Australasia, Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: Scottish-Australian Heritage Council Newsletter

GC BADGE ARTWORK Chosen Black.pngClan Carruthers Society – International, as a full member of the Scottish-Australian Heritage Council, we  would like to share with you their latest newsletter.

As an aside and as a reminder, the latest edition of our Society Journal; Promptus et Fidelis, will imminently be circulated to all full members of our society.



The Rt Hon. The Earl of Dunmore, Chieftain in Clan Murray


The Rt Hon. The Earl of Erroll, The Lord High Constable of Scotland; Senior Great Officer of the Royal Household in Scotland


The Much Honoured Sir Wayne Broun, Bt, Chief of Clan Broun,  Mrs Rosemary Nicolson Samios, OAM and Mr Laurie Ferguson, OAM


Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO

NEWSLETTER October 2020

PO Box 7310, Kaleen ACT 2617

Clan/Society newsletters by email to:

Newsletters by post to: P.O. Box 7310, Kaleen ACT 2617 Australia


Public Officer: Nea MacCulloch, 9/61 Yeo Street, Neutral Bay NSW 2089


  • President’s Report
  • Soraidhean – Flowers o’ the Forest:
  • Chris Maguire, Esq.
    Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, Lord Lyon from 1981-2001
  • Virtual Events around the World
  • Australian Scottish family connections:
  • Catherine Helen Spence (1825–1910): Australian Social and Political Reformer Saving a Flag – Chisholm to the Rescue!
  • The new Scotland Down Under radio show 2RRR – 88.5FM in Sydney Flags of the Isles of Scotland
    Featured Clan: Chloinn Ghriogair – Clan Gregor
    Event Reports and Around the Clans

President’s report

Unfortunately, we report on the passing of two iconic persons in their respective arenas of Scottish heritage and culture, Chris Maguire and Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight. Our sincere condolences are extended to their families and friends.

We have been advised that events in early 2021 are now considering whether they will proceed. In particular, we are told that, along with the Maryborough (Vic) and Geelong (Vic) gatherings, the Richmond Highland Gathering in Tasmania is cancelled. In the latter case, this is due to particular circumstances of the size of the venue and arrangements needed that would make it still unviable under COVID-19 restrictions.

For events in other circumstances, we are hearing more positive feedback that as COVID-19 restrictions are being loosened in response to the low number of cases and the use of management plans, more events are likely to be held. Communities working together mean that once again we can enjoy the camaraderie of being together at our cultural events.

November is traditionally one of celebration of St Andrews Day and we know that some services are being planned within COVID-19 rules, including in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide.

We learn of innovative ways that clan societies and Scottish Diaspora associations worldwide aim to keep their connections with their communities alive and celebrating our collective culture. We present a very interesting list of presentations and lectures that are being delivered on-line and via Zoom. Unfortunately, as the lectures are delivered in Scotland, they are available only in the wee hours of the morning in Australia.

In this edition we continue our stories of Australians of Scottish descent from our members and other sources. Please keep sending us your Scottish family stories in Australia.

Radio in Sydney will get another boost from 6 October when Robin MacKenzie-Hunter hosts the Scotland Down Under show on radio 2RRR – 88.5 FM, Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30pm. The first show can be heard now at:

A call to arms for a new Newsletter Editor

The newsletter is an important means that we can communicate with our members. We would like a member to take on this important role. It requires a keen eye on the lookout for interesting news from around the world. We have connections with like-minded organizations overseas, including the Scottish Government and our equivalent Diaspora leadership associations in the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

At the same time we have been approached to consider a new and interesting direction for communicating with our members and the wider community. So, watch this space for more news about this.

Malcolm Buchanan

Soraidhean – Flowers o’ the Forest

Christopher Arthur Maguire (1959 – 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.43.14.png
Picture courtesy of The Standard, Camperdown, Victoria

Sadly we report the recent death of Chris Maguire, Esq., our SAHC Liaison Officer for the Robert Burns Scottish Festival, Camperdown, Victoria. The following is from the eulogy presented by Norman Macdonald, President of the Victorian Scottish Union (VSU) at the funeral. Norman and Jan (our SAHC Liaison Officer for Victoria) are very good friends of Chris and Christine Maguire. They met for the first time around 2012, when they were looking at holding an annual conference of the VSU, as well as visiting the Robert Burns festivities in the Camperdown area. In the following years, it was as if Chris had always been a part of the Victorian Scottish arena, participating in the events and giving helpful advice and liaison.

For a few years Chris was seen in his Farquharson kilt more than in his every day wear. Given that Maguire is a well known Irish name, and the most common surname in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, many people, not knowing the clanships between Ireland and Scotland would wonder at Chris’s alliances. The Maguires now have their own very colourful tartan and Clan Societies.

