Economic and social conditions led our Scottish forbears to join the mass exodus of Scots in the 19th century, mostly as families but sometimes alone. Influenced by the promises of John Dunmore Lang, some were assisted migrants; others made their own way. For some, the decision to migrate brought security and even wealth; for others at least improved circumstances despite their constant struggles. With them came their Scottish heritage.
First to leave in 1838 was a lowlander, Thomas Adam, a well educated cabinet maker, who could see no future in Kilmarnock where opportunities for his class were rare. A number of ancestors left Scotland in the 1850s, some escaping the slums of Glasgow and Paisley after they moved there to work in industries. They include a coach builder from Argyllshire, John McCallum, his wife Ann McArthur, their three children (1860), Archibald Campbell and his wife Mary Elliott (1855) as well as his parents Hugh Campbell and Ellen Gilmore (1863). The Campbells had left their agricultural life in County Tyrone to work in the Paisley cotton mills. They were not the only ancestors from Ulster who identified as Scots in NSW. John McAllister and Jennett White (1856) from County Antrim, like the Campbells, became pioneers near Tenterfield; William Adams and Mary Ann McIntyre hailed from Donegal (1838).
Findlay Duthie, a Scottish mariner from Aberdeen, sailed to Melbourne with his brother on their ship ‘Gem’ (1853). The last of the Scottish ancestors to arrive were a mariner John Montgomery, his wife Sarah Stevenson (1885) who also saw the promise of a better life for their four children than they had experienced. David Stevenson, a coal miner in the impoverished towns of Ayrshire died young, leaving Sarah’s mother Sarah Stobo, struggling to support her daughters as a muslin sewer in Irvine.