Helmsdale, home of The Emigrants Statue, hosts the Diaspora Tapestry
It's a good job we thought of it first really!
Helmsdale's way up in the North East, just south of Wick, with a fine arts reputation. Not only did it win the nation's Creative Place Award in 2014 but it's home to a very fine sculpture of The Emigrants unveiled in 2010 by First Minister Alex Salmond.
The statue was commissioned by millionaire Dennis MacLeod, a local Sutherland man who made his fortune in gold mining in South Africa. He is determined that the clearances are not forgotten. Alex Salmond said the statue celebrated the Scots' triumph over adversity and the plaque reminds us that those who were forced to leave for a new life took their culture and enterprise with them.
So there could scarcely be a more appropriate location to display our Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. And as was to be expected of Helmsdale, the local knitting group [pictured below at work and at the Official Opening by Gordon Prestoungrange and Arran Johnston on October 28th] had metamorphosed and transferred its skills to creating a panel that honours The Rutherford Collies.
Collies? Yes, Border collie dogs that came to Sutherland with the Cheviot sheep and then made their way to Kildonan, Victoria, Australia after John Rutherford and his six sons emigrated there. Soon after his arrival he sent home for two collies and Clyde and Lassie joined them in 1864 to become the progenitors of a new breed Down Under of Rutherford Roughs -commemorated in Panel AU17 used in the poster below.
Published Date: November 4th 2014