Events since 1900

1900 - 1969

Dating back to the 1900 era are Minute Books for Clan Macdonald Yarraville, Victoria, Australia, in which references made to earlier meetings of the group, which was started in 1854.

In 1910 Alexander Bosville-Macdonald was granted a decree of legitimacy by the Lord Lyon and assumed the Baronetcy of 1625, thus becoming ‘Sir Alexander Wentworth Macdonald-Bosville, Bt., of Thorpe’. Shortly thereafter he obtained a matriculation of arms as ‘14th Baronet of Sleat and Representative of the House of Macdonald of Sleat’.

In 1911 three Chiefs of Clan Donald put their names to a document addressed "To the Whole Kin and Name of Clan Donald”. They were Aeneas Ranald McDonell, Glengarry, Alexander Macdonald of the Isles, Sleat, and Angus R. Macdonald, Clanranald, and the document stated that following the forfeiture of John Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross and the death without issue of his grandson Donald Dubh, the various branches of Clan Donald separated from each other. Whilst none of the chiefs relinquished his claim to the supreme chiefship, the document signified the agreement to the Chief of Sleat using the designation ‘of the Isles’. This document is known in the Glengarry family as ‘the Tuapsé agreement’, as it was at Tuapsé in South Russia that Glengarry signed it, Clanranald having signed in Bordeaux, France, and Sleat at the family home of Thorpe Hall in Yorkshire.

In 1934 Clan Macdonald Victoria began. Minute books exist from that date on.

It was not until 1947, that Clan Donald saw precedence being given to one chief – as ‘the first among equals’ when the Lord Lyon, King of Arms in Scotland, named the Rt. Hon. Alexander Godfrey Macdonald, 7th Lord Macdonald of Sleate in the County of Antrim, the father of the present Lord Macdonald, as High Chief of Clan Donald and granted him the undifferenced Arms of Macdonald of Macdonald. This was done after consultation with the other three chiefs and was influenced by the fact that Lord Macdonald was the only one of them living in Scotland and owning land there at the time.

In 1951, after his succession to the title, Sir Somerled, the 16th Baronet, renounced the style ‘of the Isles’ , took the surname of Macdonald of Sleat as Chief of Sleat and publicly acknowledged Lord Macdonald as High Chief of Clan Donald. In 1954 the High Chief of Clan Donald appointed Reginald Macdonald of Kingsburgh and Castle Camus, O.B.E. as High Commissioner (Ard Toschachdeor) for Clan Donald in America.

It was not until 1956, however, that the Clan Donald Society of America (later Clan Donald USA) was incorporated in Pennsylvania.

In 1959 the first Clan Donald organisation in New Zealand was formed in Invercargill, Southland, as the Clan Donald Society of New Zealand, with its name later being altered to Clan Donald Society of New Zealand – Southland.
1959 The Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, under the Presidency of Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton, initiated a ceremony to be held on 13th February each year at Glencoe to commemorate the Massacre. It became the custom for Clan Donald organisations worldwide to take turns to sponsor and, where practicable, lay a wreath for Clan Donald. The Edinburgh Society organised this event for 51 years up until 2009.

1959 also saw the formation of Clan Donald Queensland primarily through the efforts of A G Macdonald in Mackay, central Queensland.

In 1960, the next New Zealand Clan Donald organisation was established in Dunedin, Otago. Unfortunately it went into recess about two years later, but was re-established in 1990.

In 1964 the Ordnance Survey re-plotted the approximate site of the grave of the Macdonalds who fell in the Battle of Culloden from data on the original survey of 1867. On Saturday, 16th July, 1966, the Clan Donald Memorial on Culloden Battlefield was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Lord Macdonald, the first High Chief of Clan Donald, and the Warden of the National Trust for Scotland, Neil MacDonald, unveiled the commemorative plaque. A wreath was laid at the stone by Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton, President of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, on behalf of all clansmen and Lord Doune, Convenor of the Culloden Committee, called on the piper to play "MacDonald’s Salute” (Fàilte Chloinn Dhòmhnuill). The stone and plaque were erected, in co-operation with the Forestry Commission, by the National Trust for Scotland from a fund initiated by Ethel Macdonald of Louisiana, USA, and Alastair Macdonald of Nova Scotia, Canada: "To honour all Macdonalds killed at Culloden and in battle elsewhere”. Many other members of Clan Donald later contributed to the fund. "A Chlannaibh Chuinn, Cuimhnichibh”.

