Past Events

Past events

2018 Jane Austen Ball

Sandgate Town Hall  October 13th

Classes prior to the ball will be held in the Farmers Hall, Samford  on Friday evenings. 

7th, 14th, 28th September & 5th October

See regular events for more.


26th January 2018 – Australia Day Dance 

[click on the title for further details]

Indigenous people dancing with members of the First Fleet. View in Broken Bay / 1788. William Bradley, in his A Voyage to New South Wales. Courtesy of State Library of NSW.

Most of our dances are held up-stairs in the beautiful air-conditioned Farmers Hall in the heart of Samford.  This hall was built by the local community in 1918 especially for dancing.

farmers_hallThe Farmers’ Hall, 30 Main Street, Samford, QLD. Only 25 minutes from Brisbane’s CBD.

All welcome – beginners, dancers, musicians, and onlookers. No partner, costume or experience required. Fun, lively and social dances to live music.
Tickets: $10.00.
Telephone +61 7 3289 4708


Jane Austen Ball

[click to view the full page]

One night, one ball… dance like Jane Austen.

Take a trip back in time and join us to celebrate the life of Jane Austen on the bicentenary of her death.

Becomig Jane image :

Imagine yourself transported to the world of Jane Austen, walking straight into an elegant Ballroom, dancing to live music, having a Tête-à-tête with charming people, all as delighted to find themselves in Regency England.

Workshops prior to the ball at Samford.

Sandgate Town Hall
21st October, 2017
7:00 – 11:00pm

 The Monaro Folk Society presents the

2017 Colonial Ball

7:30pm – 12:00am
Saturday 2nd September
The Albert Hall – Canberra
Music by Dave Johnson and “The Heritage Ensemble Band”
Calling by Heather Clarke

The programme includes a variety of early colonial  and modern dances.

Workshops prior to the ball.


Heritage Ball, Parramatta Town Hall

20th May, 2017

I’ll be visiting Sydney to teach some early colonial dances which are to be included in the Bush Music Club’s Heritage Ball programme on Saturday 20th May at the beautiful heritage listed Parramatta Town Hall.
Dance workshop on Monday night at Pennant Hills
Tickets for the ball with closing date May 15.

Photo of Parramatta Towh Hall courtesy of : By Gronk Oz – Own work, CC0,

Heritage Festival Dance

12th May at the Farmers’ Hall, Main Street, Samford QLD 4520.

7.30 – 9.30pm

In conjunction with the Australian Heritage Festival.

An evening of dances from the early years of the colonial era 1788- 1840.
Dance was an essential element of social life for our ancestors, from the elite in the colony through to the convicts. This welcome event invites everyone to experience this fascinating aspect of our cultural heritage.
Our group specialises in the dances which were the popular culture of the early colony. We draw on the latest research in this new and exciting area to locate dances that have significant historical links to people, places and events in Australia’s past. Most of these are English country dances of the type enjoyed by Jane Austen, ranging from the stately and elegant through to the energetic and lively. The dance figures are simple, and each dance is taught and walked through. Come and try Captain’s Cook’s Country Dance (1796) and the Melbourne Waltz (1820). Our band, Phillip’s Dog, provides captivating music in a friendly, informal setting. New dancers and musicians are always welcome. Come alone or with a friend.
This special event will feature our easiest dances to encourage beginners to try this most social of dance forms. A light supper is provided.
Cost $10.00


Piano in the breakfast room, Elizabeth Bay House Photograph (c) Nicholas Watt, Sydney Living Museums

Sounds Heritage Sydney: making music in historic places.

In late March, an international forum of invited experts will spend a day at Elizabeth Bay House sharing their knowledge about music making in historic houses.

I’ll be presenting some of the results of my current research –

Dancing in Fetters: The Culture of Convict Dance






 Grand Colonial Regency Ball

Click here to see the full page for more information

September 16, 2016
Old Government House, Brisbane

A charity event in aid of the Leukaemia Foundation.  A grand evening of early colonial/Regency style dancing to the music of Phillip’s Dog.

2 Workshops

Phillip's Dog

Phillip’s Dog

before the ball included in the ticket price.
3rd and 10th September, 2.00-4.00pm.
At the QUT dance studios
Z9 Building on the corner of Kelvin Grove Round and Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove.
Level 3.  The dance studio is room 340.

Workshops included in the ticket price for those attending the ball.
Anyone not attending the ball is welcome at the workshops. Cost $10.

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Redcoats in Moreton Bay exhibitionRedcoats in Moreton Bay.

An exhibition at Redcliffe Museum, Brisbane.

Heritage Talk presented by Heather Clarke
Thursday 1 September  2016

Redcoats Reeling:
Dance and Music in the British Regiment

Dance was an important element in the social life of British Regiments.  At the highest level, officers would hold grand balls, inviting the local high society; and at the lower levels, dance was a way for soldiers to unwind and relax.  As well as the social aspect, dance was recognised as a useful means to promote balance, agility and endurance – all essential qualities for a well-trained soldier.  This talk will explore this fascinating aspect of military history and its relevance in the settlement of Moreton Bay.

Dividing lineResearch Trip 2016

April-May-June-July-August in the British Isles.  See the Blog for more details.

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11th National Folklore Conference

National Library of Australia, March 24, 2016.

Presentation of research paper: Convict dance in early colonial Australia.

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50th National Folk Festival

Canberra, Easter, 2016.

Presentation: Tracing history through dance.
Saturday 26th March, 2.30-3.30pm The Board Room.

Dance workshop: Captain Cook’s Country Dance.
Monday 28th March, 12.10 -1.10pm Coorong

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A day of country dance.