Chris very quickly combined his Camperdown Tourist Information Bureau role with that of the Victorian Scottish Union and as Secretary of the Robert Burns Club Camperdown. He originally started the rounds of the Highland Gatherings around Victoria and Bundanoon, New South Wales, as well as visiting Canberra in an effort to promote the Robert Burns Camperdown Festivities, but rapidly changed those to assisting at the VSU and Clan Donald tents. He became a very valued member with his wealth of knowledge of Burns, highland cattle, Scottish weapons, culture, music, and whisky. His ability to remember names and faces and networking within the Scottish community was second to none.

Not just at the festivals, but in person and online, Chris liaised with many of the Celtic artists, and bands throughout the world, some of whom may not have attended Camperdown but for him. He was very much a promoter of Scottish Highland Dancing within Victoria, irrespective of the dance society’s dance code, inviting them to participate in Camperdown’s festivities.

Chris’s constant computer research meant that he often knew, and relayed information, before many of the parent Victorian Scottish societies were aware. His skills earned him the respect of his peers, such that in 2018 he became the District Vice President for the South Western District, a liaison role, within the VSU.

Our sincere condolences to Christine and the family.


Soraidhean – Flowers o’ the Forest (continued)

Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight KCVO WS FSA Scot (1938 – 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.43.41.pngOrkney Herald, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight KCVO WS, has died. Sir Malcolm was Lord Lyon King of Arms from 1981-2001. He was the son of advocate, historian and future Lord Lyon Sir Thomas Innes of Learney. His mother was Lady Lucy Buchan, a daughter of the 18th Earl of Caithness. He was appointed Falkland Pursuivant Extraordinary in 1957 and eventually Marchmont Herald in 1971.


He was appointed in 1966 to the important executive office of Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records, remaining in post until he succeeded Sir James Monteith Grant as Lord Lyon King of Arms in 1981. During a period of 20 years in office, he was responsible for some of the most important and far-reaching decisions on the laws of arms of his time, and passed judgement on numerous claims and disputes on the succession to titles and chiefships. Sir Malcolm oversaw the introduction of heraldic charges to cope with needs such as computing and electronics. In 2001 he was appointed Orkney Herald Extraordinary, which appointment he retained up to his death.


With 63 years’ continuous service, he was one of the longest serving heralds in the 700-year history of Lyon Office. Sir Malcolm wrote extensively on Scottish heraldry, history and the laws of arms, and published a revised edition of that definitive guide, Scots Heraldry, written by his father, in 1978.

Sir Malcolm was heavily involved in the Scottish cultural and historical scene, a founder and later president of the Scottish Genealogy Society and a past president of the Royal Celtic Society. He helped to found the Heraldry Society of Scotland serving successive terms of office as secretary, chairman and president. Lately he was elected Patron of the society. Other obituaries can be found at

Virtual Events – the New Normal

Many individuals, organisations and events have taken the initiative to present their performances and exhibitions on the internet. Here are just a few from the many that are out there on the internet. Please email us the internet address of any virtual events that you think that we will enjoy to

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.44.04.pngScotland
Wigtown Book Festival, 24 September – 4 October 2020

If you are into books, then you can visit the Wigtown Book Festival which held a number of events online. This festival is a ten day literary celebration in Scotland’s National Book Town. You can see some of the presentations by authors at, and

Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow

The Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow, has announced their programme for their online 2020-21 seminar series (delivered via Zoom). Registration and further details for each event can be found through the CSCS Eventbrite:


4 Nov 2020 * Kevin Gallagher and George Smith present ‘Duntocher, Dumbarton and the 1820 Scottish Rebellion’

18 Nov 2020 * Karen McAulay presents ‘Scottish Song Collecting in the Context of Cultural Heritage: “A Matter of National Importance”‘

27 Nov 2020 Annual Thomas Muir of Huntershill lecture presented by Garry Carruthers on ‘Thomas Muir of Huntershill on Slavery: a rediscovered legal thesis’

2 Dec 2020 * Tanja Bueltman presents ‘Scotland’s Global Diaspora: A Story of Migration, Identity and Ethnic Association’

16Dec2020* The Form and Fabric of Early Medieval Britain: Reflections on the Archaeology of Ewan Campbell Series, IV

27 Jan 2021 * Ted Cowan presents ‘The Arctic Scots and the Search for the Northwest Passage’

10Feb2021* Professor Kirsteen McCue presents ‘Robert Burns’s Songs for George Thomson’

24 Feb 2021 * Elva Johnston presents ‘Scottish Saints in Ireland and Beyond’

10 Mar 2021* The Form and Fabric of Early Medieval Britain: Reflections on the Archaeology of Ewan Campbell Series, VI

24 Mar 2021 *Michael Lynch presents ‘Revisiting the Scottish Reformation: a Search for

* Dates are for Australia. Each seminar starts at 4:30am AEDT, an early start for the day.

