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Chris Cameron, Val Smith and Commissioner James Cameron

Members of Clan Cameron NSW together with Commissioner James Cameron attended the Canberra Highland Gathering on Saturday 12 October.

The weather was overcast and cool with a fresh highland breeze enhancing the Scottish atmosphere. We were appreciative of being invited to share the Clan Lindsay tent with Susan Cooke, Commissioner of Clan Lindsay, and fellow Lindsay Clan members.

One highlight was that Val Smith attended, who was Clan Cameron NSW President for eight years prior to James Cameron, from 2001 to 2009.  It was terrific to catch up with Val who is very knowledgeable on Scottish and clan matters and is very engaging to talk to.  She was also the President of the Scottish Australian Heritage Council for a number of years, and was successful in bringing quite a number chiefs to Australia for Scottish week.

Speaking of which, there two Clan chiefs in attendance – Donald MacLaren and Geoffrey Buchanan, the newly appointed chief of that clan, the first for around 300 years.

The gathering was well attended and Clan Cameron NSW was enriched with the enrolment of a new member. Welcome!

The Tartan Warriors lifting the Stones is always an exciting and challenging event.

Wonderful Highland Dancing on display.

A successful Caber Toss was on show.

The pipe bands are the key to any Scottish gathering.

The 42nd Royal Highland Regiment (ex Black Watch) were on display, and survived the day.


Only around one-third of Culloden Battlefield is held by National Trust for Scotland with plans now emerging to buy out the remaining land to protect it from development

The Scotsman, Sept 2019 reports that Culloden Battlefield could be under threat from “runaway” development after a precedent of building homes on the historic site was set, it has been claimed.

Following is a summary with further reading at

The claim comes after a luxury home was approved on land at Culchunaig, which sits just to the south of the part of the battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland and a few hundred yards from the visitor centre.

The development at Culchunaig, which includes a hot tub, zen garden, fire pit, studio, gaming and chill out zone, was passed essentially as a 19th-century farm cottage had earlier stood on the land.

Councillor Andrew Jarvie (Conservative), of Inverness South, said he was concerned future development in the Culchunaig area will be very difficult to stop due to the precedent set at last week’s planning meeting.

He said: “I could not have been any more disappointed that it was in effect, impossible to do anything to stop this development which was right on the boundary fence of the battlefield and only a few hundred metres from the visitor centre itself.”

The Culchunaig plans were originally approved in 2015, just before the Culloden Muir Conservation Area was drawn up to protect the sensitive area around the battlefield.

The application dealt with last week was a revision of the original application.

Meanwhile, Historic Environment Scotland is “redrawing” its battlefield inventory of Culloden amid the planning controversies.

HES said the inventory would include new historical and archaeological research for Culloden.

Historians and academics are due to gather at Culloden next month to study the new improved inventory.

A spokesman for HES said: “The Battlefield Inventory was launched in 2011 and was designed to highlight Scotland’s most important battlefields”.

However, it is not clear how effective a new inventory could be in influencing the planning process.

National Trust for Scotland owns just a third of the land on which the battle was fought, leaving the remainder open to private development.

Dr Christopher Duffy, of the Historians Council said a new Culloden conservation group planned to focus on the acquisition of other parts of the battlefield in order to protect them from development.

Joanne Cameron, Co-administrator Clan Cameron YDNA Project

Our Clan is a rich tapestry of people, history and traditions. From our Chief Lochiel, the cadets which are represented in our Clan crest to the various septs which are also associated with the Clan, we are a confederation of people with huge pride in who we are and where we come from. This is well reflected in the Y DNA results to date.

The aim of our project is to explore the origins of the surname Cameron. In doing so we are finding that our Clan is made up of many different paternal lines and Haplogroups who are united alongside our main paternal Cameron line. The Cameron Clan is not necessarily defined by who is and who isn’t related to the main Paternal Cameron lineage.

When surnames were adopted in Scotland, around the 12th century for the upper echelons of Scottish society and the 18th for ordinary people, not every man who pledged allegiance to a Clan Chief would have been a descendant of the same patrilineal ancestor.

There can be a misconception that anyone bearing a clan surname is automatically descended from a clan chief, but this isn’t always the case. They instead could have been related through adoption, marriage or even by proximity.

The ability of a clan to defend its territory from other clans depended greatly on attracting as many followers as possible. Being a member of a large and powerful clan became a distinct advantage in the lawless Highlands, and followers might adopt the clan name to curry favour with the Laird, to show solidarity, for basic protection, or maybe because their lands were taken by a more powerful neighbour and they had little option!