Bellingen, NSW.  February 14, 2016.

Four workshops through the day:
1.  Early English country dance,
2. The development of Scottish country dance,
3. Dance in early colonial Australia,
4. Modern English country dances.

And an evening of English, Scottish and colonial dances.
All dancers and musicians welcome.


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Research Scholarship

to attend

The Dolmetsch Historical Dance and Music Summer School
Chichester University, Bishop Otter Campus, Chichester, England

Dancing Around 1815

Friday 24 July – Saturday 1 August 2015

 With 1815 as a pivotal year for dance in Europe, this course will explore the lively, sociable dances of the ballroom with leading experts of dance and music.

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Bundanoon DanceFest

We are presenting two workshops at Bundanoon DanceFest this year. The workshops will be at 3:45 on Saturday the 6th of June and at 11:15 on Sunday the 7th of June at the Bundanoon School Hall.

Sheet music can be downloaded here for the Saturday workshop and here for the Sunday workshop. Recordings can be made available upon request.

Bundanoon 2015

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Pine Rivers  Heritage Museum

Napoleon’s Last Gamble:

200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

and the Legacy of the Napoleonic Wars in Australia.

waterloo-ball s
As part of the event I’ll be giving a Heritage Talk [10.00am Wednesday 10 June] on the famous Duchess of Richmond’s Ball which was held on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.

Two dance workshops 1.00-2.00pm, Saturday 23 May and 13 June.

A Regency Supper and Dance 6.00-9.00pm Friday 19 June.

For more information visit  Bookings essential.

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National Folk Festival 2015

Early colonial dances at the Heritage Ball

The following dances will feature on the Heritage Ball programme at this year’s National Folk Festival held in Canberra over Easter.   A preparatory workshop will be held on Friday 3rd April at 3.50pm with the Ball being held on Sunday 5th April at 8.00pm.

Port Jackson
Botany Bay
Melbourne Waltz
Lord Sydney’s Fancy
Nancy Dawson

Visit the ball page for the full instructions.
A recording of the music is available by contacting:

Dividing line2014

August Dance

Our August dance falls on the 200th anniversary of Governor Phillip’s death.

Portrait of Arthur Phillip. Courtesty of the State Library of New South Wales.

An afternoon of early colonial dance in commemoration of Governor Phillip.

Sunday 31st August, 26th October 2014.

The Farmers’ Hall

Main Street, Samford, QLD 2.00 – 4.00pm.

Music by members of the Moreton Bay Symphony Orchestra and friends.

Tickets: $10.00. Concessions $5.00

All welcome. No partner, costume or experience required.  Fun, lively and social dances.


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Research Scholarship in August.

During August we will be attending English Dance Week at Pinewoods.  This camp, near Plymouth, Masachusetts, is run by the Country Dance and Song Society.

I am delighted to be again granted the research scholarship from the Ed and Christine Helwig Fund.

This is especially poignant as in 1993 we attended the dance camp at Pinewoods and had the very great pleasure of participating Christine Helwig’s workshop on the Country Dances of Thomas Braye.  It was so inspiring for us to learn attend this class and know that Christine thought “we that danced these dances so beautifully.”

Heather & Kit
24 July 2014

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National Folklore Conference

Thursday 17th April, 2014

National Library of Australia Canberra



Captain Cook’s Country Dance

Delving deeply into the archives of theatre and dance has revealed a fascinating collection of dances which reflect the path of early Australian history.   Even before Australia was discovered, dances relating to the region were being devised, for example The South Seas and a Trip to the World’s End.

One aspect of this research is the music and dance relating to Captain Cook’s voyages of discovery in the Pacific.  A plethora of dances were composed in celebration of his travels including Trip to Tahiti, Transit of Venus, Sailor’s Dance, Omai, and the Indian Chief.  A national hero, even his demise was portrayed in dance in “a grand serious-pantomimic-ballet, The Death of Captain Cook.”

Registrations are now open. Please contact Graham Seal at

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National Folk Festival

17 – 21 April, 2014

Exhibition Park, Canberra

Dance workshop: Frolics for Felons

A fun selection of dances known to be popular with convicts, 1788-1840.  Recent research has uncovered a rich heritage of convict culture – dancing was one of their favourite diversions. These vibrant dances are suitable for both new and experienced dancers.

Saturday 19th April, 2014.  5.30pm

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The Heritage Talks 2014 – Heather Clarke presents,

 Captain Cook’s Country Dance

Date:14 May 2014 Time: Wednesday 10.00am – 11.00am

Location: Pine Rivers Heritage Museum – Old Petrie Town, Dayboro Road, Whiteside

Delving deeply into the archives of theatre and dance has revealed a fascinating collection of dances which reflect the path of early Australian history. Even before Australia was discovered, dances relating to the region were being devised, for example The South Sea (1726) and a Trip to the World’s End (1763).

One aspect of this research is the music and dance relating to Captain Cook’s voyages of discovery in the Pacific. A plethora of dances were composed in celebration of his travels including Trip to Tahiti, Transit of Venus, Sailor’s Dance, Omai, and the Indian Chief. A national hero, even his demise was portrayed in dance in a grand serious-pantomimic-ballet, The Death of Captain Cook (1789).

This talk will highlight Captain Cook’s celebrity status in the popular dance culture of day. The Heritage Talks” is a series which has been running from 2010 at the Pine Rivers Heritage Museum. The series runs from February to November; the second Wednesday of every month at 10 am.

Cost: Free

Contact: Pine Rivers Heritage Museum Ph: (07) 3285 7213 link opens email

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