The CSCS is an inter-disciplinary project that brings together Scottish History, Celtic, Scottish Literature and Archaeology.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.44.17.png

Did you know about Scottish destination management and marketing organisations?

Tourism destination management and marketing organisations (DMMOs) are companies established and supported by the Scottish Government and local associations to underpin the tourism sector’s recovery. VisitScotland provided essential short-term support with the Tourism Destination and Sector Support Fund as part of the COVID-19 response. Examples are the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which aims to invest £3m over the next three years, and the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, with a £2.7m funding award.

Ideas for your next trip to Scotland

VisitScotland has a number of informative podcasts about ideas for your trip to Scotland, Tour Guide Tales, where you’ll hear Scotland’s amazing stories from the people who know them best – the tour guides at:

Last newsletter listed the first five tales. Two more have been added to that list:

  • Kilmartin Glen
  • Outer Hebrides.

Other introductory Tour Guide’s Tales are: Falkland Palace & Gardens

  • The Angels of Annandale Distillery
  • Falkland Palace & Gardens

  • Unravel Hawick’s Cashmere Industry
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery
  • The Black Officer of Badenoch
  • Tour Guide Tales: RRS Discovery Dundee


Historic Environment Scotland

In addition to the iconic sites listed in our last newsletter being opened, HES have advised that Dunfermline Abbey Nave has reopened to visitors for select days during October after closing its doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Nave or ‘Old Church’ is managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and is part of the remains of the twelfth century Abbey, dedicated in 1147. The Nave of the Old Church stretches eastwards to the entrance to the modern parish church (Dunfermline Abbey Church) which is the final resting place of Robert the Bruce. visitors

Scotland from the Sky

Explore the Historic Environment Scotland online exhibition and see the country from a unique perspective:

  • Capturing Scotland
  • A Bird’s Eye View
  • Revealed from the Air
  • Our Changing Cities
  • National Collection of Aerial Photography

More information can be found at

Northern America

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.45.06.pngThe Scottish North American Community Conference 2020 will be held in New York and online on 4-6 December 2020. The theme is the relevance of Scottish identity in a globalised world. The organisations hosting this event are Chicago Scots, The American Scottish Foundation (ASF), the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations (COSCA), Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada (CASSOC), Scottish Studies Foundation and the Detroit Scots.

United State of America

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.45.16.pngThe 45th New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival (NH SCOT) goes virtual NH SCOT has put together a video highlighting many of the beloved
aspects of Games weekend. It was shown on Saturday
19 September. NH SCOT is the organization that presents the New

Hampshire Highland Games & Festival. Held annually on the third weekend in September at Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, New Hampshire, it is one of the largest and most diverse highland games in the United States. Source:

You can tune into revisit this event at:


Catherine Helen Spence (1825–1910):

Australian Social and Political Reformer, Writer, Teacher

By Professor Sybil Jack, Vice President SAHC

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.45.28.png
Coutrtesy of the State of South Australia

At the end of her life Catherine Spence was a world figure. South Australia’s chief justice in 1905, Sir Samuel James Way, said she was, ‘The most distinguished woman they had had inAustralia…she was a novelist, a critic, an accomplished journalist, a preacher, a lecturer and philanthropist and a social and moral reformer.’ Others, including Miles Franklin, saw her as a world figure.

Spence arrived in South Australia from Melrose in Scotland when she was fourteen in 1839 and always spoke with a Scotch accent and spoke of her Scotch pride and one formed by the Scottish education she had received.

She saw herself as ‘a new woman…an awakened woman responsible…to the state…that the world may be glad she had been born.’ Throughout her life she was dedicated to public service which she saw as a duty on all citizens, She was also a committed religious woman. She was brought up in the Church of Scotland, but in 1856 moved to the Unitarian Christian Church for which she later preached.

In her early days in Adelaide she worked as a governess to help keep the family afloat financially. Later she became the surrogate mother of three different orphan families and care for children was always one of her key commitments. She early decided she would not marry and aimed to be a great writer. She is thought to have written the first book about women by an Australian woman in 1854 – Clara Morrison is about a woman in the gold rushes.

