Calender of Events  




Maryborough Highland Gathering

The 2010 Clan Sinclair Gathering

 In July 2010 Clan Sinclair members from all over the globe travelled to Wick in Caithness , Scotland   for  the 2010 Clan Sinclair Gathering.

A wonderful itinerary had been organized by our Chief, Malcolm, The Earl of Caithness.


IMG_2092 IMG_2153The highlight of many highlights was the re-opening of Castle Sinclair/Girnigoe to the public.  Isla St Clair (pictured far left) sang  “When the Pipers Play” accompanied by Wick Pipe Band before the official opening by Viscount John. Following the opening all of the Australian and many of the Canadian in attendance at the gathering ended the day at the local restaurant. (pictured above) 

The itinerary included a tours Dunrobin Castle and Glemmorangie Distillery, visits to the battle fields of Culloden and Altimarlach, a day on in the Orkneys, attendance at the Halkirk Games and a boat tour boat around Stroma.  Their were also many informal  and formal occasions including a Gala Dinner on our final night. A great way to end the gathering.


Bundanoon April 2010

In April we attended the annual Bundanoon is Brigadoon in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales .  

The 10 hour trip from Melbourne was well worth it.  This gathering is one of the biggest in the world.   The day commenced with a street march with 22 pipe bands, representatives of 40 clans,  and Scottish influenced floats. Left: Liane and Wayne at the street march.

Throughout the day there was activity everywhere with band and dancing completions as well as very well organized heavy games.  We were kept happily occupied all day by a constant stream of visitors to our Clan Sinclair tent, many of whom had  a Sinclair connection.   It was wonderful to be able to meet with all of them.

Right: Wayne with CSA members Don and Val Sinclair  

The very successful and enjoyable day closed with a Ceilidh in the town centre.  

Berwick February 2010  

On February 13th we attended the Berwick Highland Gathering.  It was at these games a year ago that the horror of Black Saturday filtered through to us. In honour of this our fire fighters were honoured at the opening ceremony of this years gathering. We also took  time to remember the victims of last years tragedy.


The crowd which was a little down on previous years enjoyed the gathering.  For the second year in a row the Clan Sinclair tent was judged the best by the event organizers. We were careful not to brag to much to the twelve other clans who were represented. Liane and I are pictured with event organizers and judges Tim Fisher and Simon Hall.

 Maryborough New Years Day 2010  

Clan events ended for 2009 with a great New Eves celebration at the Maryborough Highland Society.


Events for 2010 began with the 149th Maryborough Highland Games on New Year’s Day. This was a wonderful occasion for Clan Sinclair Australia as our Secretary Liane Sinclair was the Chieftain of the games. This was the first time in the history of the games that   the honour had been given to a woman.


The Maryborough Games commence with a parade of pipe and brass bands in the main street.  As chieftain of the games Liane, who was proudly dressed in Sinclair attire, took the salute from each of the bands as they marched by. Liane is pictured with the Highland Society President, Denis Turner.

The re mainder of her day was spent at official functions and meeting with the  athletes,  band members  and dancers as well as mixing with the huge crowd. Liane’s parent’s, (Bill and Joan,  pictured) were proud observers.


The gathering concluded on New Year’s night with a concert and a magnificent fireworks display at Princes Park.

Next year, 2011, will mark the 150th Maryborough Highland gathering.  To commemorate this plans are afoot to extend celebrations to two days (1st and 2nd January) highlighted by a mini military Tattoo at Maryborough’s historic railway station.  It promises to be a great celebration.   Book your motel early!

Clan Sinclair Australia hosted the annual Victorian Scottish Union (VSU) conference in Maryborough , Victoria from the 11th to the 13th September 2009 .  The weekend commenced with a Ceilidh on the Friday night.  The Ceilidh was well attended and offered the opportunity for members of various clans to get acquainted.  There was also the opportunity for all in attendance to practice their Scottish Country dancing. Some mastered the steps a lot better than others however all enjoyed the experience.

 The VSU annual meeting was held on the Saturday morning. This was followed by a luncheon which in turn was followed by a moving service at the Maryborough War Memorial. Many of the visitors to Maryborough were taken on a walking tour of the historical area of Maryborough which for those of you who don’t know are largely centred around the towns gold mining heritage.  

The annual VSU dinner dance was held at the Maryborough Highland Society on the Saturday night.  We were entertained by the fabulous Glen Brae dancers, the Maryborough Pipes and Drums, and Monique and Chantelle Plover who are the VSU Medal winning dancers for 2009.   Our official piper was the forever young Bruce Hocking.  Music for the night was supplied by Dillgaff from Ballarat. . They were wonderful, so wonderful that the VSU have booked them again for next years annual conference.   Our MC for the night was Lionel Williams. Although we really threw him in at the deep end he did a fantastic job. Our opening page has photos of the Clan Sinclair members who were in attendance enjoying the night.  

