Applecross: 91-year-old Scottish dance teacher hangs up her teaching boots

Winifred Caldwell and one of her former students, Anne Chandler. Picture: Bruce Hunt
Winifred Caldwell and one of her former students, Anne Chandler. Picture: Bruce Hunt

WINIFRED Caldwell has loved Scottish country dancing since she was first taught the steps as a Glasgow schoolgirl more than 80 years ago.

For the past three decades, she has passed that passion on to appreciative students at St Stephen’s Uniting Church Hall in Applecross.

Now 91, Mrs Chandler has decided to hang up the teaching boots – but not her dancing shoes.

“I’ve loved teaching because it encourages people to exercise and enjoy dancing,” she said.

“It also keeps the brain going because you have to know where you are going to avoid bumping into people.

“I used to teach twice a week and then cut that down to once and now I’m looking forward to just dancing as a participant.”

Mrs Caldwell and her husband Robert moved to Perth in 1968 after falling in love with the city while on vacation.

“Robert was an engineer working in Singapore and Malaysia and we came to Australia for a holiday,” she said.

“The plan was to start in Perth and then head over to the eastern states but we never got further than WA.”

The couple built a house in Ardross where they have lived ever since, Mrs Caldwell an active member of the Tartan Dancers since 1970.

She tried to introduce both her son and daughter to Scottish country dancing without much success.

“My son Iain was better at it but by the time he became a teenager it was just not done,” she said.

“Dawn was a ballet dancer and didn’t like Scottish dancing nearly as much.

“After my husband died someone suggested I should do some teaching, so I did a course and became a qualified instructor in 1985.

“Most of the people that come along for classes are 20 and upwards and we do get some strangers from time to time but once get a taste they are hooked.”

The Tartan Dancers meet on Monday afternoons and Thursday evenings at St Stephen’s Uniting Hall in Applecross.

Anyone interested in attending can contact Dawn Cromb on 0414 859 393 or email