She wrote as a journalist, first under other names, produced political as well as literary and social editorials and became a brilliant public speaker in the days before women were expected to speak publicly. She was therefore the first woman in Australia to address many public forums such as the South Australian Institute. The journals in which her work appears include many South Australian newspapers as well as the Cornhill Magazine, Fortnightly Review and Melbourne Review and South Australian Register. Her wages from journalism kept her household with its various inhabitants for much of her life.

She had had an excellent school education herself in Scotland and was anxious to advance education especially for women supporting the founding of kindergartens and secondary schools for girls. She felt a special responsibility for children’s welfare and

Catherine Helen Spence, 1910 was deeply involved in improving the public institutions that existed for the maintenance of orphans. Her ideas about the boarding out and care of orphans first introduced in 1872 when she co-founded the Boarding Out society were eventually adopted by the state.

From 1859 she was pressing for a change to the electoral system and started to advocate women’s rights in all she spoke and wrote. In 1861 she printed a thousand copies of a pamphlet A Plea for Pure Democracy. It stressed her system for proportional representation which related to the Hare-Clark system. In the 1870s she was writing on other women’s issues such as their rights in marriage and urging changes to the law to provide women with legal protection. In 1877 she became the first woman to serve on a Public Board when she joined the Advanced School for Girls Board of Advice.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.45.40.png
C.H. Spence bronze statue, Ieva Pocius, Light Square, Adelaide, 1986

In 1880 women’s suffrage organisations which she supported were active. She helped the Social Purity Society founded in 1882 for religious and moral ends that worked for legislation designed to protect young women from seduction and inducements to prostitution and raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 years.

In 1891 she joined the women’s suffrage league and worked intensively for women’s suffrage. In 1893-4 she went to the USA as a representative of the South Australian state at the Children’s Council. There she attended International conference on Charities and Correction in Chicago and spoke across the USA before returning home. Her return was marked in 1894 by the success of the movement and women in the state of South Australia became first women in the world to gain full political rights.

In that year she travelled to help those campaigning in Victoria and NSW for women’s suffrage. Her standing was such that in 1895 she was first woman in Australia to participate in an official commission — the Commission of enquiry into the Adelaide hospital.

In 1897 she stood, at her brother’s urging (unsuccessfully) for the Federal Convention held in Adelaide and so she became Australia’s first female political candidate and the first woman in the empire to stand for public office. She resisted ageing, in the last ten years of her life she took on various positions that related to the matters to which she had given her life. In 1909 when she had less than a year to live she chaired the meeting that founded the SA branch of the women’s non-party political association. She is widely seen as embodying the idealism and hope for a new kind of society

C.H. Spence bronze statue, Ieva Pocius, Light Square, Adelaide, 1986


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.06.pngIn 1911 The Catherine Helen Spence Scholarship, awarded to women to study social issues, was established by the South Australian Government to perpetuate her memory

( learning/financial-help-scholarships-and- grants/catherine-helen-spence).

In 1975 she was honoured on a postage stamp bearing her portrait issued by Australia Post.

Her image appears on the commemorative Centenary of Federation Australian five-dollar note issued in 2001 replacing that of the Queen. banknotes/people-on-the-banknotes/catherine-helen- spence

Recent Biography:
Magarey S., Unbridling the Tongues of Women: a biography of Catherine Helen Spence, University of Adelaide Press, 2010
‘The Private Life of Catherine Helen Spence, 1825-1910’ in Davison, G., Prest, W. and Jalland, P. (eds), Body and Mind: Historical Essays in Honour of F.B. Smith, Melbourne University Press, 2009, pp. 5-17

Earlier works:
Young J.F., Catherine Helen Spence: a study and appreciation, The Lothian Publishing Co., 1937
Spence, C.H., An Autobiography (1825-1910), Wakefield Press, 2005

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.16.pngScotland Down Under radio show in Sydney

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.27.pngThe Scottish program from 2RRR – 88.5 FM will have a new program Scotland Down Under on Tuesday nights but from 6:00-7:30pm. It will be hosted by Gaelic Choir Sydney identity, Robin MacKenzie-Hunter.

The new program starts on Tuesday 6 October from 6:00-7:30pm comes not only with a completely fresh approach but also with an extra half hour for your listening pleasure.

There will be Ceilidh Bands, Pipe Bands, Music and Song in Scots English and in Gaelic also a News segment bringing you the latest in Scottish news from overseas and locally.

