Interview with interview Margaret Sharpe, the Convenor of the Celtic Council of Australia

The Australian Standing Stones festival at Glen Innes

The Celtic Council of Australia was formed on 24th March, 1982 after a public meeting organised in Sydney by a number of representatives of resident Celtic communities in New South Wales. The key instigator and driving force behind the Celtic Council project was the late Mr Peter Alexander, then of the Scottish Heritage Council, and he was elected as the first Convenor of the Council. Since its formation the Celtic Council has encouraged Celtic activities, including establishing the Australian Standing Stones at Glen Innes along with the local community. The Australian Celtic Festival, in Glen Innes, was started in 1992 and has grown from strength to strength since that time. The Celtic Council was also involved in the launch of the Australian Celtic Journal as well as the development of academic courses at universities and other learning centres
The Council has continued through the support of many individuals and organisations from within the Celtic communities. The current Convenor is Mrs Margaret Sharpe, who has held the position for the last nine years, but will be standing down this year. Margaret is a previous President and now Vice President of the New South Wales Manx Community. 
Recently, Transceltic's Alastair Kneale had the pleasure of interviewing Margaret Sharpe, the Convenor of the Celtic Council of Australia.

Interview with Margaret Sharpe

Australia is home to one of the largest Celtic Diasporas in the world. With substantial emigration from countries such as Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Wales and Brittany approximately half of its population can lay claim to Celtic roots. How important do you think this Celtic heritage is for Australia?

Margaret Sharpe

I think its very important to Australia and to the descendants of those who came from Celtic countries. It means a great deal to myself and i'm sure to my Celtic friends it is an honour.

What are the primary objectives of the Celtic Council and how successful do you think it has been in achieving these aims?

a) To support efforts by tertiary institutions in the training and study of Celtic culture

b) To provide co-operation between Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Manx and Breton communities, and other bona fide Celtic communities

I feel the Celtic council has achieved what they have set out to do.

The Council has had a significant role in supporting various Celtic festivals in Australia. Including the Australian Celtic Festival held annually at Glen Innes. How important do you feel that Festival is to those of Celtic descent in Australia?

The Australian Standing Stones festival at Glen Innes has become a part of the Celtic peoples lives. In the year 2017 it will be the 25th anniversary of the standing stones.

Our Australia Day Celtic festival which is run by the Celtic Council of Australia has proved very successful in the community.

Glen Innes is also home to the the Australian Standing Stones, a National Monument. Can you tell us the motivation and aim in creating this remarkable monument?

Peter Alexander who was convenor in 1989 had the forethought of having standing stones in Australia, and we where lucky the Council of Glen Innes also had the forethought to support the erection of the standing stones.

Celtic Council of Australia

What do you feel your greatest achievment has been over your time as Convenor of the Celtic Council of Australia?

I feel that what I have achieved over my time as convenor is attending and supporting gathering of the clans events and their dinners, and spreading the word of the Celtic Council and the heritage of the Celts.

How would you like to see your legacy taken forward and would you encourage those interested in joining in with the work of the Council?

Yes I would like more people to join the Celtic Council, but not just only them all Celtic Clans and Societies. I would like to see the younger generation to follow in their parents footsteps.