In 1966 Graham Macdonald, with some motivated clans folk, helped  to establish Clan Donald New South Wales.

1970 - to date

In 1970 the 7th Lord Macdonald died suddenly, leaving his son and heir a heavily indebted estate.

The following year, 1971, the High Council of Clan Donald Chiefs was formed and it created the Clan Donald Lands Trust, which purchased a portion of Lord Macdonald’s estate, including Armadale Castle, for the ‘fostering of clan sentiment’. Glengarry and Clanranald were amongst the Trustees, but Sleat was withdrawn at the request of the Tutor of Sleat. The Lord and Lady Macdonald travelled to the United States to raise funds for the CDLT, but progress was slow, despite many generous donations.

In 1976 Ellice McDonald, Jr, of Delaware was appointed High Commissioner of Clan Donald USA by Lord Macdonald and he and his wife Rosa used their energy and financial resources to reinvigorate and reorganise the organisation. He incorporated Clan Donald-USA, Inc. and divided the country into 13 regions, appointing regional and state commissioners. The magazine, "By Sea By Land," was published and regional and state newsletters were distributed. Today CDUSA is thriving and has more than 4,000 families.

1978 saw the publication of ‘Clan Donald’ by Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton. This invaluable publication lent heavily on the ‘The Clan Donald’ (1894-1904) three volumes by two cousins, The Revs. Angus and Archibald Macdonald.

In the early 1970s there were already a few Clan Donald groups in Canada and Glengarry and Lady Glengarry visited one in Guelph, Ontario, in 1973. They also met with Judge Ian MacDonell, the then High Commissioner of Clan Donald in Canada, and with John H. Macdonald of the Clan Donald Council.

In 1979 Norman H. MacDonald’s ‘The Clan Ranald of Knoydart & Glengarry’ was published. It was revised and corrected in 1995.

In the late ‘70s, Ellice McDonald became a Trustee of the Clan Donald Lands Trust and he and his wife Rosa, who was also a Trustee, became generous benefactors.

In 1981 articles of incorporation for the Clan Donald Foundation, Inc. were filed in the State of Delaware, enabling Americans to make tax deductible contributions to the Foundation that generate funds to be sent from the USA to Scotland for a variety of Clan purposes, but largely for the benefit of the Clan Donald Lands Trust.

May 1984 saw the dedication and opening of the once-derelict Stables at the Clan Donald Centre, as a restaurant, gift shop, offices and luxury apartments, with clansfolk worldwide being represented. There are also beautiful gardens with spectacular views and a variety of accommodation and at that time a small museum.

In 1990 Clan Donald Otago, New Zealand was re-established under the Presidency of Colin F. McDonald, who was one of the original founders of the Invercargill Society.

Also in New Zealand, it wasn’t until 1991 that a Clan Donald group formed in Christchurch, Canterbury.

Prior to 1992 in Canada there were several Clan Donald organisations in Nova Scotia, i.e. Antigonish, Halifax, Annapolis, Donald, Pictou County and Angus* (*a group of descendants of brothers Donald and Angus). In Ontario the Glengarry/Stormont branch had been in place for some time and there was another active branch in Kingston, Ontario. Moribund branches in Toronto and Ottawa were later revived.

In 1992, following the deaths of Judge Ian MacDonell, High Commissioner of Clan Donald in Canada, and of Lt. Col Gordon Leggatt of the Clan Donald Council, the High Chief appointed E. Brundage MacDonald as High Commissioner, John H. Macdonald as Deputy High Commissioner and Duncan ‘Darby’ MacDonald as Honorary Secretary of Clan Donald Canada, and instructed them to make it a national organisation.