Don’t miss it folks – 2RRR, 88.5 FM on Tuesdays

from 6:00-7:30pm. You can listen to the stream via your computer/mobile phone by checking the guide for 2RRR on Tuesdays and selecting the show via


Flags of the Isles of Scotland

by Malcolm Edmiston, SAHC Heraldry Consultant, High Commissioner Australasia for Clan Edmonstone

In the last two decades or more the union flag has disappeared on most buildings in Scotland and only are flown on British Government buildings. The Saltire or St Andrew’s cross on the other hand is far more prevalent being flown on Scottish Government and private buildings. It is often seen on flagpoles in front yards of houses. This has been followed by Wales flying the Welsh dragon, the St Piran’s Cross flag dating from the 12th Century in Cornwell and the St Petroc’s flag in Devon which became official in 2003. They are all distancing themselves from London.

In the Scottish islands the inhabitants are proud of their heritage which is different to that of mainland Scotland and many are adopting their own flag. These follow the style of the Scandinavian country flags:

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.40.png


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.52.pngThe County of Shetland, the most northern island group in Scotland, has had their flag since 1969. It is a white Nordic Cross on a light blue field. It uses the colours of the Scottish flag in the form of a Scandinavian flag. It was designed by Roy Grønneberg and Bill Adams to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the transfer of the islands from Norway to Scotland. The flag was officially recognised by the Lord Lyon in 2005.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.47.28.pngThe County of Orkney had their flag recognised by the Lord Lyon in 2007. They had an unofficial flag prior to this but the Lord Lyon would not approve this as it was easily confused with other nation’s flags. The official one is a blue Nordic Cross fimbriated (outlined) in yellow on a red field. The colours come from the Royal Standards of Scotland and Norway and the Scottish flag.


Outer Hebrides

Screen Shot 2020-10-24 at 14.08.49.pngThe Outer Hebrides Local Government has a heraldic flag based on the shield of Council’s Coat of Arms. The arms are Or, in fess barry wavy of five azure and argent between three lymphads sails furled, oars in action, flags and pennon flying. The crest is a coronet of two dolphins and the supporters are a unicorn rampant with collar and saltire badge and an eagle. Similarly, the flag has a yellow field with five wavy bars across the centre alternating blue and white, between two heraldic galleys above the waves and one below.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.48.00.png

In 2016 a formal petition was made to the Lord Lyon and the flag of Barra in the Outer Hebrides was registered on 23rd November 2017. It had been flying the flag for two decades before that. The flag is a white Nordic cross on a green field, recognising that it was part of the Norse ‘Kingdom of the Isles’ and its name is of Norse origin.

South Uist

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.48.11.pngThe Island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides has flown a green flag with a dark blue Nordic cross fimbriated/outlined in white since 1997. This was formally registered by the Lord Lyon on 28th June 2017. The island was also part of the Norse ‘Kingdom of the Isles. The flag is very popular and is flown all over the island and appears on many signs. The registration was a collaborative effort between the community, the principal landlord and a vexillologist from the flag institute.

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.48.24.png



Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.48.36.pngTiree is the outer most island of the Inner Hebrides in Argyllshire. It is twelve miles long and three miles wide. It is very fertile but low lying and often described as a ‘raised beach’ or ‘the land below the waves’. It is also considered ‘the sunshine isle’ (by Scottish standards). The main crop is barley, so it is understandable that the flag is twelve barley stalks in a wheel pattern on a green field. The green represents the fertility of the island. The barley wheel is referred to as ‘The Sun of Barley’, ‘The Barley Sun’ and ‘The Barley Star’. The centre of the wheel is the same place as the intersection of a Nordic Cross keeping the Norse connection to the island. The flag received official recognition on 20th September 2018.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.48.48.pngThe most recent island to register a flag is Skye, which was only registered this year. The flag is blue with a yellow Nordic/Scandinavian Cross entwined with a white circle, bringing together the islands Viking and Celtic heritage. The upper canton has a yellow Birlinn boat with sail unfurled, flag flying and five oars in action to represent the five areas of the island.

Lymphads and Birlinns are terms that are often interchangeable, but generally a Lymphad/Galley was larger than a Birlinn and depicted differently in heraldry and vexillology. Both were smaller than a Viking long ship. The difference that brought the defeat of the Viking fleet was Scottish ingenuity that had equipped the Scottish ships with rudders making them much more maneuverable in battle.

Question: Is there a flag of the Bernera islands officially recognized by Lyon Court? If you know please provide us with the details.


Saving a Flag – Chisholm to the Rescue!

by Carolyn Chown, Clan Chisholm Society Australia

In 1854 the Eureka Uprising took place in the goldfields of Ballarat, central Victoria, where the extensive gold workings brought enormous wealth and immigration to the early settlements of Australia. The incident has been termed “The Battle of the Eureka Stockade.” It was, in essence, a skirmish that lasted less than 30 minutes, but has gone down in Australian history as a significant bid, in fact the first bid, for individuals’ rights against the hegemony of authority and a call for political representation.

