THE KERNEWEK LOWENDER COPPER COAST CORNISH FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA IS BILLED AS THE ‘BIGGEST CORNISH FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD’ OUTSIDE OF CORNWALL ITSELF. THE NEXT EDITION IS ON DURING MAY 2025
Okay, this is Proper Cornwall. We cover every inch of the Duchy and no more. But, well, there’s a massive celebration of all things Cornish in Australia every two years, so we’re going to make a big exception for it and tell you all about it here. Welcome to an event that’s billed as the ‘biggest Cornish festival in the world’ outside of Cornwall. Welcome to the Kernewek Lowender Copper Coast Cornish Festival 2025.
We may have the ‘Tin Coast’ over here in the Duchy, which covers attractions like Botallack, Levant and Cape Cornwall, but this unique Aussie fest takes place on what those folks Down Under call the ‘Copper Coast’. This is a beautiful region in South Australia near Adelaide. Like our Tin coast, the copper one is so named because it was primarily copper that was mined in this region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing a fairly significant source of wealth for those Aussies at the time.
The so-called ‘Copper Triangle’ in the Copper Coast is made up of three towns: Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo. Each of these towns is known for its large Cornish ethnicity that can be traced right back to those days of heavy copper mining (because when you discover copper, you ship the experts over, right?), so the area is frequently referred to as ‘Little Cornwall’. And it’s in these three towns that the Kernewek Lowender (which means ‘Cornish happiness’ in our local language) festival takes place every two years.
The Kernewek Lowender 2025 festival takes place over a week in May 2025. Watch this space for the exact dates when they are revealed. Expect all sorts of traditional events and plenty of fun. If you’re heading over from Cornwall, UK, then the best advice is to book your travel and accommodation as early as possible as it can get really busy and prices can climb over time.
The 2023 edition took place between 15 and 21 May 2023. It was a grand occasion as it celebrated 50 years since the first one was organised way back in 1973. See our interview with the Kernewek Lowender president about that amazing celebration: here.
No-one in the region could have predicted the tens of thousands of people that graced that first festival in 1973, with more than 15,000 visiting its first traditional Cornish fair, the ‘Fer Kernewek’, alone. Apparently, the local shopkeepers and publicans didn’t know what hit them as the crowds piled in during that first fest in 1973, with reports of not having ‘sufficient flour to keep up with demand for the pasties’, plus one visitor was reportedly rushed to hospital with a fishbone in her throat after tucking into a particularly spiky stargazy pie.
Such was the success of that first festival (apart from for the fishbone lady, of course) that it’s been held in May every two years since in those three Copper Triangle towns. People come from all over Australia and the rest of the world to soak up Cornish heritage, enjoy Cornish ceremonies and eat Cornish pasties in Australia. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 50,000 people have attended each edition.
These are the sorts of events that historically take place at the Kernewek Lowender Copper Coast Cornish Festival and they are all expected to take place again at the 2025 edition: the Fer Kernewek, a Drakes Supermarket Moonta Parade, a Pasty Bake-off in the Moonta Oval alongside maypole dancing and a traditional furry dance, a Rotary Village Fair, a Classic Cavalcade of Cars, art exhibitions, street parties, competitions, games for the youngsters, cemetery tours, history seminars and even Cornish language lessons. Yes, the language is being promoted on the other side of the globe.
Loads of places sell homemade pasties throughout the event and, oh, just go. If you have the money and the chance, just go. This is a massive celebration of Cornwall literally on the other side of the world. Kernewek Lowender 2025 is set to be a barnstormer, so jump on a plane in May 2025 and experience the best Cornish festival in the world in all its colour and glory if you get half a chance.
Or, at least, head over to Geevor Tine Mine over the next few days, start digging in that shaft that runs underneath the site and you should get to Wallaroo by May 2025. With any luck, mate.