Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival 2016 Report

By Elma McRae

The Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival is held annually in Wingham with 2016 being the organisers 12th Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival. The Clan MacRae was the Clan of Honour for 2016 with the main festival being held on 27th, 28th and 29th May.

wingham-2016-1.jpgThe whole event really began with a concert on Sunday 22nd May. This event was attended by Max and Janice Brown who travelled from Armidale to attend the concert.

[Photo 1, right] Alan McRae, President, Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand.

President Alan McRae was to be the Festival Chieftain for the Festival, but sadly fate dictated otherwise. Recovering from surgery for a melanoma which required 100 stiches, Alan was hopeful of being well enough to attend. He then had the misfortune to slip on the mud of a newly sewn lawn and broke his leg. He called on long-time member Andrew Macrae of Cooranbong, N.S.W., a regular at Gatherings, who proudly accepted the role and was accompanied by his wife Rhonda. Their son-in-law, Grant Turuwhenua, attired in the uniform of a private in the 42nd Highland Regiment, was the escort to the Chieftain of the Day.


[Photo 2, left] Rhonda and Andrew Macrae

Throughout the week a wide range of activities took place, all attracting considerable interest. As Rhonda commented it was a bonnie week and the entire town became involved. Businesses competed for the Best Window Display, while Social Bowls and a Shortbread Baking Competition catered to the competitive.

The Genealogy Fair and Braveheart Poets’ breakfast was also popular.

2016 Canberra Highland Gathering & Scottish Fair Report

Report by Alan McRae, FAIHA, President, Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand

canberra-2016-1.jpgWith 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.  

canberra-2016-2.jpgOur 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.


Content by: Allan Smith

Allan Smith, Vice President of the Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand attended the 39th Anniversary Highland Gathering on Saturday 9th April, 2016, at Bundanoon which became Brigadoon for a day with an appealing array of Scottish activities, music and foods. This is Allan’s report.

The various Clans, bands, stallholders, dancers, musicians and officials had been busy from the early hours setting up their individual marquees and making final preparations. Many of the Clans were represented at the annual gathering again this year.

The Chieftain of the Day was Carol Budlong, President of Scottish House. Scottish House is an information and cultural centre based in Granville in New South Wales. Carol has had a long involvement with Clan Arthur in Australia and this year will fill the role of the High Commissioner of the MacArthur Society in Australia.

The street parade commenced at 9.30 am and departed from the village and along the street to the showground. The parade was led by a blue vintage Tourer, followed by the band of the day Goulburn Soldiers Club Pipes and Drums wearing MacLean of Durat tartan.

Other bands participating in the march and band activities for the day were an impressive number of bands which included – the Kiama Pipe Band (Red Ulster Tartan), St. George Sutherland Scottish Pipe Band (McGregor Tartan), Illawarra Pipe Band (Wallace Tartan), The Hills District Pipe Band (McDonald of Clan Ranald Tartan), Scouts Pipes and Drums (Hume - Anderson Ancient Tartan), Canberra City Pipes and Drums (Ancient Caledonian Tartan), Rural Fire Service Brigade (Navy Blue Rural Fire Service Uniform), Manly Warringah Pipe Band (Military Gordon Tartan), Knox Old Boys Pipe Band (MacPherson Tartan), Canberra Celtic Pipe Band (Irish National Tartan), Shoalhaven City Pipes & Drums (Forbes Tartan), Castle Hill RSL Pipe Band (Cameron of Erracht Tartan), The Highlands Pipes & Drums (MacDuff Tartan), Burwood RSL Sub Branch Pipes & Drums (Black Stewart Tartan), The Parramatta RSL Caledonian Pipe Band (Campbell of Louden Tartan), Hornsby RSL Pipe Band (MacLaine of Lochbuie Tartan), New South Wales Police Pipe Band (Ancient MacKay Tartan), City of Queanbeyan Pipes & Drums (Duke of Rothesay Hunting Tartan), Ingleburn RSL Pipes & Drums (Campbell of Cawdor Tartan) and the Goulburn Soldiers Club Pipes & Drums (Maclean of Duart Tartan). Playing at the gathering for quite a number of the bands meant a long bus trip to Bundanoon and back home to participate.   