On Sunday the Reverend Lorene Day conducted a special Kirkin’ of the Tartan service at St Andrew’s Uniting Church Maryborough.   The Sinclair tartan was presented by our valued CSA member, Rhonda Underwood.  

The service was followed by a luncheon before we all headed our separate ways until we meet again next year in Kilmore.  The weekend will start on Friday 12th September, 2010 so put it in your diaries and come along and join in the festivities.  Further details will follow.  We are very keen to give the people of Kilmore as much support as possible in helping to rebuild their community after the devastating bush fires and the Conference will bring them a welcome boost.



   The 2008 Sinclair Gathering – Wick Caithness -  22 to 29 May 2008 .

The  2008 Sinclair gathering  commenced on the 22 May 2008 with a function at the House of Lords in London .   This was also a celebration  of the  thirtieth birthday of  Iona Sinclair ,  daughter of our Chief, Malcolm.  

The following  day we travelled to Caithness , the home of the Sinclairs where we were guests of Murray and his staff at MacKays Hotel in Wick. Attendees at the  gathering  came from Australia ,  Canada ,  the USA , and  the UK .  We  also enjoyed the company  of   local  residents  who hosted and participated in many of the events.   The theme of the gathering was homes and castles that   had current and/or historic Sinclair connections.  Over the  week of the gathering we visited  Dunbeath Castle , the ruins of Knockinnon,  the home of Nicky and Patrick Sinclair at Strathmore, Freswick Castle , Ackergill Tower , Mary Ann’s cottage,  and the Castle of Mey .

Attendees at  Freswick Castle

  All events were wonderful however the highlight for many of us was the opening of the new bridge at Sinclair/ Girnigoe castle.  Rory Sinclair piped in our Chief, Malcolm and Andrew Sinclair who officially opened the bridge  by cutting a Sinclair Tartan  ribbon.  Standing above them with the Sinclair flag flying behind  were images of our Viking  ancestors.  It was a truly stirring experience for all of us.


The opening of the bridge was followed by a BBQ, hosted by Ian and Joan at Noss Head.  During the night the Wick Pipe Band entertained us.  The setting  was perfect  and everyone enjoyed the experience.

 Other  events on the itinerary included a church service which was led by the wonderful  Reverend Malcolm Sinclair from Canada , a lecture on Heraldry by Elizabeth Roads,  a lecture  on Sinclair/Ginigoe by archaeologist Jonathan Clark,  a Ceilidh and a Dinner Dance on our final night.


The Dinner  dance  was  a perfect way to wind up the gathering.  We all had great fun doing Scottish dancing that we had been practicing earlier in the week.  The night finished with “Auld Lang Syne”  fond farewells and  a promise to gather again in 2010. 

 Wayne Sinclair

 The 2008 Highland Gatherings

    The first gathering for the year was in Maryborough on New Years Day.  As usual Maryborough’s program of events included band competitions, dancing competitions, and full schedule of   athletic and field events, the highlight of which is the  Maryborough gift.  It was  an extremely hot day peeking at about  45 degrees. As a result crowds were down slightly on previous years.

The next event on the calendar was The Berwick Highland gathering on the 10th February.  Again it was a very hot, however all who attended including  several of our members enjoyed  the day.  Clan Sinclair Australia are now setting up their display and reception area with the those of the Victorian Scottish Union (VSU), Clan MacDonald, and Clan Grant. This arrangement has proved very successful as  it  creates a  more welcoming environment than single tents.  It also  allows all of  us to assist with the VSU tent which welcomes  enquiries on all things Scottish.  Above : Clan representatives at the Berwick gathering.

  Our most recent event was the Geelong Highland gathering. Temperatures were again  in the mid 40s and again the crowd was down on previous years We however had a good role up of Clan Sinclair members  and others  with a  Clan Sinclair interest. Left:  Scott McLeod, Cliff and Shelley (nee Sinclair) Still, Kate McLeod (nee Sinclair), Liane Sinclair, Ronald and Alison Sinclair, Wayne  Sinclair. at Geelong .


Congratulations to Jack Still (left) one of our youngest members, who came to see us at Geelong  wearing the shirt that a was given to him after he  and   his fellow members of the   Watsonia Pipes and Drums Highland Band  won  their   division of  competition at the recent championships in New Zealand.



The Victorian Scottish Union Annual Conference – Maryborough September 2007.

