Monaro Colonial Dancers

[Introduction] [News] [Recent Performances] [History] [Photos] [Repertoire] [Contact Us]


The Monaro Colonial Dancers (MCD) are a Canberra based dance display team, presenting Australian Traditional dances from the 1800's to the present day compositions in this style. These dances were brought to Australia in the earliest days of European settlement, and reflected the traditions of those settlers. Here they evolved and influenced each other, giving rise to the various early ballroom couples, quadrille set and other formation dances that comprise the Australian Colonial tradition.

The Monaro Colonial Dancers perform regular displays of these dances in full period costume at various events in the local region, and travel away to special events and festivals when invited. We aim to show that Australia has a rich heritage of social dance, with some dances being exclusively Australian. We dress in period costume to impart lots of colour and atmosphere, with the ladies magnificent gowns and the men's stylish waistcoats, designed by the team's costume maestro Jill Gordon. We also use authentic Australian music wherever possible.

News and Activities

Due to unforseen circumstances Tuesday 29th May will be the last evening of Social Dancing with the Monaro Colonial Dancers. June dances have been cancelled. Many thanks to those who attended.

Recent Performances

The Monaro Colonial Dancers have recently performed at the Canberra Multicultural Festival Food and Dance Spectacular, and the Cobargo Folk Festival both in February, and at the Cancer Council Walk for Life in late March.

They have previously performed at these events, as well as at the Cygnet and Tamar Folk Festivals in Tasmania in Jan 2006 with the support of the ACT Government and artsACT; at the National Folk Festival in Canberra at Easter most years, the Lambing Flat Festival in Young in April 2006, the Turning Wave Festival in Gundagai in September 2006, at the Tulip Farm in Sept/Oct, at Floriade, and at the Majors Creek Folk Festival. They have also appeared at the John O'Brien Festival in Narrandera NSW in March 2002 & 2003, and at the Holbrook Dance Festival (NSW) in October 2002. As well, the group also participates in the Ausdance Dance Week displays, displays at the Belconnen Markets, School Fetes, and other community events. We have joined the massed colonial dance displays with the Australian Pioneer Dancers & Musicians at the Holbrook, National, Jamberoo, and AFMD (Albion Park) Folk Festivals.

You can view a selection of photos from our past displays in the MCD Photo Gallery. There are also some notes available on the group's dance repertoire.

relaxing at the Cygnet Folk Festival in Jan 2006
Tulip Farm in Sept 2005

... more photos ...


The Monaro Colonial Dancers began life in 1989 when Bruce Lemin placed an advertisement in the June 1990 issue of the MFMS Newsletter and then danced at Floriade that year, under the tongue-in-cheek name of the "Wobbly Boot Dance Group". The name "Monaro Colonial Dancers" came into being a year or so later, to more accurately reflect the style of dances being presented. The group expanded greatly in 1992 when our talented costume designer/seamstress, Jillian Gordon, joined and saw a strong need for more historically accurate outfits than the simple long skirts and blouses which were then being worn by the ladies and, moleskins with modern waistcoats by the men.

The group has, at various stages, also been led by Lawrie Brown and Mark Hillis. It is currently under the direction of Sandra Martens.

Contact Us

For further information about the group, or requests for bookings, please contact either Sandra Martens by phone (02) 6262 1622 (bh) or email; or Jeff and Sandra Smith by phone (02) 62427550 (ah) or 0419 013886 (mob), or email

The MCD display team is an activity of the Canberra based Monaro Folk Society.

Lawrie Brown / 28 May 2007