Clan Donald Worldwide

London and the South of England.

The London and South of England Society was formed in 1980 with a Committee of four. Unfortunately it did not take off until Clanranald intervened and a new Committee was formed with Clanranald as President, Bruce MacEachern as Vice-President, C. Ronald Kelly as Hon. Secretary and W. Douglas Park and Finbar MacDonnell as Committee Members. The membership grew although not as one would have expected in view of the numerous Scots of Clan Donald descent living in the South of England.

Two functions are held each year: April – a ceilidh with a Haggis Supper, Gaelic singing, piping and dancing in the White Horse Inn. October – the Annual Dinner and Dance in The Rembrandt Hotel. Thurloe Place, London. Past functions have been very well attended and the entertainment has been of a high order.

Should any clansman or clanswoman wish to join the Society or attend either or both of these functions please contact: The Captain of Clanranald or the Hon. Secretary, C. Ronald Kelly, The Rhennie, The Dhoon, Maughold, Isle of Man.

Clan Donald USA Inc. by Robert C. Galbraith FSA Scot, High Commissioner.

Clan Donald USA is today a healthy and vibrant organization that is a recognized leader in the Scottish-American community. Our organizational structure has been utilized by other clans as a prototype that uses a system of local Conveners as well as: State and Regional Commissioners. Though we are large, with approximately 2,800 memberships nationwide, we are currently striving to increase our membership even further.

We see ourselves as an extension of the ancient clan system where all members of the name and/or blood of Clan Donald are held as equals. All Commissioners and other officers hold their respective positions by appointment, with the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner appointed by the High Chief, usually for a minimum term of three years.

As I see it, our major purposes are to provide all members with a variety of opportunities to learn of their heritage and to promote the traditions of the Highland Gael in general and Clan Donald in particular.

Not only do we provide opportunities for fellowship at the large number of Highland Games and other Clan functions across the country, but we have sponsored a variety of special projects to enhance the arts, genealogy, and knowledge of our history and culture. Our national magazine, By Sea By Land, is an award winning publication that aids us in meeting these purposes.

The highlight of our activities occurs each year when we gather for our annual general meeting. Each of our fourteen regions takes the opportunity to host the event. Commissioners and members at large gather to socialize, conduct the business of the organization and to learn more, through workshops, about different aspects of the culture of our ancestors.  We have provided scholarships for promising students in piping, highland dancing and the clarsach. We have recently placed our large genealogical collection as well as a large number of books in the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library in Moultrie, Georgia. Through the Clan Donald Educational and Charitable Trust we have helped to send graduate students to study in a variety of fields at Scottish universities.

In essence we are alive, well and preserving our heritage. On behalf of all members of Clan Donald USA I wish to extend congratulations and best wishes to our clansmen of the Clan Donald Society, of Edinburgh on this, your centenary celebration. For one hundred years your society has helped to preserve our great heritage. Thank you for all you have done and for what you continue to do in this effort.

Canada – Toronto Branch by Mrs Betty Bryant, Hon. Secretary.

The Toronto Branch, which issues three newsletters a year, holds Spring and Fall ceilidhs and an Annual Gathering (Dinner and Dance) every year. In addition, the Branch sponsors the Outstanding All-Round Students Awards to the best boy and girl at the Commencement Exercises of Sir John A Macdonald Collegiate Institute.

Each year some of the members attend the Memorial Ceremony to Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister at Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston. It is hoped to have a large turnout on June 6th 1991 for the anniversary of his death.

The Clan Donald Society of Canada is sponsoring a Piobaireachd Composition Competition in 1991. The winning tune will be named “Salute to Sir John A. Macdonald – Canada’s First Prime Minister.”

Nova Scotia by Douglas Stallard. Hon. Secretary

It was with a sense of pride and humility that members of Clan Donald and visitors from far and wide gathered in Pictou, Nova Scotia on August 18 for the official unveiling and dedication of the strikingly beautiful memorial to the pioneering peoples of the Clan. Under sunny skies, and with a welcome breeze whipping the Standards to full display. Chairman Dr. .LL MacDonald invited the Reverend Glenn MacDonald of nearby Thorburn to open the ceremonies with a prayer of thanksgiving.

The honored guest for the occasion, Ellice McDonald Jr, CBE Hon, FSA Scot, Honorary High Commissioner for Clan Donald USA, of Greenville, Delaware, internationally recognized for his efforts on behalf of the Clan, chose to first unveil the Memorial before addressing those assembled. Commissioner McDonald noted that the concept of maintaining links with one’s ancestors as a vital part of life was advocated many centuries ago. He paid tribute to the courage, tenacity and undaunted spirit of the pioneers in the face of hardships which defy our true understanding. Himself a descendant of the MacIans of Glencoe through pioneer people; his was a message from the heart, and one to which his audience could readily relate.

