Burnsing desire

THIS year marks the 20th anniversary of the Fremantle Burns Club and 220 years since Robert Burns’ death.

Club president Jim O’Lone says the annual Burns Supper—where Scots celebrate the bard with whisky, haggis, dancing, poetry and more whisky—is still a perennial favourite with ex-pats and Fremantle locals.

“Burns was an international poet—a poet of humanity—that is why he is universally loved and has enjoyed lasting popularity,” Mr O’Lone says.

“Abraham Lincoln was known to be a big admirer and carried his books around, while many of the Union and Confederate soldiers also read him.

• Fremantle Burns Club president Jim O’Lone prepares for his Ode to a Haggis. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Fremantle Burns Club president Jim O’Lone prepares for his Ode to a Haggis. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“He touched people’s hearts, regardless of their background or nationality.”

Mr O’Lone recalls that while in Atlanta, attending an International Burns Conference, a traffic cop stopped the Scot’s minibus so he could have a blow of the bagpipes.

“It was complete mayhem: he was walking about in downtown Atlanta at rush-hour trying to play these bagpipes while traffic was backed up everywhere,” he laughs.

This year’s Burns Club Supper will be held at the Esplanade Hotel on February 6 and Mr O’Lone says it will be a biggie. “Because of the club anniversary we are pulling out all the stops and will have some great speakers and a special surprise during the reading of To a Mouse.”


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