....  from information by A Ffestin Hughes

innaustralia.gif (8775 bytes)   GO TO WELSH CULTURE IN AUSTRALIA

by A Ffestin Hughes

In Australia as in Wales, the leaders and patrons of the Welsh communities were also drawn largely from the ranks of chapel ministers or deacons. They were the ones who organised the Cymanfaoedd Canu, the great hymn-singing festivals that are so closely linked with the idea of Wales. In the 1860s and 1870s, the heyday of Welsh settlement in Victoria, it was not unusual for a Cymanfa Canu in Ballarat to last for several days and to draw crowds of 800 or more...

Rhod Gilbert - Welsh humour in Sydney

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Fly Cardiff

Fly Cardiff aims to attract International airlines to fly directly to Cardiff Airport. Cardiff has an airport with a runway to take up to 747's and there is even talk of the A380 landing soon. Fly Cardiff want tourists, travelers and ex-pats to be able to fly DIRECTLY to Wales to access this wonderful country.

The campaign aims to attract more airlines and business into Cardiff Airport and the greater South Wales communities. Fly Cardiff hopes to work alongside the airport and act as a bridge between it, its customers and the Welsh Government.

See Facebook Page


Humour Spot: An Englishman thought he would have a few days and visit churches around the country. He started in Plymouth and was most impressed when he noticed a golden coloured telephone. The notice attached said " Direct line to GOD; call cost 10,000 a time "So, on his way back to London he called in at Salisbury Cathedral and, after looking around, found another golden coloured telephone with the same notice. Over the next few weeks as he went around the country he always found things the same. Then one day he had to go to Swansea and thought,  "Well, let's see if if it is the same in Wales". Sure enough, there was the phone and message but with a slight difference - the call charge was only 4p! He asked the clergyman why the call was only 4p, when it was 10,000 elsewhere? Back came the answer, in a strong Welsh accent  - "Well, bach, it's only a local call, see!

Mark Watson - Welsh humour in Melbourne

Mark highlights some of the comical differences in the British and Australian vernacular

First housewife: "Mary Pugh is getting married."
Second housewife: "Is she expecting a baby?"
First housewife: "No."
Second housewife: "There's a swank."

My mother's recipe for Cawl (pronounced "cowl") from Burry Port, S Wales

To serve 5-6 people. Buy 2 lbs of neck of lamb or similar cheap cuts of lamb – make sure it is as tender as you can get. Boil and simmer for 2-3 hrs minimum, drain off fat and scum (cool if necessary to do so). Add 3 decent sized chopped onions and simmer for up to an hour. Add 3 to 4 potatoes, less than half a swede and even less parsnip, all cut into coarse chunks and simmer for 20 mins. Add 3 sliced leeks and simmer gently on top until cooked. Add salt to taste. Serve.

Alternatively: The liquor can be strained and served as soup first and the meat and veg served as a main course with a white parsley sauce)

Bevan is ultimate Welsh hero

"An icon of the left, he was a true working class hero," said Mr Hancock....."The scourge of the right, he took on Conservative British establishment and changed Britain for every....."To Nye it was the ordinary people who mattered and he was their champion...."Wales and the rest of Britain owe him a great deal, a great socialist and a great man - a true Welsh hero."

NHS founder Aneurin Bevan beat off icons from the ancient and modern world in an online poll to find the greatest-ever Welsh person. The competition was stiff - he beat the 15th Century rebel prince of Wales Owain Glyndwr by just 117 votes. Singer Tom Jones was third, Plaid's first MP Gwynfor Evans fourth and actor Richard Burton fifth.

Zeta Jones was the first woman on the list

The psychology of the Welsh ... not wholly bad or good?

... the Welsh people themselves-- a people that Dylan Thomas, in the 20th century, praised as "not wholly bad or good."

.... (Welsh literature) tells the story of a people who have managed to retain much of their fullness of spirit despite a very early loss of most of their territory and political independence.

