Celebrating 150 Years: The Turakina Highland Games

Whether hailing from the Lowlands or the Highlands, their national identity was very important for many of the Scottish migrants who had made the journey from Scotland to New Zealand, settling in the British Empire’s farthest outpost. In the mid-nineteenth century, the journey to New Zealand could easily take four months, and life aboard ship Read More

Mary Slessor and Africa

On this day in 1915 one of Scotland’s most famous missionaries, Mary Slessor, died. Her portrait is widely circulated thanks to it being used on the Scottish £10 note issued by the Clydesdale Bank (with a map of Calabar in Nigeria and African missionary scenes on the reverse). As MacKenzie has observed, Slessor is ‘often Read More

A Scottish Christmas Down Under

During the Christmas holidays of 1916 Nan Drennan, a recent arrival to New Zealand, wrote a letter to her mother back in Scotland, noting that she remembered the holidays as a time that they ‘always spend together’. This, however, was now impossible given the physical distance between mother and daughter. The only thing Nan could Read More

Charles Stewart Addis: A Scottish Sojourner in Asia

Charles Stewart Addis was born in Edinburgh on 23 November 1861. He remained in the city and was educated at Edinburgh Academy before moving on to work for Peter Dowie and Co., Grain Importers (Leith) between 1876 and 1880. Addis then relocated to London, where he joined the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). The Read More

St Andrew’s Day and the Scots in British East Africa

Nairobi was founded by the British in 1899 to serve as a rail depot on the railway that connected Mombasa to Uganda. From this early settlement Nairobi grew quickly and, in 1907, became the capital of British East Africa. Despite this expansion it was not a principal destination of permanent settlement for Scots – though Read More

Out now: The Scottish Diaspora

The Scottish Diaspora (Edinburgh, 2013, with Andrew Hinson and Graeme Morton). Did you know that Scotland was one of Europe’s main population exporters in the age of mass migration? Or that the Scottish Honours System was introduced as far afield as New Zealand? This comprehensive introductory history of the Scottish diaspora covers the period c.1700 Read More

Thomas McCulloch: Presbyterian Minister, Educator and Political Reformer

Born in Fereneze near Paisley in 1776, Thomas McCulloch graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1792 and initially thought about pursuing medicine. Instead, however, McCulloch decided to study theology at the General Associate Synod in Whitburn, and was ordained at Stewarton in 1799. Shortly afterwards he married Isabella Walker, the daughter of the Revd. Read More

‘Away we went from the East India Dock’: The Story of the Jack Family

In late October 1883, the Jack family, John, Helen, and their two sons John Hill Hunter and James Whitson, left their home in Edinburgh for the port of Leith. Their luggage had already been packed and was delivered, ahead of the family, to the SS Iona anchored in Leith harbour, the vessel which was to Read More

Celebrating Robert Fergusson: A New Zealand Connection

Scottish poet Robert Fergusson died on 16 October 1774. At times described as the lesser brother of Robert Burns, Fergusson too left his mark in the Scottish diaspora. Let’s look at the story of New Zealand Burns enthusiast James Craigie in a bit more detail to see what role Fergusson played for him. Born at Read More

Migration and Poetry

While exploring personal testimonies of migrants and their families back at home in Scotland, as well as records from Scottish clubs and societies, I have come across numerous examples of poetry written by Scots at home and abroad that relates to migration and the feelings associated with it. As it is National Poetry Day today Read More

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