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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:

Y-DNA.

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!”