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  • Ann Brown

A Bendigo Reflection

Our wonderful Clan corespondent Ann Brown has shared her thoughts about the Bendigo Scots Day Out 2018. She reflects on our 40th anniversary in Bendigo in 2016 and the visit by Clan Commander, Iain, from Scotland as well as a famous Bendigonian on the 1860s.


My heart sank when I realised that I had missed the 2018 Bendigo Scots Day Out due to a date mix-up. However, on the Sunday directly after this event, I had an irrational urgency compelling me to visit Rosalind Park in Bendigo! Fortunately, my husband, Ralph was happy to drive us there.

On arrival we discovered that the colourful banners proudly advertising the event at the entrance to Rosalind Park were still in place.

It was a stunning autumn day and the park was an ocean of serenity awash with bumble-bee-golden sunshine. The azure-blue sky was cloudless and the chartreuse and parakeet-green mown grass was interlaced with curvaceous winding paths that led into avenues of towering trees including pines, elms and oaks, river red-gums a kauri, teak and palms. Wearing my clan MacGillivray modern red tartan sash over a white skirt and blouse I took advantage of the sanctity and ambience of Rosalind Park to reflect on the contribution made by Scots to Bendigo and Australia.

My eye was caught by newly erected signs underneath the trees announcing that grey-headed flying foxes were taking refuge in the park possibly due to water shortages elsewhere and might be seen hanging from overhead limbs. This nature link immediately triggered a memory of 2016 when the Clan MacGillivray Society Australia’s 40th Anniversary Gathering was held in the MacGillivray Hall in McCrea Street Bendigo and was attended by the new Clan MacGillivray Commander, Iain Duncan MacGillivray who had come all the way from Scotland to be present at the anniversary and to meet clan members.

The MacGillivray Hall was named after Dr Paul Howard MacGillivray (1834-1895) who was born in Edinburgh. In 1855 he migrated to Melbourne and in 1862-73 was resident surgeon of the hospital in Bendigo. Over his lifetime he had been a general practitioner, a naturalist, a natural history collector and a surgeon. He published work about sea mosses. He had certainly made a notable contribution as a Scot to Bendigo and Biological Science.

On leaving the park, and reviewing the banners. it was striking to see the Bendigo tartan as a background to the information on the flags. This tartan was purposely created by Chris Earl in 2015 explicitly for Bendigo Scots Day Out. He explained the symbolism of the colours;

Illinois navy- State of Victoria colour; the sky and water

Bottle green - Forests and bushland surrounding Bendigo

Muted Yellow - Golden riches of the past and confidence in the future

Railway Red – the land

Muted White – Victoria’s colour, the mullock heaps

Scarlet – the land

Now, the Bendigo tartan has additional meaning for me because the Illinois navy and the bottle green also represent two notable Scots. I connect the Illinois navy depicting the sky and water with our new clan chief Iain Duncan MacGillivray for his dedication, diligence and care having especially travelled the distance to Australia and the bottle green represents more than the forests and bushland surrounding Bendigo but also the distinctive contribution to our understanding of nature made by Dr Paul Howard MacGillivray.

Ann Brown

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