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Ferguson dons clan tartan.

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Laurie Ferguson MP

Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services

Ferguson dons clan tartan 1 July 2009

Attending the Australian Scottish Heritage Council’s annual Tartan Day celebrations in Sydney today, the Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, Laurie Ferguson, extended his best wishes to fellow Scots celebrating the occasion.

Tartan Day is a celebration of Scottish heritage and commemorates the 1782 repeal of an English law that had banned the wearing of tartan.

‘I’m proud to be here as a member of Clan Fergusson,’ Mr Ferguson said.

‘It seems my clan has particularly excelled in the field of politics. In addition to three of us in the Australian Parliament, there are also two ‘Fergussons’ in the Scottish Parliament.’

A citizenship ceremony at Martin Place in Sydney will form a key part of Tartan Day celebrations today.

Mr Ferguson will be a special guest at the citizenship for six people from Spain, Ireland, England and, of course, Scotland at midday.

‘Tartan Day is a wonderful time to join our great nation, perhaps especially for those who will further strengthen our links with Scotland,’ Mr Ferguson said.

Worldwide, some 25 million people are of Scottish descent, and in recent years, there has been significant growth in the number of people in Australia identifying themselves as having Scottish heritage.

In the 2006 Census, more than 1.5 million Australians claimed Scottish ancestry compared to 500 000 in the 2001 Census.

Famous Scots in Australia include Lachlan Macquarie, who was New South Wales governor from 1810 to 1821. Mr Macquarie came from the Isle of Ulva in the Hebrides, while John Macarthur joined the Second Fleet to Sydney in 1790 and eventually founded the wool industry in Australia.

‘I’m proud to say that those early Scottish settlers maintained their cultural identity and their descendants have continued to maintain Highland communities in Australia,’ Mr Ferguson said.

Tartan Day’s celebrations in Sydney’s Martin Place are part of Scottish Heritage Week during which people of Scottish background celebrate their heritage with pipes, drums and highland dancing.

Media contact: Carla Wilshire 0432 755 935

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URL: /parlsec/media/media-releases/2009/lf09038.htm Last update: 01 July 2009 at 10:11 AEST