....It tells the story of a people who are still struggling to avert the loss of their ancient culture and language upon which much of that culture depends.  

This is the story of that struggle: the theme is constant: it is a struggle for survival against almost impossible odds......

Read more; Chapter 1 The Beginning

from `The Long Struggle for Identity: The Story of Wales and its People' - by Peter N. Williams, Ph.D.

Humour Spot: A customer who had ordered some Welsh lamb from her butcher, suspected that the meat she had been given was not the genuine article. "Are you sure this is real Welsh lamb?" she demanded, angrily. "Well, Mrs. Jenkins", confessed the butcher, "That lamb was really born in Australia but I can assure you it had Welsh parents."

s The Welsh National Costume

The current image of Welsh National dress of a woman in red cloak and tall black hat was popularised in the nineteenth century. These days it is only at festivals, rugby matches and on St David's Day that women and young girls dress in the costume.

innaustralia.gif (8775 bytes) Gail Wright reminisces on her experiences as a young girl wearing the costume at Welsh cultural events in Melbourne in the 50s. The department store David Jones was used and the GG of Victoria was an honoured guest  click here

Did You Know?
Welshman, David Jones started what is now the oldest department store in the world still trading under its original name.  The store was founded in 1838.
Six out of the ten most common names in Britain are Welsh! They are; Jones, Williams, Davies, Edwards, Thomas and Roberts.
Wales has more castles per thousand square miles than any other country in Europe (Find out why).  

..and yes, youngsters still dream of playing rugby for Wales

Henry Thomas

Click here


By Peter H. Edwards
Only $4.35 - Click Here
anifeiliaid awstralia
This book gives lists of Australian, Welsh, and scientific names that identify the majority of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles in the Australia continent. There are over 1,900 species named.

100 years of childhood innocence
`Love of and from children is the greatest blessing.'

There are many children throughout the world who have neither love nor blessings. I was truly loved and blessed as a child and doubly blessed as a mother and grandmother. Some of these are accounts of my childhood, now in the last century.

The narrative starts with Nell who was born in Wales in 1900 and ends with snippets of vocabulary from the youngest contributors.

Other stories are from my family, children and grandchildren.There are anecdotes by people from around the world whom I have been privileged to meet, and accounts of childhood from opposing sides in the Second World War. Extreme poverty features in other descriptions and in contrast, brighter tales full of laughter and joy.

by Elizabeth (Libby) Williams, London UK.
This inexpensive e book is available worldwide on  Kindle, Kindle Fire, Ipad and Iphone from
ROYALTIES GO TO CHILDLINE UK, a helpline for children and young people, where Libby has worked as a volunteer for 10 years.

The Silent Wheels
The silent wheels
The first-hand story of the 1984/85 British miners strike,and how a group of striking miners survived one of the most bitter industrial disputes in the history of the British trade union movement.
Written by one of the miners
, Ralph Jones
Although the strike was a bitter affair, Ralph shows the funny side of the picket lines and the comical things that happened. The book is about a group of friends who worked together and is a testimony to the courage and brotherhood of miners who even through dark times still found the strength to find humour in the darkness and laugh at life together.

Some classic books to give you a feeling for Wales and the Welsh:


How Green was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. Also his sequels; Up into the Singing Mountain, Down Where the Moon is Small and Green, Green My Valley Now. Stories of life in South Wales and emigration to Argentina and return to Wales.

Rape of the Fair Country, The Hosts Of Rebecca and Song of the Earth by Alexander Cordell. The books are set in the Welsh Iron communities of Blaenavon and Nantyglo in the 19th century.

Both these writers have a similar romantic style and though they are period pieces they do give an insight into Welshness.

The Quarryman's son
"The Quarryman’s Son is the story of a young lad growing up during the Second World War in the Welsh speaking community of Caernarfon. The challenges he faces on arrival as a sixteen year old to work in London and his decision five years later to sail across the world to live in New Zealand."