In 1993 the three Macdonalds appointed by the High Chief to reorganise Clan Donald in Canada agreed procedures for the organisation. In 1996 Clan Donald Canada was incorporated.

16th April, 1996 was the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden and the 22nd Chief of Glengarry, Air Commodore Donald MacDonell of Glengarry, and his wife Lois organised wreath laying at Clan Donald Stones following the ceremony at the Main Cairn and a luncheon afterwards. This has been continued - on the nearest Saturday to 16th April – annually by Lois, Lady Glengarry, since Donald’s death in 1999.

Despite earlier attempts, it was not until 1997 that a Clan Donald Society was established in Auckland, New Zealand.

1999 death of the 22nd Chief of Glengarry, Air Commodore Aeneas Ranald Donald MacDonell of Glengarry, at home in Fortrose, Ross-shire.

In 2001 the High Council of Clan Donald’s tours to various different areas of the Highlands of Scotland and Antrim began with a tour based in Glencoe. The tours have proved extremely popular and have continued in June every year since. 2002 saw the opening of the newly built ‘Museum of the Isles’ at the Clan Donald Lands Trust on Skye. It has extensive archives and valuable artefacts - many of which were given by another benefactor of both chattels and money, the Glengarry inheritrix, Marsaili Cunningham of Balgownie. The bulk of the funding was from the Glencoe Foundation Inc. - backed by Ellice and Rosa McDonald.

In 2003 the High Council of Clan Donald Chiefs reinstated the ancient ‘Comhairle na Eilean’ , the Council of the Isles, which served as an advisory council to the Lords of the Isles of old. The role of this ‘ Finlaggan Council’ is to advise on issues referred to them by the Clan Donald Chiefs and raise appropriate issues.

2005 was the year of publication of ‘From Dogfight to Diplomacy’ the edited memoirs of the late Air Commodore Donald MacDonell, CB, DFC, 22nd Chief of Glengarry.

In 2006 Clan Donald South Australia was established.

In 2008 Norman H. MacDonald’s history ‘The Clan Ranald of Garmoran’ was published. In 2008 Clan Donald Western Australia began in its current form.

In 2009 a Clan Donald group was formed in Wellington, New Zealand.

In 2010 the commemoration of the Massacre of Glencoe was organised by a group of Clan Donald adherents in collaboration with the Glencoe Heritage Trust. In 2010 a Clan Donald group was also formed in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, and Clan Donald New Zealand formed a federation, but with each group maintaining its individual identity.

In 2010 a branch of Clan Donald Canada was established in the Sydney area of Nova Scotia.

In 2010, The Clan Donald Society of the Highlands and Islands was inaugurated in the Highlands of Scotland.

In 2010 the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh handed the responsibility for the Glencoe Massacre commemoration to the Clan Donald Lands Trust (known as Clan Donald Skye), which carried this out on 13 February, 2011, in association with the Glencoe Heritage Trust and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Glencoe.

In 2011 Clan Donald Skye passed responsibility for the Glencoe Massacre commemoration to the Clan Donald Society of the Highlands and Islands, which carried this out in combination with the Glencoe Heritage Trust and St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Glencoe.

In June 2011  First Clan Donald Service at Iona Abbey for 500 years.

In 2012 death of Somerled Donald St. Maur Macdonald,16th of Kingsburgh, in Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA.

In 2013 death of Ellice McDonald, Jnr., aged 100. Past High Commisioner Clan Donald USA, founder of the Glencoe Foundation and the Clan Donald Foundation, past Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Clan Donald Lands Trust and, with his late wife, Rosa, generous benefactor to the Clan Donald Lands Trust, the Ghurka Welfare Trust Foundation and many Scottish charities.

In 2013 death of Major Nigel Chamberlayne-Macdonald, the Tutor of Sleat when his nephew, Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat, was a minor.

Any corrections and/or additional material will be welcomed, if sent to contact@clandonald.org

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