Gold was first discovered in the area in the 1850s and brought streams of hopeful diggers to the area. At first the diggers headed straight for the rivers and streams to pan for the alluvial gold. They came from all over the world to these goldfields, which eventually proved to have kilometres of gold seams underground and would ultimately yield some of the most abundant hauls of gold Australia has produced and is still in production.

In the early days, after the easily won gold was taken from the local streams, the explorers had to sink deeper into the ground to discover the seams that ran in different directions underground. Some contained rich gold deposits; others of course quickly ran out. Soon syndicates were formed and digging reached down 60 feet, then beyond 100 feet. While syndicates were the answer to fund this type of exploration, in the early days the authorities were selling licences to individuals, which, for a sum of around $4 in the current pricing, would allow a man to dig for 3 months an area of 12 square feet. As a man dug, he came to the water table, which he needed to bale continually and shore up the shafts with expensive timber. For an individual, with little money, this rapidly became an expensive process and with no assurance of finding gold at the bottom.

The licence fees applied whether he found gold or not and the police were persistent in their licence checks. The licences themselves were paper and not normally carried by the miner, so he would have to go back to his tent, which could be some distance away and not be getting on with his work. In the heat of Ballarat summer, this proved to be an extra burden, and the harassment of the police only added to the miners’ woes. Protection, which should have been a guarantee on payment of licence fee, was not given by the authorities, and the hapless miner was left to protect his small claim himself. Theft and claim jumping were endemic and the victim had no redress from the authorities, which added to the difficulties of the miner.

Life on the goldfields was rough and dangerous and few really made much money from gold won from the ground. Most fortunes were made in the supply of goods and services to the diggers. There were many stores set up and of course, pubs by the score. It was in one of these pubs, the Eureka Hotel, that a man, by the name of James Scobie was killed after being refused entry. The publican was suspected of the murder and some infuriated diggers burned down the hotel, then Scobie was freed by the courts. While he got off, three of these diggers were convicted and jailed for burning down his hotel and this set the rest of the digger community on fire.


They held a meeting at a place called Bakery Hill on November 29th 1854 and some burned their licences. The next day as the police raided the diggings for licences they got stoned. Another meeting took place where they elected Peter Lalor as their leader and constructed a rough stockade from slabs of timber, arming themselves with pikes and firearms. Inspiration led to the design of a flag, which was sewn by their wives from bits of fabric on hand. It was blue background, using a shiny Prussian blue wool fabric, perhaps from a woman’s dress; the off-white cross was Indian cotton twill, similar to that used for bed sheets and fine cotton lawn, used for petticoats. The handmade flag was sewn with conviction, rather than precision! The arms of the cross are not quite straight and the stars vary in the symmetry of their points.

Nevertheless, this flag, homemade in its glory, became the symbol of a stance for freedom in Australia for over 160 years.

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.49.20.png
Bakery Hill on 1 December 1854: Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross, watercolour by Charles Doudiet, Art Gallery of Ballarat

The stockade was raided by the police in the early hours of the morning of December 3rd 1854. There were possibly 120 men inside and some 1000 troops and police on the outside. Using the surprise of the early hour they quickly overran the stockade, killing possibly 22 diggers, with 4 of their number also killed (there is some dispute as to the actual numbers killed).

It was a small stand for freedom in terms of numbers, but a successful bid in the long run for democracy. By the following year miners began to make their own laws and run their own courts to settle disputes and the rule of law gradually improved for them. Peter Lalor, after losing his left arm at the stockade, became a prosperous miner and an MP, rising to speaker of the Victorian Parliament.

But what happened to the flag? It was torn down during the raid and was taken as a souvenir by one of the police, John King. His descendants presented it to a gallery in Ballarat in the 1890s and it was left, uncared for in a storeroom until it was discovered in the 1970s. It was dusty and in tatters, but still a ‘notable relic’, as Jack Chisholm stated at the time. He was a Councillor on the Ballarat City Council and it was thanks to him that the flag was rescued and conserved.

Jack Chisholm was a man of Ballarat all his life. He was born there in 1919, and died there in 2004. He was eldest son of Peg and Colin Chisholm, whose family antecedents came from Scotland in 1849. To briefly put them in context: Colin Chisholm of Mid Crochael, Kilmorack, Invernesshire, Scotland and Catherine, nee Morrison, also of Mid Crochael, came to Australia on the ship “Maitland” from Gravesend London on 14 September, 1848, arriving at Melbourne on 7 January, 1849 as free settlers and moved up to the goldfields probably in 1854. Their second son, John opened a drapery store in

Ballarat, which was continued by his own son, Colin. It was here that Jack Chisholm, of our story, took over the store (as the third generation of storekeeper) from his father.