Australian Story - the Welsh in Australia by Elisa James

Elisa James is the pen name of Liz Corbett

Liz, a Melbourne based writer, is working on a novel in which two of the main characters are Welsh.  

Set in 1841, the novel traces the journey of a group of emigrants travelling from St Katherine’s Wharf, London to the Port Phillip District in New South Wales. It is a story about losing a father, and of leaving home. It is about decisions we make that take us to the edge........

Read an excerpt

Jessy of Glyn Cuch

by Margaret Amery White

The trigger for this story was a book of poems by Robert Burns. 

The story follows the lives of Jessica Gibbon, her daughter Jane, their family and the inhabitants of Glyn Cuch, a fictitious mining village set in south Wales. 

 Available through Palmer Higgs Books online, or telephone Margaret White in Melbourne, Australia, (03) 96903810


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"Today", wrote Megan in her diary, "I woke up feeling really depressed, but in the afternoon I went out to go to Auntie Delyth's funeral and it cheered me up no end."


Recognising the clear need for regeneration investment in Treharris, the Thomas Fredrick Willetts Foundation has developed The Light project, which is designed to empower to the community of Treharris and the Taf Valley, bringing renewed identity to those communities that have lost their distinctiveness.

As traditional industries have disappeared, the area has been in steady decline. But now there is an opportunity to rediscover the unique identity of the place, through the power of the creative industries.

Just as a miners’ lamps once lit up the darkness of the mine, providing light to work by, now the illuminating power of music and creativity provides a new season of opportunity.A purpose built arts venue in the centre of Treharris will create a new focus and purpose for the town, fostering a renewed sense of pride in the place. Our ambition is to create not just a building but a new heartbeat for the community; a vibrant, lively focus for young people, visitors and a wide cross-section of the community.

Our vision is to empower local people, enabling them to enjoy the arts and benefit from the inspiration that music and creativity can bring.

Go to `The Light' project

Treharris Arts Cntr

Discover Merthyr
For a video about the unexpected modern day attractions of Merthyr Tydfil in S Wales go to:

Some well known Welsh Australians:
Julia Gillard, born in Barry, S Wales. Migrated in 1966 with her family to Australia.
Len Evans (who died at the age of 75 in August 2006). Restauranter, winemaker and wine critic extraordinaire, Len left his beloved Wales as a boy before going to England and eventually emigrating to Australia.
len evans
Naomi Watts, brought up in Wales by her Welsh mother.
 Kylie and Danii Minogue, Welsh mother who emigrated to Australia from Maesteg, S Wales.

Cricket Flash: And the latest news from the Glamorgan county cricket ground at St. Helen's in Swansea: Two and a half inches of rain have fallen for seven runs.


A visit to the 2005 Welsh National Eisteddfod

     Wales - a Culture of Mining and Steel as well as of Natural Beauty

The abundance of accessible coal, slate and iron ore deposits in Wales eventually led to coal, slate and steel industries developing and growing in those areas. Particularly from the Industrial Revolution onwards.

In fact Wales is often cited as the first industrialised nation on Earth.

COAL - South Wales had long been admired for its natural beauty but exploitation in the cause of Britain's industrial revolution (traditionally dated 1730 - 1850) was to change all this for ever.

Steam was replacing hand labour and factories were replacing homes as centres for manufacturing processes. Britons were building great iron ships and railways around the world. Welsh steam coal became the fuel of choice for boilers everywhere and new techniques enabled the use of coal (as coke) in iron smelting. Smoking chimneys joined colliery winding gear to dominate the rows of terraced housing built in the Welsh valleys for immigrant workers from all around Britain.

An old view of Clydach Vale, the Rhondda Valley
Go to `The industrialisation of the South Wales Valleys' 

source: Data Wales

        A personal history

Ebbw Vale Steel Mill
If South Wales is synonymous with coal or 'black gold', then North Wales has been equally blessed and cursed with its equivalent
- slate.

