Clan Donald In Australia by A. Grahame MacDonald.

A. Grahame MacDonald is the High Commissioner of Clan Donald in Australia.

The Clan Donald Organization in Australia has entered its tenth year, and plans are being made to celebrate the occasion during August. In its ten years of existence, the Society has twice changed its name to cope with the extension of its influence. Commencing as a purely local organization in Mackay in 1958, the Society later became the Clan Donald Society of Queensland. Membership applications steadily came in from clansfolk in other States until the Society ultimately took on a national role and became The Clan Donald Society of Australia. The principal officers at present are: President. Mr. A.U. MacDonald: Vice-President. Mr. A. Connell: Secretary, Mrs. J. MacDonald: Treasurer, Mr. R.N. Connell. The national headquarters is situated in the Queensland sugar city of Mackay.

A Queensland Branch was formed to attend to the interests of clansfolk in that State, under the leadership of Mr. R. Diplock, President: Mr. W. McAlister, Vice-President: Mrs. J. MacDonald. Secretary: and Mrs. S. Connel, Treasurer. The former Secretary of both the national body and the Queensland Branch, Mrs. L. McAlister, had to resign due to her husband’s transfer.

Closely following the setting up of the national body and the Queensland Branch, came the branch in Sydney, New South Wales, which was inaugurated in December, 1966. This was the culmination of a great deal of work by Dr. Roderick H. Macdonald of Rigg, who had been appointed by Lord Macdonald as His Lordship’s Commissioner for Clan Donald in New South Wales. Dr. Macdonald was assisted in recruiting members in that State by Mr. Norman H. Macdonald, the present apparent representative of the Macdonalds of Monkstadt. Dr. Macdonald of Rigg is the President of the Branch, with Dr. W. Laurence Macdonald as Vice-President. The Secretary is Dr. Roderick D. Macdonald, Yr. of Rigg, and the Treasurer is Miss Ruth McDonald, a Glencoe clanswoman.

Both branches engage in a variety of activities apart from the usual business meetings. They take the form of film evenings, lecture evenings, formal dinners, social gatherings, and picnics. Guest speakers address the gatherings on a range of subjects, not necessarily confined to those of purely Clan Donald or Highland interest.

The latest development is the organization of the clan in our most Southern State -Tasmania. Since his appointment as Commissioner for Clan Donald in Tasmania, The Venerable Archdeacon Ian S. B. Macdonald has worked towards the setting up of a Tasmanian Branch. As I write, plans are in hand for the inaugural meeting as a result of regular meetings between Archdeacon Macdonald and his friends, Dr. C. Bruce MacDonald, and Mr. Laurie Murdoch, a Hobart solicitor, who was our first Tasmanian member.

On a personal basis in my capacity as representative of our High Chief, Lord Macdonald, I have been in touch with a great number of Clansfolk through the Australian nation, and have located a good many clan families who were lost to our clan historians. Among them are a good many Glencoe folk, many Skye descendants, a few Clanranalds, one or two of the Keppoch clan, some Ulster MacDonnells, and a rare Glengarry clansman.

A fortunate few of our members, mainly of the New South Wales Branch, have visited Scotland in recent months. Almost all of them called on our good friend, Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton, at his Edinburgh home. Our latest addition to this number is our honorary member, Miss Jan Roach, a former Australasian Champion Highland Dancer, who will train in Aberdeen before competing in the circuit of Highland Gatherings, culminating in the World Championship. Miss Roach will carry messages of goodwill to our Chiefs and other notable clansmen “at home.”