The 20th Anniversary of the Clan MacRae Society was held at Bungendore in Southern New South Wales over the weekend of 3 to 5 October 2008.
This was the first reunion of the Society held in the area and participants enjoyed a gathering with activities based largely on the pattern adopted at Bathurst the preceding year as well as taking the opportunity of enjoying the many attractions offered by the township of Bungendore and the wider Canberra area.
The weekend commenced with a most enjoyable and relaxed informal buffet dinner for members of the Society at the home of Jenny and Bruce Amey at Carwoola. Following a superb evening those participants staying at Bungendore returned to the township in convoy - the back way.
Activities on the Saturday commenced with an interesting and successful innovation for gatherings of the Society - a presentation and workshop on the utilisation of family history and genealogy resources in Australia and Scotland was held at the Bungendore Bowling Club. The workshop was conducted by a small team from the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra led by Rhonda Kerr and was highly successful. Participants gained a great deal of relevant information in an enjoyable and informative workshop. A wonderful morning tea was provided by the Bowling Club. Society members and participants then adjourned to an informal lunch at Heritage on the Square at Bungendore where we met up with many fellow members of the society who had just arrived.
The Reunion Dinner was held at the Carrington Inn on the Saturday evening.
The official party led the way into the dining room preceded by Piper Bob Stanhouse and flag bearers bearing the Clan Banner and the flags of Australia and New Zealand and the Saltire. As at Bathurst, Colin McRae was superb as MC for the evening and in the course of the evening a speech welcoming members of the Society was made by Mark McRae (on behalf of the organising committee) and the keynote speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the Society was made by the Vice President of the Society, Alan McRae. Many members of the Society who, unfortunately, were not able to attend sent apologies, notable amongst these being our President Ian McCrae and his wife Joan and the President of the Clan MacRae Society in the UK, Mrs Marigold MacRae and her husband James Parker Jarvis. Once again, Alan McRae prepared a splendid display of memorabilia and artefacts.
The major entertainment for the evening was lead by Bill Motherway, very ably assisted by Austin McRae. There was great hilarity during the singing competition with each table, accompanied by Bill on the accordion, competing for a prize. The raffle prize this year was a magnificent quilt (quilted by Maureen Elgood and hand embroidered by Jenny Amey) depicting the flags of Australia and New Zealand , the Saltire and the Clan Badge and the Clan tartans bordering a picture of Eilean Donan Castle. The cake was cut by the two senior members of the Society present, Magdalen Sillis and Roger McRae and the singing competition was won by the table comprising Max and Janice Browning, Rick and Margaret Mills and Elma, Chris, Tom and James McRae. Jude Woodford was the winner of the quilt.
On the Sunday morning 12 brave MacRaes took the Sightseeing Adventure Bus into Canberra with Bruce Amey as the competent driver and Bob Elgood as the capable tour guide. First stop was Mt Ainslie Lookout via a drive through the historic Duntroon, then a drive past the Australian War Memorial onto Anzac Parade to see the numerous Memorials. The group then stopped off at the Australian Museum for morning tea and a tour of this great collection of Aussie memorabilia. After the Museum we were taken for a drive past of New Parliament House and Aboriginal Embassy. The bus driver had a seniors' moment and went down a one way street the wrong way to old Parliament House. When a passenger commented on this they were told 'we are going one-way'!!! The new Defence Headquarters was next on our tour which was very impressive from our view looking through the security fence. Heading back to Bungendore we all felt like the 'Griswalds on holiday in London' as the bus repeatedly circled the roundabout and finally found the exit lane.
The reunion and gathering concluded with a very hearty and relaxed luncheon back at the Bungendore Bowling Club where, afterwards, we all said slan leat until next year.
Special thanks for a successful and enjoyable reunion and gathering must go to the Organising Committee, particularly Jenny Amey, as well as to Alan McRae, Mark McRae, Colin McRae, Bill Motherway, Bruce Amey, Maureen Elgood, the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra and Norma Luton from the Bungendore Bowling Club.