We currently have sitting in our Group A, men who descend from our paternal Cameron SNP R-A6138, 21 testers who break off into 5 different branches. Two branches are identified by family research to be MacGillonie and Clunes. By far the largest sub-clade off of R-A6138 is a branch yet to be identified. There is much potential for R-A6138 to have many different branches or as we call them sub-clades beneath it.

There are about 50 YSTR testers who would most likely turn out to be in our Group A if they upgraded to the Big Y 700 test.

The vast majority, over 100 YSTR Cameron surname testers in the Project, are not descended from R-A6138. They come from mainly the haplogroup R1b but a good number are from the I1 haplogroup with some also from haplogroup R1a, J and E.

We also have 31 Cameron men who have only tested 12 YSTR markers which is insufficient to determine where they sit in our Project. A bare minimum test of 37 YSTR’s are needed for placement in the Project.

There are two new Big Y 700 tests currently in progress and six new upgrades to the new Big Y 700 from the Big Y 500. The SNP above R-A6138, or as we call it the Grandfather of A6138, is the SNP R-A7298 which at current estimates indicate was born about the year 1042AD. A7298 is the common shared ancestor of Clans Cameron, Macnab and McPhee.

In my next article I hope to bring news of the McMartin Camerons which may make us look at their history a bit closer!

Twenty members of Clan Cameron NSW enjoyed a delightful lunch at the Boiler House Restaurant, part of The Hydro Majestic hotel.

A number of Clan members also enjoyed a tour of the Hydro Majestic which revealed an amazing History Tour The tour will took in history of the Casino lobby with its iconic domed roof, the magnificent Salon Due Thé and Cat’s Alley, the elegant Majestic Ballroom, concluding in the Hydro Majestic Pavilion which showcased vibrant displays of Hydro’s historical past along with boutique and regional food and wine from the Blue Mountains and its regions.

Dr Ian Cameron

Members were entertained both before and following the lunch by a wonderful rendition by piper Dr Ian Cameron. We were blessed with glorious weather and great company and we look forward to our next Clan Cameron function.

Clan Cameron NSW was well represented at the 2019 Aberdeen Highland Games held Saturday 6 July.

The Clan participated in the Opening Ceremony alongside other Scottish Clans together with the pipe bands.  We were delighted to share our clan heritage with the many visitors and dignitaries who visited the Clan Cameron NSW tent and display and we were also delighted to welcome five new members and their families to our association.

We all enjoyed the games immensely, the highlights of which were the pipe bands and the kilted warriors. The novelty events  were also a great hit with the children.

The pipe bands are what make a Scottish event so special.

Each band performed multiple routines on the day competing for The McMullin Shield for the most outstanding band, the Scottish Australian Heritage Council Trophy, the Celtic Warriors Ceremonial Sword, and the Aberdeen Highland Games President’s Perpetual Trophy.

Under the direction of the Drum Major of the Day, the bands came together as one at the opening and closing ceremonies, creating a mass band of hundreds of pipers and drummers in what was a truly impressive spectacle.

The Kilted Warriors was a great part of the Aberdeen Highland Games, with athletes competing in a traditional Celtic strongman competition. Four athletes competed in three traditional events; Stones, Sheaf and Caber Toss.

Stones is a traditional test of pure strength. The athletes competed against the clock to determine who can lift five stones of increasing weights off the ground and onto barrels. With the stones weighing between 100 and 165kg this was not an event for the average person, but it was great to watch.

Sheaf Toss This traditional Scottish agricultural sport involves using a pitchfork to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar above the competitor’s head. The bag typical weights about 7kg.

Caber Toss This traditional Scottish athletic event is said to have developed from the need to toss logs across narrow chasms to cross them. A perfect throw ends with the ‘top’ end nearest to the thrower and the ‘bottom’ end pointing exactly away. This is an impressive feat when the caber is typically 5.94m long and weighs 79kg, with one athlete achieving a good effort at tossing the caber, albeit not in a direct line.

The Tug O War was hotly contested over a number of events with numerous teams testing their strength on the day.

We are looking forward to next year’s highland games, with the Clan Cameron NSW tent next appearing at the Bundanoon Highland Gathering, Saturday 4 April 2020.

Genetic Genealogy is one of the newest, fastest changing and most widely publicized innovations in family history research. We inherit DNA from both of our parents so we each have as a result a unique DNA fingerprint which we can use in combination with traditional genealogical and historical records to document a family tree.

The Clan Cameron DNA Project has been working for some years, becoming more active over the past year with increasing technology and, more importantly, increasing numbers of Cameron participants. The administrators for the project are in North America and New Zealand and generously give their time voluntarily.

The project uses an American company, Family Tree DNA, which offers three tests to consider:


This records your direct paternal lineage and follows your father’s paternal ancestry. This line consists entirely of men and is the test used to follow our surname Cameron back to its origins in Scotland and to confirm that presumed known Cameron cousins do in fact stem from the same line. Y DNA is the main focus of the Clan Cameron DNA Project.