The busiest weekend for CSA members in 2007 was the  first weekend in September.  Many members of CSA attended the Victorian Scottish Union’s (VSU) annual conference at the in Maryborough Highland Society in central Victoria

  The weekend kicked off with a ceilidh on the Friday night to welcome all visitors to the town.  The following morning was the official conference meeting where our own Liane Sinclair was installed as VSU  Chief  by  Bonnie Williamson from Warrnambool Caledonian Society.

 Right: Bonnie and Liane


On Saturday night, the main social event, a dinner dance, was held at the Highland Society.  Among the large crowd were  at least  50 people with a Sinclair connection.  Needless to say everyone enjoyed the night.  The conference ended with a church service and a lunch on  the Sunday which was also Father’s day.


The weekend finished with the celebration of CSA member Val (Sinclair) Mark’s eightieth birthday at the Goldfields Restaurant in Maryborough.


Right: Val surrounded by her nieces and nephews, many of whom are CSA members.



I am pleased to say that  over the weekend many people showed an interest in CSA and that we  were able to welcome new members.  

The 2006 Christmas Get-Together

The last Clan Sinclair get together for 2006 was our  Christmas function. Special guests at this function  were Toni, Sandy and Alex Sinclair from Clan Sinclair Canada. Those of us who attended the  Sinclair  gathering in Scotland an 2005 had the pleasure of  meeting Toni and Sandy then.  Their daughter Alex is  currently studying in Melbourne . It was wonderful to catch up with all of them.

Back Row: Malcolm Sinclair (our own Clan Sinclair piper) , Kim Underwood,  Ross and Carol Sinclair, Noreen Connell, Coral Bartlett, Jim Deane,  Camille Brooker, Neil Sinclair, Joan Sinclair,  Alex, Toni and Sandy Sinclair,  Liane Sinclair, Lloyd Bradshaw.  Front Row: Wayne Sinclair, Rhonda Underwood, Val Marks, Noelene Deane, Nerrellie, Paige and Jude Rankin.

Reunion of the Descendent of Duncan and Maria  Sinclair nee Benfield

On 9 April 2006 many Clan Sinclair Australia members were among the ninety attendees at a reunion in Maryborough Victoria of the descendants of  Duncan  and Maria Sinclair. Maryborough is 130 kilometres from Melbourne . Duncan and Maria were born in Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne ) in the 1850’s. Duncan ’s parents David and Jane (nee Roger) Sinclair emigrated to Australia in the early 1850s. Maria parents Miles and Caroline (nee Toomey) Benfield were married in London   before they emigrated to Australia also in the early 1850’s.

 Duncan and Maria were married at Emerald Hill in 1881.    In the early 1890s, as a result of a movement with Duncan ’s job with the Victorian Railways, Duncan and Maria moved to Maryborough in central Victoria . With them were there childre n, David, Duncan and Walter. Two other children Charlotte and Arthur had  died in their infancies.  

Duncan and Maria lived in Argyll Road , Maryborough where the remainder of their childre n, William, Lillian, Maggie, Stanley and Violet were born.  Maria died in this home in 912. Duncan passed away in 1930. The attendees descend from these children


The descendants of Maria and Duncan Sinclair at the reunion.  

The reunion was held at the Lions club Hall in Maryborough. This hall was  for many years  the East Maryborough Presbyterian Sunday School.  Many of the attendees at the reunion had involvement in the Sunday School as participants in lessons, in concerts and anniversary celebrations.

At age 89 the oldest family member in attendance at the reunion was Ray Connell of Maryborough. The oldest direct descendant of Duncan and Maria in attendance was Harold Scholten of Castlemaine who celebrated his  87th birthday at the occasion.

 The oldest living descent of Duncan and Maria, Fred Sinclair of Maryborough, was  ill on the day so he and his wife, Marj who have been married for  66 years were unable to attend. The youngest descendant of Duncan and Maria was Jarrah who attended the event with his mum Aneika  Bright.

The grandchildren and the spouses of the grandchildren  of Duncan and Maria who attended the gathering were Gordon and Margaret Sinclair of Geelong,  Duncan Sinclair of Heidelberg,  Ray  Connell of Maryborough, Dot Sinclair of Maryborough, Val Marks of Maryborough, Bill and Joan Sinclair of Maryborough, Harold and Dorothy Scholten of Castlemaine, Mavis and Ken Cranston of Glenroy and Bob and Val Ballantyne of Doncaster. Bob did a great job of emceeing the gathering.  Joan Ballantyne of Doncaster was disappointed not to attend as she became ill a few days before the event.

Left : Dorothy and Harold Scholten, Aneika Bright with her son Jarrah, and Ray Connell

 All who attended enjoyed the day including the luncheon, looking at the photographs  and family history that was on display and listening to the piper  who  was a surprise guest courtesy of  Dot and Joan Sinclair.  Most of all everyone enjoyed chatting and catching up with family members who in some cases they had not seen for many years or had never met before.