Sister Margaret MacDonell added a historical view of the Clan and spoke with great feeling on the significance of remembering one’s loyalties and responsibilities as members of Clan Donald, and of the wider world family, of the sanctity and dignity of human life. She closed her remarks in Gaelic. Sister Margaret contributed the Gaelic text borne on the Memorial.

In recognition of this historical occasion. the guest of honor was presented with a painting of the Clan Donald Memorial which captures every detail, including the texts, beautifully done by Allan MacDonald, a fellow Glencoe. Mrs Rosa McDonald, who accompanied her husband on their first visit to Nova Scotia, was presented with a bouquet of roses. Honorable Jack MacIsaac, MLA, a Clanranald acting on behalf of the Province, inducted Rosa and Ellice into North America’s oldest social club, “The Order of The Good Time”, instituted at the Port Royal settlement in 1604.

Honorable Donnic Macinnis MLA was recognized for his invaluable assistance to the Memorial Committee in the search for the most appropriate location for the monument. Messages of congratulations and best wishes came from Macdonald, Clanranald and Glengarry. Mayor Dan Currie of Pictou, a Clanranald, expressed the pleasure of the Town with the location of the Memorial.

The treasurer for the Memorial Committee expressed the thanks of the Clan Donald Society of Nova Scotia to the many individuals and business people whose contributions of money and materials enabled the Memorial to he erected solely within the private domain. He acknowledged the valuable assistance given by various Clan Donald societies in the United States. and the contributions which resulted.

The formal program concluded with a Lament.”Fuadach nan Gaidheal“, The Dispersion of The Highlanders, sung first in Gaelic by Reverend Glenn MacDonald, then on the pipes by Past-Commissioner Charles Macisaac of Judique. A prayer of dedication by Reverend Glenn closed the ceremony.

The social time which followed offered a welcome opportunity to meet and greet Ellice and Rosa. and their warm friendliness and obvious interest were attributes still held dear in this Province. In the expression still heard among the Scots in the “Highland Heart of Nova Scotia”. “They are nice people … just like ourselves.” Indeed, they are a delightful couple, and Clan Donald Nova Scotia was honored that they could be with us on this truly memorable day.

Text of address given by Ellice McDonald Jr, CBE Hon FSA Scot, Honorary High Commissioner Clan Donald USA on occasion of unveiling of Clan Donald Memorial. Pictou, Nova Scotia, 18 August 1990.

Dr. JJ. MacDonald, Commissioner Brundage MacDonald, Mr Stallard, Ladies and Gentlemen. Clansmen:

Whilst dedicating this splendid Memorial let us pay heed to the words of a great Roman statesman. More than 2000 years ago, he said. “Not to know who your forefathers were is to remain forever a child. For what is the worth of a human life if it is not woven into the life of your ancestors? Surely, this sculptured stone bears mute witness that our lives are woven into the lives of these ancestors in Pictou, ancestors either by blood or by historical memory.

They were our people and we are their people and the hardships they endured are not forgotten. When the Highlanders from the HECTOR came ashore to the skirl of the pipes, they quickly suspected the difficulties to come.

They had barely established themselves after many hardships, still with scant resources and supplies, when they were faced with an influx of additional Highlanders, worse off than they were, from Prince Edward Island (or St John. as it was called then) who were forced to leave or die of starvation because of remarkable visitations of swarms of mice and alternately of locusts, who consumed everything edible, even the potatoes in the ground! They did not quail, they did not waver, but shared what little they had with these people in the Highland tradition of hospitality. They were not supermen and women, but simply Highlanders. They persevered where others would have quit or failed, because over the centuries their genes had been sorted out, selected and conditioned by the harsh realities of survival in the land of their birth. These genes gave the sons and daughters of Clan Donald the courage, the physical, and perhaps, more importantly, the spiritual strength when dispersed to survive, to lead, and to prosper, not only in Pictou, hut throughout the world: and the world was better for it.

Today. we enjoy luxuries and comforts these pioneering settlers never dreamed of. But in spite of adversity, suffering, grief, desperate treks to Truro through snow and ice and bitter winter storms to pack in a few supplies, in spite of scanty clothing in freezing weather, in spite of paucity of food almost impossible for us to imagine, they saw it through and cleared the path for others to follow.

This simple, handsome Monument cries out in silent eloquence to reaffirm the great truths embodied in the stanza we all know so well:

“From the lone shelling in the misty island
Mountains divide us, and a waste of seas.
But still, the blood is strong, the heart is Highland
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides…”


Queensland – Australia

The Clan Donald Society of Queensland (Australia) has been reformed after a considerable period of time. With an enthusiastic committee, the Society is increasing its membership as its reformation is being made known.

We have representation on The Scottish Clans Congress of Queensland and we are active in supporting and attending the Scottish functions in our area. and this is helping to promote more interest in our Clan.

The Society has already been in contact with Clan Donald Societies in other countries, and the encouragement and support we have received from all quarters makes us proud to he part of the great Clan Donald.

