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I hope that all of our members have had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year break, understanding that for some, local climatic conditions have been challenging. As the ‘Year-After’ our large gathering last year, it is time to move to the next stages and growth of our clan. This particularly includes building on the work from last year and also planning to attend next year’s gathering in Scotland between 30th July and 2nd August 2020, to be held at Achnacarry Castle, home of Lochiel, our Chief.

We are continuing to build on the momentum and interest generated by the Forum at last years’ gathering. Lynne Cameron has collated an initial draft of Cameron family stories which include contributions from descendants of a number of early Cameron settlers to Australia in the 19th Century as well as stories from more recent 20th Century immigrants who have provided their stories in their own words. Some histories go back 300 years. Those stories which we have received to date provide wonderful reading and insight into the backgrounds and experiences of those who moved across the world. I hope that, with the approval of the authors, we can publish some of these stories in future editions of our newsletter and also encourage others to contribute their own stories. We have a plan to collate all of those received into a bound copy to be presented to the Cameron Museum at the time of the 2020 gathering in Scotland to provide an ongoing reference document.

To capitalise on interest in and awareness of Clan Cameron across Australia through the development of local clusters we would like to receive expressions of interest from members who would like to spearhead interest in a local region. Initially we see the opportunity to build local groups for occasional informal activities and to develop and maintain links between Camerons residing in all states. Please let Commissioner James L Cameron or myself know if you are able to act as a local contact for a regional initiative in your area.

The committee is very keen to broaden and improve our web presence, but we desperately need at least one technically savvy person who could assist in updating and upgrading our website. Again, please let James L Cameron or myself know if you would be willing and able to assist in maintaining our website.

Information on forthcoming gatherings will be provided in more detail but for the moment here are some 2019 dates for your diaries where Clan Cameron will participate.

  • 6th April 2019 Bundanoon Highland Gathering – Clan Cameron will be represented at the gathering with our tent and will participate in the street march.
  • 2nd to 5th May 2019 Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes
  • 25th April 2019 Anzac Day – Scottish Act of Remembrance and wreath laying, Martin Place, Sydney
  • 6th July 2019 Aberdeen Highland Games
  • 18th August 2019 Clan Cameron NSW Inc. function – details and venue to be advised

I hope you will consider coming to at one or more of the above events. They provide opportunities to commemorate and celebrate our shared Scottish history, to meet with Clan Cameron members, and to enjoy great Scottish cultural traditions.

Best Wishes
Alistair Cameron

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!”

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.
Slàinte mhath!
Elizabeth L Cameron

Dear Cameron clansfolk,

I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year, and that 2019 is treating you well so far. It’s hard to believe how quickly the year is slipping by, and soon enough we will be welcoming in 2020! For me, the quiet period over Christmas- New Year was a wonderful time to progress my PhD, which has taken a back-seat to the two executive director positions I’ve been doing for construction industry associations over the past three years.

Not all Australians have had an easy ride lately, with some coping with flood, fire, and drought. John Cameron in Brisbane suggested including Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, My Country, in the newsletter in tribute to these events and people, and so I have done so. It makes stirring reading for any Australian.

Speaking of 2020, next year there will be the next International Clan Cameron Gathering at Achnacarry from Thursday 30 July to Sunday 2 August. Lochiel has asked for numbers attending from each country, and so if you think you might attend, please do let me know.

Last December, NZ grazier Bruce Alex Cameron suggested that I have a DNA test undertaken by, the company that is compiling Cameron DNA samples and show linkages between different Cameron lines around the world. [See article on this later in the newsletter.] They occasionally have 40% off sales and this was one such occasion. I look forward to seeing what the results show. Apparently, all who originate outside of Africa descend from a small group or groups that left Africa 70,000 years ago, which is a millisecond in the history of life on earth, and so we are all very closely related.

It seems to be the season of historical Scottish movies, and Mary Queen of Scots has recently been in cinemas, starring Australia’s Margot Robbie as Elizabeth and Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan as Mary. It was a good dramatisation of the events at that time, but quite hard hitting at times. I enjoyed hearing some Gaelic in the film.

Best wishes, James Lachlan Cameron