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Australia Branch

Kim Polley OAM, Secretary
PO Box 84
Tasmania 7301

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Current News

New Publications - September 2023

The Chisholm Letters by Kim Polley

The Chisholm Letters reveal the raw story of Colin Chisholm. He was born in Dingwall, in the Scottish Highlands in 1803 and for most of his life he lived in Nairn, near Inverness.
The pages lay bare his struggles, worries and friendships as a poor working-class family man whose job placed him at the bottom of the social ladder.
Fortunes and misfortunes unravel through letters between Colin and his siblings who relocated to various parts of the globe. Their lives are richly painted through the harsh reality of the social conditions of the time, and are further illustrated with maps, photos, paintings and historic references.

After Colin’s death in 1868, through an assortment of notes, the reader follows the lives of Colin’s children and his siblings in the UK, Canada and Australia up to the early 1900s.

Further information on purchase of the book can be found here.

Australian and New Zealand Newsletter

The current joint Australian and New Zealand newsletter is available for download by clicking here.

2020 AGM in Ballarat

The Australian Branch AGM in 2020 was held at Ballarat, an old gold mining town in the state of Victoria. We spent a wonderful few days together.
A report of the AGM and other matters is included in our June 2020 Newsletter. A motion was passed that the next AGM be held in Queensland in about May 2021. I hope by then that COVID-19 will be under control. If you have any suggestions on where it should be held please advise the Secretary here.

2019 AGM in Adelaide

In April 2019 many of the Clan members gathered in Adelaide, South Australia for our Annual General Meeting.
We spent many wonderful days together exploring the surrounds thanks to the co-ordination of fellow member Philip Chisholm.
Check out our June 2019 newsletter here for information on our Adelaide excursion, our next AGM, DNA testing, Clearances from Strathglass, Macraes in Strathglass and more.

A World War One Memory - Elisabeth Mattie Chisholm

Enclosed is the history of Elisabeth Mattie Chisholm (1879-1958). Her full story can be found here.

Carolyn Chown will be pleased to assist anyone who would like to publish a similar story in our newsletter. Carolyn can be contacted by email here.

2018 AGM in Tasmania

In March 2018 several members of Clan Chisholm Australia Branch travelled to Tasmania to attend our Annual General Meeting.
We assembled in the north of the State initially and then travelled south exploring the Midlands area, Campbell Town, Ross, Richmond, Hobart, Cascades, Bruny Island and the Huon.
Whilst in the Huon we visited Tahune Adventures where we explored the wilderness and walked among the giants of the forest. It was great to see and touch the ancient Huon pines which are Tasmania's oldest living tree and known to have reached about 3000 years of age. It is possibly the world's oldest living tree.
Whilst we were at the Cascades Female Factory near Hobart we learned that a Scottish girl called Catherine Chisholm from Merkinch, Inverness had been incarcerated there in the 1850s. A story about her life is included in the 2019 Clan Chisholm Society Australia Branch newsletter of January 2019 here.

The Merchant of Sydney

A recent book has been published telling the rags-to-riches story of James Chisholm (1772-1837).
The flyer for the book is shown here and further information on purchase of the book can be obtained here.

The book is published by:
Australian Scholarly Publishing / Arcadia
P.O. Box 299
Vic 3101


The Clan Chisholm Society started in Australia in 1954. Miriam Chisholm, of "Kippilaw", Goulburn, NSW was the founder of the society here, having joined the Society in Scotland. She organised the first meeting in May 1954 in Sydney with Professor Alan Rowland Chisholm elected as the first president. A Victorian branch was formed later and later again amalgamated with the NSW branch.
Our clan has had many get-togethers over the years and meets annually for its AGM. For some years now this has been in March of each year. We tend to alternate our meetings between NSW and Victoria, often meeting at Goulburn, south west of Sydney, where the first Chisholm settler pioneered a sheep property in the 1830s. Many members, including Miriam Chisholm, are descendants of James Chisholm, the patriarch of this family who arrived at Sydney Town in 1790 as a military officer just two years after the initial British settlement.
Some highlights in the life of the Society in Australia have been the building of a cairn of stones from Chisholm connections all over the world. The first dedication was in 1963, and the cairn was finally completed and re-dedicated in 2002.
Another highlight was the launch of a book "The Clan Chisholm in Australia 1790-1990" in 1990. Celebrating 200 years of Chisholms in Australia, many Australian Chisholms submitted stories of their family?s emigration and settlement in this country. The launch was held at "Gledswood", Narellan, NSW, on the outskirts of Sydney. This property was also one of the original farms of the first Chisholm settler (James Chisholm), comprising a beautiful old homestead, garden and farm (now a vineyard).


Chisholm Bibliography

Genealogy Project