The 2019 Murray Clan gathering will take place during the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival

Clan Murray at the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival. File photo
Clan Murray at the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival. File photo

Forty years ago, 600 people with Murray connections came from near and far to gather on the banks of the Manning River at Wingham to commemorate their shared heritage. It was expected that 200 would attend.

Former Murray girls Alice Gleeson, Suzy Martin, Mary Martin, Kath Murray and Lily Sambell, along with Fred Murray and Alan Martin, were key figures in making it happen. Out of this gathering formed the Murray Clan Society of NSW.

An early president, Harry Murray of Dyers Crossing, was instrumental in conducting annual dinner dances in the Wingham Services Club with more than 150 attending on a regular basis. Toasts were received with great enthusiasm, as was the haggis which was piped in with great ceremony and the old time dancing found the floor filled to capacity.

Most attendees were descended from the widow Isabella, who migrated with her 10 children in the late 1940s. She had nine boys and one girl, Agnes, who married William Paterson. Most settled in the Manning and Wallamba districts.

Fifteen years ago Warwick Murray and Eric Richardson OAM, himself of Scottish heritage, thought it was time the Murrays "swam in a bigger pond with other local Scots". The Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival Committee was born under the umbrella of the Manning Valley Historical Society. This festival has proved to be a huge success.

This year's Murray gathering will be held in conjunction with the Bonny Wingham Scottish Festival and will feature a dinner on Saturday, June 1 in the Wingham Showground supper rooms. Music will be provided by Judith and Tony Stuart of Goulburn. Judith is of direct lineage to the Murrays through the prominent local Northam family. 

The evening will feature a three course meal and the fascinating haggis ceremony. Toasts will be proposed to the ancestors, the Clan, and the distance travellers. 

For more information contact Warwick Murray on 0466 884 622 or heliopod5@gmail.com.