A collection of historical and genalogical records
I'd like to share with you a story and a cause I've now taken up to right a wrong.
Late last month my delightful partner and I toured the New England Region of New South Wales. For me, it was like a pilgrimage back to my homeland. My Great Grandfather settled into the New England Region as a free settler back in the 1840's (near Tamworth). And since then my family has featured prominently thoughout the New England Region and beyond.
During our tour we came to 'Glen Innes' a larg(ish) town in the New England which has come to be known as 'Celtic Country'. Glen Innes is the site of the 'Australian Standing Stones' monument, details of the site can be found here.
In short the Australian Standing Stones Monument was constructed as an Australian Bi-Centennial project in memory of the thousands of persons of Celtic Heritage who pioneered and settled in Australia. It was opened in 1992 and is now the site of many a great gathering.
Sunset at the Australian Standing Stones Monument.
Nearby is a wall made from cinderblocks and within most of the blocks is a stone or rock that originates from traditional Clan lands or Castles. Complimenting the stone embedded within the block is a metal plaque detailing the Clan name, badge and origin of the stone.
The Stone Wall near the Australian Standing Stones.
Clearly this is designed to represent the many names of Celtic/Gaelic origin that played a role in the pioneering and settlement of the Australian continent. The inclusion of stones from faraway homelands and Castles is no less significant. Its positioning, on a rise overlooking the Standing Stones provides a wonderful vantage point over the area as well as providing a suitable area for rest and reflection.
Closer inspection of plaques detailing Clan names and location of the stones embedded within the blocks sourced from Clan homelands.
To my suprise, and dissapointment, our Clan, the Douglas Clan is not represented either on this wall or anywhere within the Australian Standing Stones Monument.
I think, and I'm sure many would agree, that this is a great injustice upon our namesakes. Douglas is a name carried to the Australian shores in chains and as free settlers. Many them toiled the land, served their new countries with pride and indeed became high office holders at local, state and national levels. It goes without saying that the Douglas Clan should be represented upon this wall celebrating our heritage, our place in Australian society and place in Celtic/Gaelic culture.
So I've come to an idea and with the help of others I would like to source a stone from Douglas lands in Scotland perhaps a stone from 'Douglas Water' in South Lanarkshire or a stone from what remains of 'Castle Douglas'.
Thank you for reading this and if you think you can help in any way I would be delighted to hear from you.
The Australian Celtic Festival is a major event on the national calendar, traditionally begins at the Standing Stones with the skirl of pipes from a lone piper at dawn. Highlights include a street parade featuring national groups and clans, sheep dog trials, pipe bands, Celtic dancers, concerts and the Kirking of the Tartan.
The Douglas stone will be unveiled on the All Clans Wall at 12:30pm on Saturday the 5th of May.
A lone piper will be provided and there will be speeches from Jan Shaw, President of the Clan Douglas Association of Australia
May 8th, 2012. Dear reader, I am very proud to present to you my final and very happy report to the Douglas Archives.
At12:30pm, May 5th, 2012; one year and two months after commencing this project a stone from the ruins of Castle Douglas was dedicated at the 'All Clans Wall', Australian Standing Stones Monument.
In attendance was a modest gathering of people from the Clan Douglas Association of Australia, including the President of the Association; Mrs Jan Shaw whom had the honour of unveiling the stone after a short speech recognising the efforts of many who made this day possible.
Mrs Jan Shaw; President of the Clan Douglas Association of Australia at the unveiling.
The stone; kindly donated by the Castle Douglas custodians and kindly obtained and sent to Australia by William Douglas will now forever be memorialised at the All Clans Wall in memoriam of all persons of Clan Douglas who played their part in the development of Australia.
I, personally would like to thank William for his efforts, the custodians of Castle Douglas for the kind generosity and of course Mrs Jan Shaw for her efforts in making this truly special day for the Clan Douglas become a reality. Truly this is an exceptional day in our history.