Picture of Dinorwic quarry, Llanberis by Dave Sallery from "The Slate Industry of North and Mid Wales"

Slate from North Wales had been used since Roman times but it was at the end of the 18th century that demand for the material exploded, changing the look and life of North Wales forever.

Welsh slate was in demand not only in Britain but also in North America and mainland Europe as industrialisation and populations across the world gathered pace. Mines at Dinorwig, Penrhyn, Llanberis, Bethesda and Blaenau Ffestiniog opened or expanded hugely to cater for demand that increased rapidly.

By the 1870s, slate was one of Wales' major industries and Blaenau Ffestiniog had become an industrial town.  The seams of slate around Dinorwig, Llanberis, Bethesda and Blaenau Ffestiniog are some of the highest quality in the world. The Dinorwig and Penrhyn quarries became the two largest slate mines in the world, each employing over 3000 people.

But, in common with other examples of heavy industries, slate mining came with iniquities, trials, hardships and danger.

Men worked six days a week for very poor wages and in sometimes desperate conditions. It took five years of apprenticeship to become a full miner, and even then the skilled labour was not reflected in pay. They were employed on monthly contracts, with the first three weeks of each month being paid in 'sub' wages: a nominal subsistence amount.

The fourth week was paid with profits and bonuses added, less cost of... everything, essentially. Miners had to pay for explosives, tools, sharpening and even air for the pneumatic drills. It didn't add much to the paypacket.

Physical conditions, too, were harsh. Skilfully wielding the hammers and chisels that were the tools of their trade, they would dangle on ropes round their body and legs from pins at the top of the gallery in which they were working. The slate was nearly always damp and slippery, there could be rock falls and the ropes often broke.

If an accident happened, the on-site medical facility was a St John's Ambulance station run by miners themselves as volunteers. For men working away from the seam, slate dust was the major cause of medical complaint. This could - like coal dust for miners in South Wales - cause silicosis and other respiratory illnesses.

The pace with which the slate mining industry expanded during the 19th century was such that although the men worked extremely hard, demand outstripped production and the UK market turned to Spanish imports to take up the slack.

In 1900 the quarrymen at Dinorwig went on strike over pay, conditions and union representation. The dispute lasted for three years and precipitated a decline in the industry that carried on throughout the 20th century.
Infrastructure developed to cater for the industry and facilitate its transportation around the world. The narrow-gauge railway from the Llechwedd complex at Blaenau Ffestiniog to the new port of Porthmadog was one such scheme. It is now a world-famous tourist attraction.

 Miners and families remember the bitter conflict, which caused the devastation of the minefields of South Wales, England and Scotland in 1984 - 85

Read Ralph Jones' poem `Ode to the Miner' here

... men who still stood as strong as an oak
their pockets empty,but their spirit unbroke
they worked down the mines,that dark dirty place
you can see them now the blue scars on their face
the dust filling their lungs,makes it difficult to walk
but you can hear the pride in their voices,whenever they talk ....

For information about his book`The Silent Wheels' see above under `Books'

The Silent Wheels
is the story of the 1984/85 British miners strike, and how a group of striking miners survived one of the most bitter industrial disputes in the history of the British trade union movement.

Written by Ralph Jones (one of the miners in the strike).

Humour Spot: "I hear Evan Morgan broke the world 100 metre record wearing his mining boots."  "How did he manage that?"  "He fell down the shaft."

Newcastle, NSW -  Welsh Coal Miners Collection from 1944

Great Ports

One outstanding feature of the commercial economy of Great Britain during the second half of the 1800s was the uninterrupted development of South Wales as the greatest steam coal-exporting centre.

With the onset of steam ships and extensive new railways the steam coals of South Wales were sent in ever-increasing quantities to all continents. By 1914, Cardiff and Barry became the greatest coal-exporting ports and thus the biggest ports (by tonnage) in the world.

