National Library Oral History collection - Wedding reception for Alan and Gay Scott, with music by the Bushwhackers. Part 1 [sound recording] 14th January 1956
from her eldest son Bill -
There is a photo of them on a cover of Singabout, Vol 3 No 1, Summer, 1958 with a young Jamie Carlin on concertina.
Gay told me about the early BMC concert party and attitudes to performing with serious intent. It was not to be taken lightly. There was a growing awareness of the unique quality of Australian traditions in song, music, dance, verse and story.
Gay was also interested in Arts and Crafts, so I often met her with Ann Maher, a President of BMC in 1960s, while walking through the NSW Art Gallery. She was also part of the innovative pottery making group centred around Balmoral Village in later years.
Eventually they built a kit home and the stories Gay told of Alan’s effort to put up the roofing while swinging from guttering, often single handed, bought tears to our eyes. Eventually the house at Bent Acres was up and a fine house warming was held. The first of many entertaining afternoons of singing with good tucker and home brew, music and yarning at the Scotts.
Some time in the 1980s Gay rang me and asked me to do some drawings to put in a book of Sally Sloane’s songs which she had typed up. Alan transcribed the music and Gay was keen to produce a songbook which provided material which women might have traditionally sung or songs they might enjoy singing. She said that she needed the sketches in two weeks time as someone had agreed to publish the book. So each night after work, I would do a black and white ink or wash drawing and send them off to Gay. But all sorts of problems were met and the manuscript had just about disintegrated by the time of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the BMC, in 2004. I suggested publishing it to the BMC Committee who agreed; so it was launched at the National Folk Festival, at a special Sally Sloane concert where Gay spoke and the first edition sold out.
Although Gay left active participation in folk music to Alan, in later years, she did a lot of transcribing of tapes of interviews for the Oral history and Folklore Section of the National Library as she was a trained typist and always maintained an interest in traditional Australian material.
After Alan’s death, Gay stayed on at Balmoral as she was a very independent and self sufficient person and had very good neighbours. Gay had a wry sense of humour and made me laugh when she said: I was so annoyed with Alan for dying when he did, as he and Merro had planned to debate, as they had many times already about whether the millennium started with 2000 or 2001.
Well, Gay has shed this earthly coil and maybe she has gone to join the comradely debates among the old musicians, singers and artists who have already gone or maybe she has gone to rest in peace away from earthly pain and troubles.
Chris Woodland 13/6/13.
Gay’s daughter-in-law, Jane, once told me at a folk festival, that when she married Bill she did not realise that she had married into Folk Royalty! After I winced at the word ‘royalty’, I understood immediately what she meant. Though the Scott Clan did not inherit their wonderful abilities, knowledge, humanity and personalities, they were the better for it – the labour of love in being creative, and all those things that such people do to move the world forward towards a better life for the so-called common people.
The Folk Royalty, of course, consisted of Gay, husband and mate Alan, and Alan’s brother, Bill senior.
Gay was an inspiration to many, including me. When Merro died she was very thoughtful and generous in her understanding way. She also made things happen for me, which otherwise probably would not have occurred. Following her passing I have thought of the many times we have talked about the inevitable Human Condition, books, politics, and, of course, we sang, and played often. Gay always had a ready smile and positive comment. Who could forget her contagious, happy laugh?
Gay Scott (courtesy Scott family)
Being a liberated woman, Gay once told me how disappointed she was that her mother did not tell her of her religious background. It was not until after her mother died that she discovered her mother had been brought up a Roman Catholic, but never told anyone. Apparently Gay’s father was a hard man and not only did he deny his wife her religion, but ensured the fact was to be kept unknown to others, including the family. Yes, Gay grew up with a strong mind of her own.
Today there will be eloquent words spoken in the memory of the interesting and creative life of our dear friend Gay.
I regret that Virginia and I are unable to join you all for this celebration of Gay’s life and to hear the expressions and tales of this wonderful person who was many things to many people, including mother, mate and comrade.
At this sad time our heartfelt sympathies go out to Bill and Jane, Ashley and Jules.