Clan MacRae at 2015 Canberra Highland Gathering

Report by Alan McRae, FAIHA, President, Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand

Alan McRae, President of Clan MacRae Society outside the marquee
[click image to enlarge]

There was plenty of activity at 7am as the various Clans, stallholders and bands began set up their individual marquees for the fifth annual Canberra Highland Gathering & Scottish Fair. It was Saturday 10th October, 2015 and the day had arrived for the traditional Scottish Highland Gathering being held on Kambah Oval in Kett Street in Kambah.

Canberra put on the most glorious weather though later in the day some rain could be seen falling on surrounding hills though none eventuated on Kambah Oval.

Allan Smith, Vice President of Clan MacRae Society with the MacRae banner
[click image to enlarge]

As usual Peter Sillis (McRae) arrived to bring our marquee and we were soon set-up with flags flying and the new signage in place. Thanks again Peter. In line with past years a display of MacRae family and Scottish artefacts, some going back some 600 years, was set up for visitors to see.

2014 Canberra Highland Gathering and Scottish Fair a great success

The weather was fine and just perfect for the large number of attendees at the well organised 2014 Canberra Highland Gathering and Scottish Fair at Kambah in the ACT on Saturday 11th October with the Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand having their Clan tent.. With just a light breeze to keep all our Scottish and other flags swirling and so many dressed in the various tartans, the day began with the massed pipes and drums along with a representative of all the Scottish Clans in attendance marching up to the official dais to be received by Mr Mick Gentleman MLA, Member for Brindabella and Minister in the ACT Government, standing in for the Chief Minister.

With matching tie and hatband, Mr Gentleman was presented with a haggis as part of the opening ceremony. There were a number of presentations also.

Photo (right, click to enlarge) – President of Clan MacRae, Alan McRae from Bathurst, with the Clan MacRae banner ready for the Official Opening parade. .

Each Clan representative carries their Clan banner and starts at the rear of the massed bands and ends up in the front for the opening ceremony. There were even the well-behaved compact, short-legged, sturdily-built Scottie dogs in this parade with either their black or light coloured wiry, weather-resistant coats. These Scottish terriers originated in Scotland and added to the general ‘Scottish’ atmosphere of the day.

Both brass and pipe bands took part in the day, the brass band’s brightly coloured, red and black uniforms contrasting with the tartans of the pipe bands.

Photo (left, click to enlarge) - Part of the massed bands during the Official Opening and presentations.

Clan MACRAE attends Scottish Highland Gathering in Canberra 2013

For the third year in a row the Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand attended the traditional Scottish Highland Gathering held on Kambah Oval in Kett Street, Kambah in Canberra, in for the first time, the most beautiful weather. This year’s event was part of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations.

This year’s Scottish Highland Gathering was again hosted by the Canberra College of Piping & Drumming.Clan ACRAE marquee Canberra 12 October 2013

Photo (left, click to enlarge)

- Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand marquee.

Clan President Alan McRae and Clan members erected the marquee on Saturday 12th October, 2013. We set up our MacRae banners, flags and a display of MacRae family and Scottish artefacts going back some 600 years.

The whole circumference of Kambah Oval was surrounded by numerous stalls selling food, Scottish and Celtic items, re-enactments groups as well as the colourful marquees of the numerous Clans. What a picture they painted their flags and banners blowing in the slight refreshing breeze.

Photo – Massed bands for the Opening Ceremony

Festivities began at 10am and went through until around 5pm under the bluest skies around for this mass celebration of Scottish and Celtic heritage. At 10.30am the various clans assembled to take part in the official opening by His Excellency Mr Michael Bryce, Chieftain of the Day, in front of a large crowd which included many children.