The excellence of South Wales team coal made it  a  standard for comparative purposes. Sailing ships powered by South Wales steam coal broke all records and demand from European navies and steamship lines soared.


Rugby Football   

Click here to hear the National Anthem; Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers)

ONE cannot talk about culture in Wales without including some reference to rygbi (rugby) - or football (as opposed to soccer). It is the national game and the Welsh have always boasted some of the finest rugby footballers in the world and have attained world status. The Cardiff Arms Park, or Millennium Stadium. with its removable roof and huge capacity it is one of the great stadiums in the world. Sitting within metres of the shopping centre of Cardiff it guarantees that International day is an event that will stay in one's memory, as shoppers, tourists and spectators mingle and the pubs are filled with the strains of Calon Lan and Bread of Heaven.

Humour Spot: Question: What do call an Englishman with a bottle of champagne after a Six Nations game?  Answer: A waiter

Welsh Jinkers

In today's modern game of super-sized backs the agile, jinking classic Welsh footballer now has to compete physically (Shane Williams, once considered too small to play rugby at a senior level, was voted world's best player in 2008). The Welsh are not a big race, and in the past many forwards were drawn from hard, physically fit men from the coal mines and steel mills. No more, the game has become professional, so the days of `boot money' is a thing of the past - for the top players at least. This has had a huge effect on the game leading to the `cheque book rugby' of the English players and clubs. In a small and economically less well-off country like Wales fielding a world-class team will be an ongoing challenge.

Still, Welsh supporters are passionate, knowledgeable and appreciative of good, skilful,  flowing football. The Welsh do not need an excuse to sing at the game, and yes, youngsters still dream of playing rugby for Wales.

If soccer is the world game then rugby is the game they play in heaven. The Welsh rugby bard of the 70s and 80s, Max Boyce, coined the expression and it has stuck. His account of the Fly Half (Second five-eighths in Australia) Factory where the `assembly line' for such greats as Cliff Morgan, Barry John, Phil Bennet and Johnathon Davies (to name but a few) were built ("Aye, and the rejects, stamp them second class and send them to England") is memorable. So too his poem - `9-3' when the little town of Llanelli beat the mighty All Blacks ("When the scoreboard read, Llanelli - naw {nine}, Zeland Newydd - tri {New Zealand - three}"). As mentioned singing and passion was, and still is, a part of the fun. `Oggy, Oggy Oggy, OI! OI! OI!' was a call I remember 40 years ago in Cardiff, and of course Australian sports supporters have adopted the idea as their own now with the chant `Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, OI! OI! OI!'.

Humour Spot: Dai, a fervent rugby supporter is on his way home from the local pub after the Grand Slam win when unfortunately he is killed in a road traffic accident.

He gets up to the pearly gates where St. Peter looks him over and enquires of his name - ' Dai Jones' is the reply. St. Peter gets out his book and opens it under J  for Jones. "Dear me Dai", he says, "it would seem you spent most of your money on beer and what was left on loose women, and to make matters worse when your mam advised you to get on the straight and narrow you turned that advice down. I'm afraid there's only one place you're going", pointing to the down escalator.

So down Dai goes, with a heavy heart looking at the flames of purgatory and listening to the cries of the damned. At the bottom there's a set of double doors which he pushes open and steps into a blinding light. When he gets his bearings he is overcome by disbelief and sheer joy when he realises he is in the Cardiff Millennium Stadium surrounded by tens of thousands of Welsh Rugby supporters. At the other end of the stadium there is a huge television screen with the words "Repeat Performance starts in 4 minutes."

He staggers to the nearest seat with tears on his cheeks saying “Joy, Joy, Joy”, whereupon the chap sat next to him leans over - " Don't get carried away Dai, we are in hell, for all eternity, but the really bad news is they've only got the one DVD and it's England winning the World Cup in 2003."

STEEL - Steel once followed coal as the second major employer, employing thousands across Wales.

