Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Australian Ladies (Campbell)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE AUSTRALIAN LADIES (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Robert M Campbell Glasgow Assembly

1- 8 1s cross, cast down to 3rd place and 3s+1s dance RH across
9-16 1s lead up to top, cross, cast to 2nd place and 2s+1s dance LH across
17-24 2s and 3s set and cross RH as 1s cross RH and cast to right; 2s+3s set on sides and change places RH as 1s cross RH up/down centre and cast to right
25-32 3s and 2s set and cross RH as 1s cross RH and cast to right; 3s+2s set on sides and change places RH as 1s cross RH up/down centre and cast to 2nd places. 213

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


The Australian Ladies
Robert M Campbell Glasgow Assembly
Reel 8 x 32 bars 3 Couple Repeat 4 Couple Set Longwise Set

  1-4   1s cross and cast two places;

  5-8   3s1s right hands across;

  9-12 1s lead up two places, cross and cast to second place;

13-16 2s1s left hands across;

17-18 1s cross by the right WHILE 2s 3s set facing partners;

19-20 1s cast to the right WHILE 2s 3s cross, finishing facing up and down;

21-22 1s cross by the right up and down WHILE 2M3M 2L3L set facing up and down;

23-24 1s cast to the right WHILE 2s 3s cross up and down on the sides, finishing facing partners;

25-32 repeat bars 17-24 from new places, finishing 2s1s3s.

(MAXICRIB. Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

  3-4   2s3s take hands on the sides and step up.

11-12 3s step down.

16-17 An awkward transition for 1L; it will often be safer not to attempt to get back to the side line but she must pull left shoulder back more than halfway ready for the crossing by the right.

17-32 Quick for 1s.
Unlike the similar corners' movement in J.B. Milne, the corners' setting is as normal with the dancers facing each other either across the set or up and down in the sidelines. Here, the turning on the spot by the corners occurs in the final skip change step at the end of each crossing (¼ turn for those travelling clockwise around the corners' square, ¾ turn for those travelling anticlockwise) so that they finish facing ready for the next setting and crossing (or, on bar 32, facing partner at the end of the repeat).


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Australian Ladies (Campbell) - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

We are indebted to Sandra Wyeth for the authentication of the Dance Notes for bars 17-32, found in reference 10-4 Techtalk - JB Milne.pdf, Tac-Talk archives and shown here with some local and ephemeral material edited out.

Techtalk - J. B. Milne
By Bob Campbell

Most experienced dancers today are familiar with what some call "meanwhile" dances - a dance where 1st couple dance one figure or part of a figure while 2nd and 3rd couples (usually) dance another supporting figure. J.B. Milne, devised by the late Hugh Foss and published in 1954, is such a dance, and may be found in The Angus Fitchet album (J. S. Kerr) which is available from TACBOOKS [and in which] it is said that there are no turns for 2nd and 3rd couples in the new figure. Actually there are turns. These follow necessarily from an amendment that Hugh Foss made to the dance by way of a general newsletter in October 1967. Reference is to the setting by 2nd and 3rd couples on bars 19-20, 21-24 and 25-28. I quote Hugh's words:
"When 2nd and 3rd couples set they should do the first setting facing the person they have just passed and the second facing the person they are going to pass." It follows that for smooth performance the dancers going counter-clockwise round the square will have a long, or "polite" turn. At the time, the change was considered an improvement in an already good dance.

As far as I know J.B. Milne is the only dance with the setting shared in this way. It should be noted that such setting does not occur in The Australian Ladies (Campbell), although the counter-clockwise dancers do have a long turn.

Bob Campbell
January 1986


Also see the dance Hay's Australian Ladies by Alec Hay.
This reel, The Australian Ladies (Campbell), was devised by Robert Campbell in May 1967 for Jean Conway, Elma See, Lorraine Dyall and Margaret Gray of the Newcastle Colleges Strathspey and Reel Club in Australia.

Recommended Music: The Australian Ladies by William Fergusson Published in Glasgow Assembly And Other Scottish Dances.

Australian ladies wearing dance dress
Australian Ladies, Queensland, Australia, 1952


Image copyright State Library of Queensland, Australia [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons.

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