Photo (click to enlarge) - Federation Guard Precision Drill Team

I had the honour of being the Clan MacRae’s representative as we marched between the ranks of the massed pipes and drums as the bands criss-crossed the oval to await the opening formalities and address. Part of the opening ceremony was a superb precision drill team demonstration by the Federation Guard made up of Australian Army, R.A.A.F. and Navy personnel.

Gordon Charles McRae 20 Dec 1935 - 31 January 2013

Gordon Charles McRae was born on the 20th of December 1935 to David and Alice Elizabeth McRae in the Quairading hospital. December in Quairading (Western Australia) is always hot and December 20th would have been no exception, but Dave and Allie, who they became fondly known as, wouldn’t have noticed, because for them, Christmas this year had come early.

Gordon was their 5th child – John was the eldest, followed by Mary, Cynthia (dec), Brian, then Gordon and Pattie. At the time, the family were living at North Yoting and before long, schooling commenced at the North Yoting Primary School. He has many memories of traveling to and from school with his siblings on a horse and sulky as well as by bike. He recalled few memories of schooling – maybe it just didn’t matter because the farm was his classroom. One morning he left his brother Brian to catch the bus on his own, deciding to wag school for the day. He thought he would wait the day out at the bus stop, so he sat in the shade of a strainer post. Unbeknownst to him, his mother saw him and wondered how long he would last. When the sun reached its midday zenith, the strainer post was unforgiving and the shade had gone….and so was he…back home to mum with his tail firmly between his legs. Later on, he moved to the Quairading School where he made many friends. There he developed his lifelong love of sport, which stayed with him for the rest of his life. Those were the days of steel sprigs on football boots, bitumen wickets and sand greens….and at that time of his life he never knew any different as he was having the time of his life.

Ceud Mile Failte

Ceud Mile Failte ( A Hundred Thousand Welcomes)Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Alan McRae
"Blue Wren Cottage"
PO Box 151
Bathurst NSW 2975

Tel. 61 02 63315404

Eilean Donan Caste, from the air
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland



Ray MacRae Memorial

Four generations of MacRaes
Standing – Christine MacRae, Emma Wright nee MacRae, Joshua MacRae, Paul MacRae, Mary (MacRae), Ray Hynes. Front – Ewen MacRae and Keith MacRae.

[Click photo to enlarge]

BY: Alan McRae

Raymond Edmund MacRae 1942 - 2012

Raymond Edmund MacRae, ‘Ray’ to his family and friends, passed away at 10am on Thursday 20th December, 2012, in Orange District Hospital after a two year fight with cancer. His funeral was held on 24th December, Christmas Eve in the Catholic Church in Orange. A large number of family, friends and past workmates gathered to farewell a man who had a zest for life and dearly wanted to beat his affliction. It was not to be and Ray realised this, amazing many with his acceptance to move from this world to the next.

Whether you were a MacRae or McRae or any other way it may be spelt you were family. I first met Ray when he was doing some family history.

Ray’s nephew Mark Saddler read the eulogy at the service and much of the following information is from Mark’s eulogy.

Who was Raymond Edward MacRae and where did he come from?

Scots College Bathurst - Highland Gathering 2012

Report by: Ray MacRae


A brisk sunny morning greeted us as we arrived on a wet oval with views almost like Scotland.

We erected our tent and began to arrange our coffee, tea and Scottish yummies. Some of our visitors look for some refreshments during the day.

As the sun climbed the warmth returned and a more perfect day could not be imagined.

14 bands from thought out the country arrived and began forming and tuning instruments. The pipes and the drums brought a reality to the day and the crowds knew they were in for a Scottish feast of movement, colour and music.

The Scottish dancers were a treat to see, the results of many months of practice. The movement, the colour and their steps near brought a little moisture to the eyes. I am sure the tradition will live long at this place.