Jack (christened John Allan), lived all his life in Ballarat, with the exception of his war efforts in the UK and Europe in WWII. He was an active man for his city, joining the council in 1951 and having 4 appointments as mayor. It was during one of his mayoral episodes that Jack rescued the Eureka flag.

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.49.41.pngAs the flag came to light, in its dusty and bedraggled state, Jack stepped in to save it. He built a pool in his garden where the flag could be carefully washed, it was then attached to boards and taken to the city art gallery where Jack had found the sewing teacher of the Ballarat Girls High School and asked her to conserve the flag. Her name was Val D’Angri and she spent weeks bent on her knees, often well into the night, carefully inserting invisible stitches to conserve the remains of the flag from further deterioration. After around 150 hours of work on the fragile fabric, she grew to love the flag and its symbol, as many other Australians do today. There are many reproductions of the old flag, but the original hangs in the Eureka Centre in Ballarat’s Eureka Stockade Gardens today, thanks to the vision of a responsible Chisholm!

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.49.53.png

John (Jack) Chisholm MBE


Jack’s Ballarat heritage stretches back 6 generations. He made an inestimable contribution to the community. He was Mayor four times, a Freeman of the City, historian, genealogist, collector, businessman, and author. Two lasting achievements Jack gave to Ballarat were the Begonia Festival as a founding member, and the Sovereign Hill Historical Park, which was created through his vision and drive.

(From Reid J., Chisholm J., Ballarat Golden City: A Pictorial History, Joval Publications, 1989)

Other references:

Featured Clan
Chloinn Ghriogair – Clan Gregor

By Frank McGregor, High Commissioner for Clan Gregor Australia


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.50.13.pngClan Gregor is one of the ancient highland clans in Scotland and the senior branch of Clan Alpin.


The Clan claims descent from Griogar, son of King Alpin who was the first united King of Scotland, a descent which is proclaimed in the motto, ‘S Rioghal Mo Dhream translated as “Royal is my Race.”


The first known Chief was ‘Gregor of the golden bridles’ and his son, Iain Camm, succeeded as 2nd chief before 1390.


The Clan controlled lands in Argyle and Perthshire and later held lands in Glenstrae, Glenlochy, Glenlyon, Glengyle, and Glenorchy. Tradition is that the MacGregor’s were the first people to raise smoke and boil water in some of these areas.


A turning point in the fortunes of the MacGregors was when Robert the Bruce granted the Barony of Loch Awe which included much of the MacGregor territory to the Chief of the Campbells. In common with many royal gifts of the time, it was left to the recipient to work out how he would take possession of it. Because MacGregors maintained their lands by right of the sword, they became known as a turbulent and war like clan.

Probably the most significant event in MacGregor history was the Battle of Glen Fruin in 1603. This was a battle between 700 Colquhoun’s and 300 McGregors. The McGregors won this battle easily with the loss of only two McGregors but some 140-200 Colquhoun’s were killed.


This brought in the Proscriptive Acts of Clan Gregor which were enacted on the 3rd of April 1603 and thus, they became the most persecuted clan in Scottish history.

The name of MacGregor was to be erased from existence. To continue using the name MacGregor openly was to invite an immediate execution. The Gregorach were ordered to take different names. Those who refused (and were caught); the men were executed, the women were stripped bare, branded, and whipped through the streets. The women and children were sold into slavery for Britain’s new colonies in North America.


Further additions to the proscriptive acts were that no more than four MacGregors could be seen together. They were denied the basic necessities of food, water and shelter.

MacGregors were denied the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, marriage, and last rites. The gentry of Scotland were encouraged to hunt the Clan with bloodhounds as if they were common game stock. But one of the most horrifying acts was the commission of selling MacGregor heads to the government to attain pardon for thievery and murder.


With their names proscribed for nearly 200 years, they became known as “Clann a’ Cheo” the “Children of the Mist” which is considered the most romantic title in Scotland.

The MacGregors were staunch Jacobite’s which was surprising considering how badly they were treated under the Stewart Kings. They were called out for their bravery by Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Prestonpans.


The most famous of our clan is Rob Roy MacGregor who became a legend in his own lifetime by the writings of Daniel DeFoe and Sir Walter Scott.


Comunn Chloinn Ghriogair – The Clan Gregor Society

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.50.24.png
Lady MacGregor and Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor.
Picture courtesy of Frank McGregor

Under the suggestion of then Clan Chief Sir Evan MacGregor, the Clan Gregor Society was instituted in 1822 and is one of the oldest clan societies. In its early days it was managed by a committee of professional gentlemen, all surnamed MacGregor or McGregor, and living in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Their object was to extend ‘to the Poor of the Clan the benefits of a sound and Christian education.’

