MV Blog


Scots Wha Hae

by Sadie
Publish date
7 November 2014
Comments (1)

Sadie works on exhibitions at Museum Victoria.

Question: What do the following Victorian place names have in common:

Armadale, Arthurs Seat, Bairnsdale, Ben Cruachan, Boisdale, Campbellfield, Clunes, Clydesdale, Coldstream, Drysdale, Ensay, Glenaladale, Glenelg River, Hepburn Springs, The Grampians, Lauriston, Lismore, Loch Sport, Mt Stewart, Orbost, Queensferry, Rutherglen, St Andrews, Stonehaven?

Scenery of mountains Lake Wartook, Grampians National Park
Image: Ken Harris
Source: Ken Harris

Answer: All these place names come from a place in Scotland or from a Scottish name.

The Scots are one of Australia’s oldest migrant groups. 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the first formal migration from Scotland to Victoria. During the 19th century many Scottish people settled in Victoria’s Western, Wimmera and Gippsland districts.

Women in Scottish dress Caledonian Society, Bendigo, Victoria, circa 1905
Source: Museum Victoria

Scots were represented among professions that bestowed place names—including governors and surveyors—hence many Victorian towns have Scottish names today. Thus, Campbellfield and Mt Stewart reference significant Scottish clans while Arthurs Seat and the Grampians hark back to fondly remembered locations in Scotland.

Girl in Scottish dress outside school building Garvoc, Victoria, circa 1935
Source: Museum Victoria

Our latest community exhibition, Scots Wha Hae, reveals the influence of the Scottish in Victoria from the 19th century to the continuing influx of young Scots today. You'll encounter stories of Dame Nellie Melba, Macpherson Robertson, AC/DC and the textile designer who developed the Victorian tartan.

Children in Scottish dress with woman playing bagpipes Highland Dancers, 1950s
Source: Bill Schrank

The patriotic song Scots Wha Hae (‘Scots who have’) was written in Scots by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1793. The unofficial national anthem of Scotland for centuries, it was chosen as the exhibition title by the Scots of Victoria to evoke a sense of Scottish pride while acknowledging the opportunities offered by life in Australia.

One boy and 10 girls in Scottish dress Highland dancers
Image: Kara Lorgelly
Source: Kara Lorgelly

The exhibition Scots Wha Hae: 200 years of Scottish influence opens at the Immigration Museum on 15 November 2014. Come help us celebrate at the Scottish Fling Festival on 16 November with Scottish food, dancing, whisky-tasting and more.

The luck of the Irish

by Jo
Publish date
8 December 2012
Comments (0)

November 18th 2012 saw the Irish come together once again at the Immigration Museum. The Immigration Museum festivals are always well received by the community involved and the community at large, and the Irish festival was certainly no exception.

Doors opened at 10am, and the queue began shortly after! There was a formal welcome and opening from Mr Leo Varadkar TD, Ireland's Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and HE Noel White, Ambassador of Ireland.

The view outside the Immigration Mueusem The queue patiently waiting outside the Immigration Museum for the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri

There was singing and there was dancing, and there was more singing! The Irish Language Association Choir hypnotised us with their amazing sound and the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance performed to a packed courtyard. No Irish festival is complete without an Irish jig, and Christine Ayers School for Irish Dancing performed the honours.

Irish dancers Some of the Irish dancers who performed for the crowds at the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri

Inside, there were tea and biscuits made by Comhaltas and the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance (they certainly were busy!). Upstairs there were craft activities for the children, making family trees or glittery Claddagh crowns. There were various representatives from the Irish community throughout the museum giving out information about organisations and associations celebrating all things Irish.

The crowd enjoying the performance on the Main Stage The crowd outside enjoying one of the many performances at the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri

The Immigration Discovery Centre hosted a family history workshop with Phillip Moore from the Celtic Club's Cultural Heritage Committee and the Immigration Museum shop was selling Irish treats to our visitors.

Of course P J O'Brien's made an appearance - Although they didn't bring the Guinness, they did bring the some delicious treats for our visitors, as did Paddy's Meats. All of this was complemented with the amazing and moving exhibition, Leaving Dublin.

One of the performances for the Irish Festival Crowds enjoying one of the many performaces for the Irish Festival at the Immigration Museum
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri

The success of a festival day can be seen in the faces of our visitors and the crowds patiently waiting on Flinders Street to come in and enjoy the festivities. We had so much fun that we thought we'd do it again. KidsFest in January 2013 will have an Irish theme, so if you missed the Irish Festival, check out KidsFest! More details can be found here.

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.