Many of those bearing the Cameron surname come in some way from the original Lochiel line, the MacGillonies, MacMartins or MacSorlies. Others will have taken the name for various reasons, and at various times in history. Most families in Australia have a tradition of descent from the Lochiel line through one of the cadet branches and this may by proven correct. Some will be reluctant to find these families stories proven wrong – and of course at any level other irregularities may become apparent. If this might be a worry to yourself, or to your close relatives, it may be better not to join the testing project.

We recommend starting with an initial Y37 STR test, to clarify which group you belong to, once those results are in the project admins will provide you with a review and explanation of your results, and options for further testing. For all testers who fall within the Lochiel group, BigY testing will be strongly recommended.

For more details and prices see the FTDNA website – and watch out for the frequent price reductions in sales, usually in April, August and December.

Autosomal DNA

FamilyFinder focuses on autosomal DNA, which is inherited from both your mother and your father, your four grandparents, etc. This test is designed to find living relatives in all of your ancestral lines within the last five generations and can also give you a breakdown of your ethnic makeup by percentage.

This is the cheapest and currently most widely advertised test. It can certainly be interesting, but often frustrating trying to work out which potential cousins to follow up. It can also be extremely useful when uncertainly related (on paper) fourth cousins turn out to be true relatives on DNA testing, confirming years of work. The American administrators have done a lot of complex work with these results and we can expect more information in the future.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)

Traces the direct maternal line (mother’s mother’s mother, etc). While this can often be of personal interest, it is of little practical help in the search for Cameron ancestry

The following was the speech I delivered at our Hogmanay/85 years celebration. I thought that some of you may find the history interesting. – Elizabeth L Cameron

“I was hoping that you may all indulge me in a quick history lesson.
The start of 2019 marks 85 years of the officially recognised Clan Cameron Association in Australia, although the Clan itself has been going for much longer.

As an association, Clan Cameron in Victoria has been running continuously for longer than any clan that we know of in Australia.

On 29th January, 1891 – A meeting was held in the Queen’s Rooms in Glasgow to unite Clan Cameron worldwide. Camerons from Australia were a driving force behind this meeting. At this time, those same Clan Cameron members were already holding meetings in Australia to support the clan chief in Scotland, but at this meeting in Glasgow were formally recognised by Lochiel, the Cameron chief, as the Clan Cameron Association. It was Clan Cameron Australia who sent out the “Fiery Cross” message worldwide, for Camerons and those who were septs of Camerons to join to support the chief, to restore and maintain the ancestral lands in Lochaber and to continue to maintain the customs and ways of the highlands.

Early in the year, 1934 – The Sunday Times published a story to give clans well-needed publicity, it was entitled “Reviving the Clans”. This resulted in much interest worldwide, particularly America and South America. Four days prior to this article being published, the Clan had officially registered in Melbourne as the Clan Cameron Association and now had an official committee.

1936 – Name officially changed from the Clan Cameron Association to Clan Cameron Australia Inc. and has always been based here in Melbourne with affiliates in other states.

The first international gathering held by Clan Cameron Australia was on S.S. Orama when it pulled into port in Melbourne in 1936.

Clan members were encouraged to sign-on at the cost of 5 shillings a year as membership and were to pay 5 pounds a year to a Clan Cameron Trust Fund managed by Lochiel, the Chief, for the purpose of preserving and maintaining clan lands and properties, until such time that the clan in Scotland could hold their own.

I’m just going to read a short excerpt that was read out at the gathering on the SS Orama in 1936: “This gathering is a momentous one – fraught with the greatest possibilities for promoting peace on earth, good will towards men. Since the fatal battle of Culloden on 16th of April, 1746, the Clan has been scattered to the four winds, but now our Chief, Cameron of Lochiel, send out the fiery cross to unite. You have answered the call. You are Clan Cameron, Australia. We have here greetings from Clan Cameron, New Zealand, and soon we shall have Clan Cameron, America, Africa and Canada. On behalf of our Chief we now send out the fiery cross to every Clansman in the world, to unite. Remembering our motto “Pro Rege et Patria” – “For King and Country” we make it clear that our unity calls for loyalty to our King and Empire. We unite to serve.”

Our Clan Cameron motto is “Aonaibh Ri Cheile” (Uhnav Ree (K)Hail-a) “United we Stand”. I call upon each and every person here present, to stand, to charge your glass and to “unite” with me in a toast to Clan Cameron Australia.

To our unity and friendship with Clan McLennan; to all that has been, all that is, and all that will be: Aonaibh Ri Cheile (Uhnav Ree (K)Hail-a), United we Stand!”