Report by Alan McRae, FAIHA, President, Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand
With the gates opening at 6am there was certainly plenty of movement by 7am when we arrived. The numerous Clans, stallholders and bands were already beginning to set up their individual marquees and put out their signage, information, displays and wares for the sixth annual Canberra Highland Gathering & Scottish Fair. It was Saturday 8th October and a glorious day once again. With the rainfall over the previous weeks the venue was in a lush condition and just freshly mown. The day had arrived for the long awaited traditional Scottish Highland Gathering being held on Kambah Oval in Kett Street in Kambah in the ACT.
[Photo above, right] Members of the Clan MacRae Society outside our marquee holding the Eilean Donan Castle Saltire. L to R – Allan Smith, Roslyn and Colin MacRae, Peter Sillis, Mary Magdalene Sillis, Debra Sillis and Jenny Amey.
Our local Canberra stalwart Peter Sillis (McRae) soon arrived with the marquee and we set about getting things in order. With Jenny Amey, Peter Sillis, Colin and Roslyn MacRae and myself we were soon set-up with the various flags flying and the Clan MacRae signage in place. Then came the various images of Eilean Donan Castle around the walls along with other MacRae information so we were soon ready for the onslaught of various MacRaes/McRaes and other visitors. The display of MacRae family and Scottish artefacts were also set up for the interest of the Mac Raes and various other visitors to see.
[Photo above, left] Allan Smith, Vice President of Clan MacRae Society with the Clan MacRae banner ready for the Opening Ceremony
Along with all the pipes and drums the Clan representatives marched up in front of the official guests. As part of the ceremony each Clan representative verbally acknowledges that they are in attendance at the Gathering before the several speeches begin.
Again the Chieftain of the Day was Mr Mick Gentleman MLA, Member for Brindabella and Minister in the ACT Government, and is currently Minister for Planning; Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations; Children and Young People; and Ageing. He does an excellent job and visits all the various Clan marquees. He extended his congratulations to the organisers on the ever enlarging event and all that had taken place since the event was re-established in 2011. He was impressed with the number of things happening on the grounds.