We look forward to building a successful Clan Donald Society here in Queensland, and to maintaining close contact with our kindred Societies world-wide, and we guarantee a warm welcome from our Clan Donald Society of Queensland to any Clansfolk who might have the chance to venture to our part of the world.

Contact: The Clan Donald Society of Queensland. P.O. Box 28. Sherwood, Queensland. Australia. 4051.

New South Wales – Australia

The inauguration of this branch was in December, 1966 and its first President was Dr Roderick Hector MacDonald, a distinguished doctor of medicine whose achievements included being, in 1968, elected President of the Third Australian Medical Association Congress and in 1971, awarded the Association’s Gold Medal for outstanding services to medicine. Dr MacDonald served in World War II and was mentioned five times in dispatches. He was made an OBE in 1945.

In December 1991, the Branch will celebrate its twenty fifth anniversary. The membership which is scattered far and wide, many hundreds of miles apart, is kept in touch by the Newsletter which is published four or five times each year and support is strong.

In 1988, the Branch published a book: Burn to Billabong -Macdonald Clansfolk in Australia 1788-1988, a collection of family stories contributed by many MacDonalds throughout Australia, compiled by the late Commissioner and President, Mrs Nan McDonald and funded by the Branch Patron, Gordon MacDonald, as an Australian Bicentennial project. As a result of this excellent publication many “lost tribes” of MacDonalds – kinsfolk and clansfolk – have been re-united.

Regular monthly Scottish Culture Social Evenings are held, with films, videos, talks and friendly discussions on Clan Donald heritage, history, genealogy, stories and events in addition to a “Burn to Billabong” Dinner in June, a MacDonald Highland Night in September and a Christmas Ceilidh.

For further information please contact the Branch Hon. Secretary. Miss Bettina McDonald. P.O. Box 399. Strathfield, NSW 2135.

Victoria – Australia

The Clan MacDonald Society of Vicioria was inaugurated in October, 1934 and meets every month for social evenings with entertainment and Scottish Country Dancing. The original patrons of the Society were the 6th Lord MacDonald, the 22nd Chief of Sleat, the 23rd Chief of Clanranald and the 21st Chief of Glengarry. For further details of this Society, contact the State Commissioner: Andrew McDonald, 29 Willis Street, Hampton, Victoria 3188.

The Clan Donald Society of Australia, Victoria Branch, Peninsula Division was formed in 1980 and also holds monthly social evenings. The highlight of the year is the Informal Tartan Ball held in October, which is always attended by the Pipes and Drums of Clan Donald. For further information, contact the Hon. Secretary: Jim Fenwick, 4 Barry Street, Rosebud, Victoria 3939.

Tasmania – Australia by David Welsh, Hon. Secretary.

Our Clan Donald Society was formed approximately 20 years ago and our total membership has remained fairly static with a number of the original members still active in the Society. Our activities are mainly confined to monthly luncheons. These are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month and are conducted with a minimum of formality. We maintain a contact with some of the kindred Clan Donald Societies on the mainland of Australia.

In general it can he reported that Scottish tradition is significantly alive in Tasmania. With a relatively small population of approximately 185,000 in Hobart (the Capital) and 460,000 approximately in the whole Island, there are two major Scottish Societies of a general nature and three pipe bands in Hobart with a pro-rata representation of Scottish Societies and pipe bands in other population centres of the State. e.g. Launceston and the North West Coast.

We hope that our plans for increasing our membership will ensure that we can continue to he part of the Scottish tradition in the State for many years to come.

For particulars of membership, please contact the Hon. Secretary: David Welsh. City Mill, 11 Morrison Street, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 7000.

May I reciprocate the kind greetings of your Secretary and on behalf of our President, Mr Ian Macdonald, and our members convey to the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh (1891) our sincere congratulations on the attaining of its centenary in 1991.

Otago Branch – New Zealand by Mrs Rhonnda Martin, Secretary & Treasurer.

We now seem to be well under way and at present have 41 members, from a small number, seven, at our first meeting.Our first Annual Dinner was held on 3rd November at the University of Otago Staff Club, and 24 members attended. We were entertained by one of our new members, Dr Warwick Johnson with a bagpipe selection, and our Vice-President, Mr Bill McDonald showed slides and gave an accompanying talk of his recent trip to Scotland, and particularly Skye and the Clan Donald Centre.

February 1991 will be the time when we will hold our Annual Picnic at McDonald’s Park near Dunedin . . . we just have to hope that the weather will he good to us.

One of the committee members, Vilma Nelson. is a noted Tartan Spinner and Weaver and is affiliated to the Tartan Museum at Comrie, Perthshire. Miss Nelson designed and wove the Dunedin District Tartan of New Zealand about two years ago.

Any New Zealand readers wishing further information should contact; Mrs Rhonnda Martin, Secretary/Treasurer, The Clan Donald Society of New Zealand, (Otago Branch). 55 Oakland Street, Anderson’s Bay, Dunedin, New Zealand.