Scotland NSW

24 Aug

I was struck by a remark Thomas makes in Part 1 of his Menindee story — an entry that appears to have done his stats no harm at all… “I had been watching the scenery, trying to compare it to the various places around the world I had been to. For a short while I was reminded of Edinburgh, though that was only when we were going into the mountains. But certainly, for this leg, that was the only comparison I could make.” That not only struck a Presbyterian chord in me, but I recalled — my God! — driving much the same leg in 1970 in my Mazda with Chris, a 21-years-old colleague from Dapto High. Chris was from the UK, and we had dissuaded him from trying a solo trip up the Birdsville Track in high summer; instead I volunteered to show him the Central West of NSW. That was the trip that took us towards Cobar…

We were driving through country just over the Blue Mountains, and he’d stopped asking when we when we were going to get to the desert. He had also pointed out that in the time we had been driving we would have passed through a couple of counties and several major cities back home in England. And then he said, “This reminds me of Scotland…”

Well, you judge. One is the Lowlands of Scotland, the other is towards Oberon in the Bathurst area of NSW*. I guess place names like Lithgow and Kelso didn’t arise by accident…



And my mate Chris… Great young guy at that time, but life was not kind to him. But that’s another story.


tent.jpgPerhaps Governor Macquarie saw a likeness too, Scot that he was. You can read about that picture, which you may also enlarge with a click: ‘The Plains, Bathurst, c.1815-1816. “Drawn by John Lewin, and described in Henry Colden Antill’s, “Journal of an excursion over the Blue or Western Mountains of New South Wales to visit a tract of new discovered Country, 1815″. Major H.C. Antill was Governor Macquarie Aide-de-Camp… The tent in the centre of Lewin’s Bathurst Plains watercolour had been acquired by Macquarie from India, and was used extensively by him in his travels throughout the Colony.” Antill later settled near Picton, where my own ancestors came into contact with his family, later on at least — or so my father said. Possibly through this person, or another of that or the previous generation. Picton was a small place then.

Similarity to the Old Country was a mixed blessing, of course, because it isn’t Scotland in all kinds of significant ways. But there is not space here for a history of agriculture and grazing in NSW…

* Clue and acknowledgement of pic source.

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Posted by on August 24, 2007 in Aussie interest, Observations


2 responses to “Scotland NSW

  1. theportmaniac

    August 24, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    How strange. I thought it might have been a concoction of my own mind, but apparently I’m not as confused as I thought!

    Also, when we were driving through some streets in-and-around the mountains, it also looked like the ‘area’ (suburb?) I was staying in when I was over Edinburgh. The style of house, the trees and the way it all played out going down the street just clicked with me.

  2. ninglun

    August 24, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    It’s very possible some of those houses were built by homesick Scots; my own grandfather always referred to Scotland as “home” even though he was born in Australia. He did spend part of his early childhood in Scotland though. See About the Christisons.

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