#29 Discover an Affinity with the Ancestors

Genetic throwbacks in families can be out-of-the-blue events, and I’m told there was some initial surprise when I was born. In an extended family where everyone was generally dark haired and olive skinned, this new baby with red hair and pale skin, while not unwelcome, was a little unexpected. It seems my mother had forgotten that her late, grey-haired grandmother had once been a redhead.

This has finally led to my investigating my antecedents and in particular, looking to:

#29 Discover an Affinity with the Ancestors

Some years ago, I heard a family rumour that a paternal great-grandfather, despite being of southern Italian stock, was a redhead. Alas, the only photograph I have of him is in sepia hues:

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Were you really a Ginger?
(and it’s okay for me to ask – as Tim Minchin says, only a Ginger can call another Ginger, Ginger)

So it seems that great-grandpapa’s genes combined with my Scottish great-grandmama’s genes to produce the unexpected colouring in a wee bairn a few generations later.

But while I have no doubts about my affinity for so many things Italian (think home-grown tomatoes, opera and anything to do with the preparation of, cooking of and eating of food) an affinity for things Scottish has been singularly missing in my life.

Until recently.

Did you know that every April, Bundanoon, a delightful town in the Southern Highlands of NSW turns into Brigadoon? 

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…to the extent that the sign into town is changed…

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…and even the Bundanoon railway platform has a makeover…

Bundanoon railway in April

And this year, by sheer accident, I happened to be in Bundanoon/Brigadoon on April 9th for the 39th Bundanoon Highland Gathering with my sister who, although not a redhead, has the same Scottish blood and a strange affinity for the bagpipes.

Pipe band

And what can bring a lump to the throat more than hearing a Scottish Pipe Band play Waltzing Matilda?  [click on picture]

How quickly one can develop a warmth for one’s ancestors. The moment I spotted the Highland Gathering mascot with his ginger hair and ginger moustache, I felt truly at home.


Some participants took the suggestion to dress for the occasion quite literally…


 And who ever said they’re not influenced by advertising…

Walkers shortbread…has never taken real, buttery, Scottish shortbread home and found it doesn’t last long …

ShortbreadBut the best thing about discovering an affinity with Scotland is the news that the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is coming to Melbourne next year.

Bagpipes and Gingers? I’ve booked the tickets already…

2 thoughts on “#29 Discover an Affinity with the Ancestors

  1. Judy Wilkinson

    I love this Carolyn! The Wilkinsons of course have Scottish blood as does son-in-law Tim. Both own kilts and tartans and the Wilkinsons have bagpipes and a piper. We’re all booked for the Tattoo too! Love the pics.


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