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Scots around the world

Contributed by Mel Stevenson

Australia was fortunate in having a great many Scottish immigants many of whom went on to play a large part in the early formation of the colony. They came from several sources ie the convicts and political prisoners, the service men, some of the early naval and army personel were Scottish, the free immigrants who came to better their life style, these also included those who paid their own way and those who were inticed by free passage in exchange for their labour for a certain period of time and the business men who came here as traders etc.

There was a minister of religion who was instumental in bringing large bodies of Scottish immigrants to Fortitude Valley in Brisbane Queensland around 1850's. Some of these were orphans who were given positions as maids and domestic staff. It was difficult at that time to get good workers particularly for some of the inland properties. All the early settlers came by ship and conditions were pretty bad, many succumbed to diseases on the way over. There are many stories like the one about Thomas Stevenson( no relation)a shepherd from Ayr who came via New Zealand and went on to own a very large property in Boorowa New South Wales. He built up one of the finest flock of Merino sheep in Australia and was well known for improving the breed. He won many prizes for his livestock. He never forgot his homeland though, he sent money home to pay for his mothers headstone and in his will he left money to his widowed sister still living in Ayr. I researched his interesting life for a descendant over there a few years ago and even went to Borrowa to take photos of his grave for her, I think he is a good example of many of the early Scottish migrants to Australia. He came from humble beginnings, he came to work and he stayed because he found opportunities for anyone who was prepared to work hard but he never forgot his homeland.



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