From the 1760s iron began being produced along the entire Heads of the Valleys area. This is where the South Wales coal field came to the surface producing all the raw materials needed for making iron - limestone, wood (charcoal), coal and iron ore.

The industrial revolution forged towns such as Ebbw Vale, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil and thousands flocked from all over Europe to prosperity in these thriving industrial heartlands of south Wales.

Over the years Welsh steel towns became the biggest and most modern steel producers in the world. Steel and tinplate was produced in the valleys, Cardiff, Newport and west through Port Talbot, Llanelli and beyond.

Times have changed both for Coal and for Steel...

Even More Steel Closures

BBC News 26/01/09



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Association of Australian Celtic Wrestlers

Incorporating elements from several different sports indigenous to the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland & the Province of Brittany in France we have created a unique fusion style that we call Pan-Celtic Wrestling. These sports were practiced in colonial Australia & the styles considered ancestral to Pan-Celtic wrestling. They include Cornish, Breton, Devonshire, Scottish, Irish and the Welsh:

Ymaflyd Codwn Cefn or the back fall style of wrestling in the Cymraeg (Welsh) language, is known from the 1420AD poem `Robert ap Meredydd` by Rhys Goch Eyyri. It was practiced as part of the `y pedwar camp ar hugain` or `four & twenty accomplishments1 which included singing, hunting & weapons training in addition to yamavael or unarmed combat, used as the training regime for warriors. It was the same style as practiced in Cornwall that used a jacket for dynamic throws but also borrowed elements from the Devon style of outplay. It survived until the 1940s as a rural sport known as `purring` that according to accounts was similar to the `shin kicking` event mentioned above. The historian Darren Lewis has written several articles about this sport, actively bringing awareness of it back to Welsh national consciousness.

Download a file to read more

Click here to email the Association

Letter from Gail Wright, January 2011

How wonderful to look through your pages on Wales. I have recently begun to research my family history and as my father came to Australia from Wales as a child, this research has brought back many memories of my grandmother and my childhood.

My welsh grandmother played a huge part in my “growing up” years. As I had three sisters, I used to consider it a huge reward to be able to spend some of my school holidays with my “Nain”. Mind you, my sisters loved spending time with her as well, so my mother had three very well behaved daughters in the lead up to the school holidays, as we all made sure we were on our best behaviour and would be chosen to spend a week or so with Nain. Although we probably didn’t realise it at the time, we did all take turns, but let’s face it, when you are only 7, 8, 9 or 10 years old, you didn’t remember much about the last lot of holidays!!!

My Nain would take us to the movies (a huge treat in the fifties), sometimes to the Zoo and ALWAYS to the Cymmrodorion every Saturday night!!! If I remember correctly, at that time (1950’s) the Cymmrodorian met in the main shop of David Jones in the city. It was such an adventure to go into a shop after hours and walk among the counters and then out the back to the meeting room.

Another time that is firmly etched into my memory is that of the St David’s Day Dinner. In those days, it was considered a great honour to have the current Governor General and his wife accept an invitation to attend. That meant, that some child was required to dress up in the Welsh National Costume and present a bouquet of flowers to the GG’s wife. Both my sisters and I had this honour, but I think I did this around three times as I was a few years older than my sisters!! This dinner was again held in the David Jones building, but this time, it was the staff canteen which was decorated within an inch of its life for the big night!! I can even remember the entree as Prawn Cocktail and a Fruit Cocktail for anyone who did not like seafood!

I also remember the Christmas parties (again held in the David Jones building) and being asked to play the piano –something I loved to do, but also something that made me quite sick with nerves for weeks beforehand.

There are many other memories floating around, but they have dimmed considerably as I have grown older. Even after 30 odd years I still miss my grandmother enormously, so I thank your website for stirring my memories and bringing her back to me.

Yours sincerely,

Gail Wright

Photographs of some of the Bonnell clan in fashionable dress of the day in Llanelli, West Wales, probably in the late 1800s