Perth couple send flags in memory of their border ancestors
AN AUSTRALIAN couple, who visited Gilnockie Tower last autumn, sent two of their country’s flags to be flown from the tower’s flagpoles on Australia Day.
Shellie and Brett Cummings of Western Australia had travelled to the UK to seek out her family line, both here on the border and in Midlothian where a number are buried.
During the time she spent in Gilnockie Tower checking out her Armstrong background, a considerable amount of
Australian/Scots banter flowed back and forth.
Shellie later wrote to the tower to say she hoped they recalled the visit and the offer that, if she sent an Australian flag, it would be flown on one of the flagpoles on Australia Day.
Since returning home, Shellie contacted her state member of parliament Amber-Jade
Sanderson MLA, Morley, and her federal member of parliament Patrick Gorman MP, Perth, and asked them to donate flags to be flown at the tower on Australia Day which is
celebrated on January 26.
Both members were delighted with the idea and gave Shellie and Brett an Australian flag and a Western Australian flag, both official flags, made for the Australian government.
Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the first fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain and the first Governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1770 and raised the Union Jack to signal the beginning of the colony.
During their visit Shellie and Brett drove the Reiver Trail and said they ‘thoroughly enjoyed the drive’ and found the Mangerton Tower ruins along a very interesting track.
While in Canonbie, Shellie met Peter Wotherspoon and he gave her a history of the parish of Canonbie.
They viewed many Armstrong headstones in the churchyard. One was for Mary Armstrong (1761-1824) who had married John Foster.
Mary was the sister of
Shellie’s ancestor Christopher (1754-1807) and they were the children of John Armstrong and Grizel Scott.
Shellie said it was a strange, exciting and comforting feeling knowing she was family.