A perfect associationalist

Screen-Shot-2015-03-13-at-11.30.53When Archie Crosbie Haig died in Mount Gambier, South Australia, in the spring of 1945, the local paper was full of praise for his involvement in the community, focusing in particular on Haig’s contributions to the city’s many clubs and societies. He was, in fact, what we might call a perfect associationalist:

The late Mr. Haig was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and belonged to the Oddfellows Lodge. He took a keen interest in military affairs, and was a member of the Scottish Company … He was one of the originators of the first Mt. Gambier Football Association … For a number of years he was Arbiter for the South-Eastern Football Association. He did great work for the Mt. Gambier Caledonian Society, of which he was Secretary, and many

New Book: Clubbing Together

clubbingI am delighted to announce that my new book, Clubbing Together: Ethnicity, Civility and Formal Sociability in the Scottish Diaspora to 1930, has been published by Liverpool University Press. I have accumulated a host of debts throughout the preparation and writing of this book, so I’d like to take the opportunity and thank a few people and organizations here.

A few ‘thank yous’:

First, I’d like to acknowledge the British Academy for the support I have received through the Small Research Grant scheme (SG100441). I am also grateful to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, which has funded some of my research in Australia related to ethnic associations. The Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University also deserves my recognition for giving me the opportunity to be a …

Scottish Convicts in Nineteenth-Century Australia

convictsAustralia was first put on the Scottish diaspora map not as a migrant destination of choice, but as a convict settlement. The overall number of convict Scots was, however, low. Of the estimated total of nearly 155,000 convicts sent to the Australian mainland and Van Diemen’s land, only about 8,200 were Scots. A slightly larger proportion of Scots, possibly up to 700, were among the nearly 10,000 male convicts sent to Western Australia between 1850 and 1868. But even these numbers pale compared to those of convicts who arrived from England. As Prentis explains, ‘the Scottish transportation rate was consistently about 20 to 25 per cent’ of that of England. The reason for the relatively small number of Scottish convicts can be found in Scotland’s legal system. Preserved in its …

Homecoming in the 1920s

homecomingIt’s another year of Homecoming – a good opportunity to explore an earlier example of it in the early twentieth century. It was then that a growing number of organised group returns took place, with trip planning often facilitated by Scottish associations such as St Andrew’s and Caledonian societies. One such group return, that of over 600 Australians of Scottish descent, took place in the summer of 1928. Described by Australian newspapers as a ‘national pilgrimage to Scotland’, the visit was jointly organised by the Victorian Scottish Union and similar bodies in other Australian states. The idea for the trip was first discussed in 1927, when the hope was expressed that 200 to 500 people of Scottish descent would go on the trip for the purpose of making Australia better …