Saturday, 5 November 2011

Emigrants for Australia - 1923

Nambour Chronicle, 2 November 1923, page 9

Typical Emigrants for Australia

(From a Home Correspondent)
Stornoway is still pouring forth contingent upon contingent of hardy Hebrideans to the distant lands across the seas. The port was the scene of tremendous bustle last weekend, when a large party of Lewis emigrants set out for London on the first part of the long journey to Australia.

At the quayside they were given a rousing farewell. The people of the Lewis have grown accustomed to the departure of their fellow islanders in search of that which has been denied them in the land of their birth but there were evidences on all sides of suppressed emotion on the part of aged parents and brothers and sisters.

They comprised of 99 men, women and children, ranging in age from 60 years to six months, and included several families, all of whom it is proposed to settle on the land near Perth, Western Australia. The single men hope to get employment on sheep ranches in Victoria.

The outstanding personality of the party was a crofter-fisherman, Mr Frank Mackinnon, the father of 11 children, who, with his wife and family, left the Lochs district of Lewis on the previous Tuesday morning for their journey to London, and thence to the great Southern Commonwealth.

Speaking of his decision to emigrate, this man said that he had lost patience, waiting for a small-holding, and had made up his mind that the only opportunity open to him was to try his fortune in a new land.

The contingent left London by the SS Bendigo from Tilbury. They were all entertained to breakfast by Sir William Mitchell Cotts, MP for the Western Isles, who also received them on their embarkation on board the SS Bendigo in the afternoon, accompanied by Mr White, branch manager of the P and O company.

All the men are ex-soldiers or ex-sailors with war service, but none of their families had ever seen a railway train or a great liner. Every one of the men is a teetotaller. Physically, they are a splendid sample of Hebridean manhood.

They are, indeed, hardy, hardy folk these islanders. Many have signed up for Australia, and another party will be despatched at an early date. Mr Murdo Maclean of Stornoway, the official agent for the Government of Australia, conducted the immigrants to London.

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