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TITLE
Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Eric Richards
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_05_ERIC_RICHARDS_Q_04
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Eric Richards
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41038
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
humanaspect

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Eric Richards answers the question:

'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?'

'The thing that struck me most of all in terms of my work in its Australian context - that's relating Scotland to Australia - is that I became terribly interested in Patrick Sellar, who, of course, is the notorious clearer in Sutherland in the 1810s, 1820s, and beyond, and doing a biography of Patrick Sellar, which I did some years ago, it was primarily of course about Scotland, and the Moray Firth, and Patrick Sellar's activities within Scotland, but his sons mainly emigrated, and the dispersion of his sons is rather interesting. They go to many to England and United States but one of them, at least, comes to Australia and I eventually followed that son to Australia - he became an eminent businessman in Melbourne actually, Robert Sellar I think it was - and he married into the Lang family from Selkirk, who were in Australia, and they became considerable pastoralists in the western district of Victoria.

Well, I linked up with those descendants and went, long ago now, to visit the descendants in their country property in Tetanga, I think it was, in Victoria, and spent the night there, and looked at some of their old papers. But they had an old family album, several old family albums, which were not much looked at, and hadn't been for a long time, and we leafed through them and saw all these Victorian worthies and Edwardian pictures, and then suddenly there was one there of - guess who? Patrick Sellar himself, which was most astonishing! There I am in deepest rural Victoria looking at Patrick Sellar, in the face, you know, a photograph of him, late in his life, probably about 1849. So it's at a very early...

Interviewer: Early photograph?

...photograph, yes. So archivaly it's terrifically interesting, but for me, this was startling and I've used that in the biography, and it's now reproduced quite a lot. And we think it's authentic but of course the problem with old historical photographs is that they're not often very clearly, clearly captioned. So you're not absolutely certain, but we think it's him, and we're going to go by that for the moment.

Interviewer: Ok.

So that was a moment of discovery.

Interviewer: Yes.

Surprising.'


BIOGRAPHY

Eric Richards is Professor of History at Flinders University, Adelaide, having previously taught at Stirling and Adelaide Universities. His specialist subject is the Highland Clearances and his acclaimed biography of Patrick Sellar was awarded the prize for Scottish History Book of the Year (1999). His most recent books are 'Britiannia's Children. Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600', (London and New York, Hambledon and London, 2004); 'Debating the Highland Clearances' (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and 'Destination Australia: Migration since 1901' (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press 2008).

Image copyright: Susy Macaulay

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Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Eric Richards

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; humanaspect;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Eric Richards answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?'<br /> <br /> 'The thing that struck me most of all in terms of my work in its Australian context - that's relating Scotland to Australia - is that I became terribly interested in Patrick Sellar, who, of course, is the notorious clearer in Sutherland in the 1810s, 1820s, and beyond, and doing a biography of Patrick Sellar, which I did some years ago, it was primarily of course about Scotland, and the Moray Firth, and Patrick Sellar's activities within Scotland, but his sons mainly emigrated, and the dispersion of his sons is rather interesting. They go to many to England and United States but one of them, at least, comes to Australia and I eventually followed that son to Australia - he became an eminent businessman in Melbourne actually, Robert Sellar I think it was - and he married into the Lang family from Selkirk, who were in Australia, and they became considerable pastoralists in the western district of Victoria.<br /> <br /> Well, I linked up with those descendants and went, long ago now, to visit the descendants in their country property in Tetanga, I think it was, in Victoria, and spent the night there, and looked at some of their old papers. But they had an old family album, several old family albums, which were not much looked at, and hadn't been for a long time, and we leafed through them and saw all these Victorian worthies and Edwardian pictures, and then suddenly there was one there of - guess who? Patrick Sellar himself, which was most astonishing! There I am in deepest rural Victoria looking at Patrick Sellar, in the face, you know, a photograph of him, late in his life, probably about 1849. So it's at a very early...<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Early photograph?<br /> <br /> ...photograph, yes. So archivaly it's terrifically interesting, but for me, this was startling and I've used that in the biography, and it's now reproduced quite a lot. And we think it's authentic but of course the problem with old historical photographs is that they're not often very clearly, clearly captioned. So you're not absolutely certain, but we think it's him, and we're going to go by that for the moment.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Ok.<br /> <br /> So that was a moment of discovery. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> Surprising.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Eric Richards is Professor of History at Flinders University, Adelaide, having previously taught at Stirling and Adelaide Universities. His specialist subject is the Highland Clearances and his acclaimed biography of Patrick Sellar was awarded the prize for Scottish History Book of the Year (1999). His most recent books are 'Britiannia's Children. Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600', (London and New York, Hambledon and London, 2004); 'Debating the Highland Clearances' (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and 'Destination Australia: Migration since 1901' (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press 2008).<br /> <br /> Image copyright: Susy Macaulay