 The day wound up by mid afternoon as many of the attendees had to travel back to Melbourne   and  in some cases much further to get home that night..   It was an extremely successful event that will be repeated in the not to distant future.

 The 145th Maryborough Highland Games 2nd  January 2006

This was a huge event for Clan Sinclair Australia this year as it was opened by our Secretary , Liane Sinclair. Liane is also the  President of the Victorian Scottish Union.  Liane's  father, Bill Sinclair, opened the games in in 1975 and her grandfather, Bill Moore,  had the same honour in 1953.

  Pictured are Liane with her parents Bill and Joan Sinclair at the family home in Maryborough.

As well as opening the games Liane presented prizes to event winners and participants. The Maryborough games, which are believed to be the  longest consecutively running highland games in the world,  remain one of the best  gatherings in Australia.  Events in the games include  athletics featuring the Maryborough Gift, heavy games, dancing events  and pipe band competitions.  The bands   commence the day with a  great street march.  The gathering concludes  in the evening with a concert in the park and a fantastic fireworks display.

The 2005 Clan Sinclair Gathering

On 22 July together with clans people from the United Kingdom (48), New Zealand (3), Norway(3), Canada (26), the United States (95) and our contingent from Australia (8) I  attended the Clan Sinclair International Gathering. Our host was our Chief, Malcolm. He was   ably supported by his son Berrie. As well as organizing the itinerary both Malcolm and Berrie participated in every event.

GatheringLeft: Liane Sinclair, Kim Underwood, Neil Sinclair, Rhonda Underwood, Wayne Sinclair and Denise Roberts at St. Magnus Cathedral.

The first three days of the gathering were held on Orkney where we visited many historical sights including Skara Brae, Maes Howe, the Ring of Bognar, the Standing Stones of Stennes and the Italian Chapel. There was also an opportunity to visit Kirkwall Lodge to view the “Secret Scroll”. Other highlights included a visit to Highland Park Distillery for an especially arranged tasting which was appreciated even more than expected as the weather had become very cold. The highlight for many of the Orkney stay was the church service at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall where the Church organist and Rory Sinclair, the president of Clan Sinclair Canada and our Clan Piper, treated us to a very moving rendition of “Highland Cathedral”.

From Orkney we travelled back to main land Scotland via John O’Groats to Thurso where the majority of the attendees at the gathering based themselves for the next 7 days. The seven days were jam packed with events which included a wildlife cruise around Duncaster Head, lunch and a wonderful tour at Castle Mey, visits to Wick, the Spittal Quarry, the Grey Cairns of Camster, the standing stones at Archavanich, the Lady Croft Museum ,Dunbeath and its Heritage Centre and Lybster Harbour,

GirnigoeThe Australian continent at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe: Clockwise from centre: Rhonda Underwood, Noelene Deane, Jim Deane, Neil Sinclair, Kim Underwood, Denise Roberts, Liane Sinclair and Wayne Sinclair.

On the 29 July all attendees at the gathering were guest of Viscount Thurso and his family at a reception at their home Thurso East.. It was a great night that allowed us all to mingle and get to know each other better.


The Reception at Thurso East: Back Row: Liane Sinclair, Jim Deane, Neil Sinclair, Middle Row: Kim Underwood, Rhonda Underwood, our Chief Malcolm, Wayne Sinclair, Denise Roberts, Noelene Deane, Beth St Clair (our friend from New Zealand) and kneeling in front is our reception host John, Viscount Thurso.

On Saturday the 30 July the attendees at Sinclair gathering were special guests at the Halkirk Highland Games. We were led onto the main arena by our chieftain, The Earl of Caithness and the Games Chieftain, Viscountess Margaret Thurso. We all attended a buffet lunch and the Chief’s reception in the Sinclair Clan Tent.

Our final day commenced with a church service at the West Street Church of Scotland in Thurso. The very moving service was conducted by the Rev. Ronnie Johnstone of Thurso and the Rev. Malcolm Sinclair from Canada. Six flag bearers carrying flags that represented Clan Sinclair Internationally participated in the ceremony that all also included a dedication to the late Viscount Robin Thurso.

There were many social occasions during the gathering. Some were planned in advance, some were spontaneous, all were great. We were entertained at many of these events by our own Sinclair pipe band and by the wonderful and very popular Isla St. Clair. The final social occasion was a farewell banquet on the 31 July, the final night of the gathering. The wonderful dinner was followed by dancing to the music of the Addie Harper Scottish Band. Emotions were mixed as we were having a great time but knew that we would soon be heading back to our own parts of the world.

The whole event was a wonderful experience highlighted by meeting representatives of the Sinclair Clan from all over the world.

Wayne Sinclair