Woah! How quickly this year is flying by already. We have only just celebrated Hogmanay, it seems, and it is February already. Oh and what a fabulous night it was. I think it was the best one so far. We had a full house
and the majority of people got up to dance at some point or another. How could we not? The live band, Matthew Robertson and David South, (and David’s wife Kim who assisted with the dances) were sensational as always and we are very honoured to have them come along and entertain us all each year. One of our long-time Clan Cameron traditions at Hogmanay is that every person attending brings something on a plate to share for supper and it is always a delight to see (and taste) such an array of home-made deliciousness… last year was no exception. Yum! I was very proud of my wonderful cousin Yvette Barnes who gave the address to the haggis with great expression, really bringing the word meanings to life. Thank you Yvette. As most of you know, we share our Hogmanay celebrations with our friends Clan MacLennan. What a joy it is to meet in peace, freedom and harmony with another Scottish clan who, like us, are passionate about honouring our forebears and keeping the traditions alive whilst also moving forward embracing the best of today. This Hogmanay was extra special as we celebrated 85 years of Clan Cameron Australia. I gave the toast (see below) and shared my quaich of whisky with Carol Davies, Chief’s Commissioner for Clan MacLennan as a representation of the “Unity” we share. Thank you to all who contributed to make the evening a wonderful success.
On a more personal note, my Mum and I have been researching more of our family history recently. We both took part in the Ancestry DNA tests. I was most relieved when I got mine back to know that my lovely Mum who
gave birth to me is in fact my Mum according to the DNA tests (ha, ha!)… I was a tad sceptical of the tests. It has revealed quite a few distant relatives on my Dad’s side of the family that we were not aware of. The more people
who take part, the more information is available and the more beneficial it is. Do be aware though that you require an Ancestry membership to be able to get the best out of your DNA results.
Throughout my life I have awoken some mornings having dreamt of my Great Granny Cameron (Granny Annie, as I call her) with a little Scottish ditty or song/tune in my head. They are often cheeky, very pretty tunes and I have on occasion had to look up the meaning of the Scottish words. I never met Granny Annie whilst she was alive. She lived and died in Scotland prior to my birth. I look similar to her and apparently have some of her personality traits. I have always been excited about this connection. I have been to her home (many years after her death) and understand that her life was incredibly tough. Her husband died when my Grandpa was just one year of age. He was the youngest of many children. My Grandpa never really spoke much of his family back in Scotland so I thought I would Google to see if she was involved in the church or other community groups in Keith. What I found exceeded my expectations tenfold. My Granny Annie took part in a project that has only just been released this past year. The James Madison Carpenter Collection was conducted by the Harvard scholar of the same name who travelled more than 40,000 miles to collect songs, plays, customs, dances, children’s games and traditional tales. Most of which he collected between 1928 and 1935. Granny Annie contributed around 50 different items. The songs are listed in her own handwriting, notated by her on music manuscript, and the best part… there are wax cylinder recordings of her singings the songs. WOW! My Great Granny was not only musical but passionate just like me about keeping those songs alive and handing them down. Some of the songs that she contributed were listed as being taught to her by her Mother and her Grandmother. Granny Annie was vital to the project as she, unlike anyone else in her surrounding neighbourhood, spoke both Gaelic and English fluently. The lyrics of her songs contained both Gaelic and English words. Most other contributors submitted either English or Gaelic lyrics but did not have a combination as she did. We did not previously know that she was fluent in Gaelic, but I am so glad that we do now. I feel closer to her now than ever. I am so proud to be a descendant of my Great Granny! It’s amazing what information is out there. That’s what we as Clan Cameron Australia Inc. hope to facilitate, to connect people with information with those who seek it, to create a sense of belonging and unity, to know where we have come from to understand who we are now and where we are going. I wish for each of you discoveries of similar depth and joy.
There are some wonderful events coming up over the next few months that support Scottish Culture. Bendigo Scots Day Out is on Saturday the 2nd of March at Rosalind Park in Bendigo. On Saturday the 17th of March, the Geelong Highland Games at the Goldsworthy Reserve in Corio. As a Clan we will also have a tent at the Ringwood Highland Games on Sunday the 31st of March at a new venue J.W. Manson Reserve, Wantirna. We welcome all members and friends of Clan Cameron to visit our tent. BYO chair and join us for a natter. We also encourage new members and will have membership forms available on the day. Due to popular demand, we’ll be doing tasseomancy readings at the tent again this year, in keeping with Highland traditions. This year there are even more stalls and entertainment than recent years. The heavy games will be there again this year too. I would love to see you there.
This year marks the 85th continuous year of Clan Cameron Australia Inc. based in Victoria, a boast no other clan can claim. I am always very proud and honoured to serve and represent the clan as President and I am thankful for your support and all that you do to ensure we continue as strong and as lovingly as family can be.
Elizabeth L Cameron