Today, the Society is a growing organization with membership throughout the world. Its most active objectives are to extend the links of kinship and friendship between MacGregors wherever they may be and to provide a focal point for all members of the Clan.

The Society’s Patron is Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, 24th Chief of Clan Gregor and 7th Baronet of Lanrick and Balquhidder.

Sir Malcolm is a very active Chief and, for many years, was the Convener of The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. He is married to Fiona. Lady MacGregor is a well-known journalist and is the Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries.

The Clan Gregor Society holds an international gathering in Scotland every four years and in 2022, it will be the bi-centennial of the founding of the Society.

2022 is also significant because it will be the 200th anniversary of Sir Evan MacGregor, the 19th MacGregor chief, and his clansmen playing a prominent part in the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822. They were given the honour of guarding and presenting the Honours of Scotland. Sir Evan also had the honour of proposing the toast to the ‘chief of chiefs’ King George, at the royal banquet in Edinburgh.

Considering the significance of 2022, the Society is planning the biggest international gathering possible but unfortunately, due to Covid-19, planning for this event has been problematic. However, at this point in time this event is still going ahead. To come to these clan gatherings, you need to be a current member of the Society.

Lady MacGregor and Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor.
Picture courtesy of Frank McGregor


Membership of The Clan Gregor Society is open to all who regard themselves as MacGregors, and to all others as Associate or Honorary Members in accordance with the Society’s Rules.

For particulars about joining the Society please write to the Overseas Representative of the Clan Gregor Society, Frank McGregor at or go to our website:

I will leave you with the words of Sir Walter Scott, “While there’s leaves in the forest and foam on the river, MacGregor despite them shall flourish forever!”

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.50.38.png
Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, Chief of Clan Gregor, presents his pinsel to his personal representative, Frank McGregor, High Commissioner for Clan Gregor Australia. Picture courtesy of Frank McGregor

Editor’s note: Sir Malcolm and Lady MacGregor were the Honoured Guests of the Scottish Australian Heritage Council for Scottish Week in 2016.

Screen Shot 2020-10-24 at 14.21.46.png

Event Reports

Please let us know your event information and dates for 2021 to:


Scottish/Celtic Events in 2020

November 2020: St Andrew’s Day services, Canberra and Sydney – watch this space. South Australia: Sunday 29 November, 10.00am, Wesley Uniting church, Fullarton Road, Kent Town.

This information with contact information is available on the SAHC website calendar.

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.16

Cancelled Events:

Further to the information provided in the last newsletter, we are advised that the following events have been cancelled:

* Beechworth Celtic Festival, Beechworth, Victoria (6-8 November)
* Daylesford Highland Gathering, Daylesford, Victoria (5 December)

* Maryborough Highland Gathering, Maryborough, Victoria (1 January) * Richmond Highland Gathering, Tasmania (21 February)
* Geelong Highland Gathering, Geelong, Victoria (21 March)
* Australasian Pipe Band Championships, Maryborough, Victoria (April)

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.46.16

Scottish/Celtic Events planned for 2021

We are delighted to learn that events are being planned for 2021. We do not have confirmation from all of the following events in 2021 yet:

27 February: Scots Day Out, Bendigo, Victoria
6 March: Liverpool Plains Military Tattoo, Quirindi, New South Wales
2-3 April (Easter): Maclean Highland Gathering, Maclean, New South Wales
# 17 April: Bundanoon Highland Gathering, Bundanoon, New South Wales
29 April-2 May: Australian Celtic Festival (Ireland & Isle of Man), Glen Innes, New South Wales
# Confirmation received.

Around the Clans

International Gatherings are being planned by several clans, subject to the impact of Covid-19 at the time, as follows:

  • Clan MacNeil – August 2021, Scotland
  • Clan Buchanan –  October 2021, Scotland
  • Clan Colquhoun – 2022, Scotland
  • Clan Gregor – 2022, Scotland

Please send us your news to:

This newsletter is published by The Scottish Australian Heritage Council ABN 630 743 587 02 (an association incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009, NSW with registration number Y 148 6510).

Opinions expressed in the newsletter are not necessarily those of the Council. Contents including images are copyright © Scottish Australian Heritage Council Inc and/or the individual submitting author.

Articles and extracts, if acknowledged, may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes only. Enquiries to

Newsletter publication deadlines
Please email articles in publication ready form with pictures by the following dates:

January: by 31 December April: by 31 March
July: by 30 June
October: by 30 September.

Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey Final to use

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.