Meet Some Australians
Meet Some Australians
submitted by David Jones
When Ann and I were planning our January 2008 trip to Australia, we wanted to be sure to meet MacLennans from "down under". So, we naturally contacted Max and Mary McLennan and Bruce and Pru McLennan. They live in Melbourne and Sydney respectively [well, suburbs of these two great cities, actually] and we had both cities in our itinerary.
b. Mary [Max] Liz & Ivan McLennan Max [Mary] McLennan Bob & Patsy McLennan Frankie [Graeme] Ann [David]
c. Wes & Heather Vickers Geoff & Marion McLennan
f. Reg & Carol Davis Graeme [Frankie] McLennan David [Ann] Jones
ff. Pat & Bruce McLennan
Photo by: Mary Cooper
Frankie, Mary Cooper Graeme
b. Mary Carol & Reg Wes & Heather
f. Ivan Max Liz Pat & Bruce
Reg Mary Geoff & Marion Frankie
b. Patsy & Bob Bruce
f. Graeme Heather & Wes
Max even had it arranged to that Ann and I changed seats with Max and Mary part way through so that we could all visit.
And what a time we had! Clan connections, family histories and stories, travel tales... lovely food and a plentiful supply of delicious Australian wines. We even got into a minor clothing exchange when Bruce McLennan offered me his "MacLennan ancient" shirt the next day, although our sizes aren't quite the same so the exchange wasn't consummated.
Ann and I were fortunate in that we only had to walk back to our room - the others had to be mindful of Australia's rather tough drinking/driving laws - but all made it home safely.
Next day, Max and Mary were back to fetch us at the hotel for a wonderful day's outing to Philip Island at the head of Philip Bay. Two different nature sanctuaries to see and feed koala bears, kangaroo and emu and a lot of other Australian wildlife.
After some refreshment, we went in the evening to view some seals then one of the most incredible sights we have ever seen - the Parade of the LIttle Penguins. Unfortunately, no pictures, since the camera flashes would disrupt the penguins.
These rather small birds hunt and travel in family groups of usually around 6-15 birds. They had been out at sea hunting and eating for 1, and sometimes 2 or 3, days. They return to their nesting area at twilight. We were all aligned about 50 feet above the beach; you don't see them coming, but suddenly the water starts to ripple and the first group emerges and starts to waddle across the sandy beach. Then another group... and another... Below us, they disappear from sight as they finish crossing the beach and enter the bushes that are growing down along the cliff below us. Meantime more and more groups are emerging from the water and waddling across the sand towards us...
Suddenly, just below us, where the bushes end, first one, then two, then a whole family group emerge from the bushes, waddling right towards us. We are on a slightly elevated walkway, and the penguins waddle right under it as they search for their particular nesting area in the sand under the bushes that are behind us. One at a time, the second family group, and third... and so on... emerge and fan out to find their areas.
And down below, others are still emerging from the water to start their trek up the cliff.
This process went on for probably 3/4 of an hour until thousand of the Little Penguins had completed the trek.
At first, there was a lot of noise as they settled in, but gradually their noise died down as they went to sleep - a process not unlike kids bedding down and finally drifting off to sleep when they get together for family gatherings!
It was utterly amazing to me how few of these birds seemed to be lost or disoriented, but there were a few who didn't seem to be part of a family group.
A long, full day - more so for Max who handled the hour- plus drive back to Melbourne. But, they were back bright and early the next day...
And took us on another delightful outing. This time, west of Melbourne to Ballaratt, with its gold mining museum and restored village of how Ballaratt was in the 1850's at the height of the Australian gold rush. This pioneer village was very entertaining, with many activities like gold mining and the forge being actual working replicas of the originals. Even the rain didn't dampen spirits - an umbrella and a bit of mud just added authenticity!
Mary & Max
Back for dinner at their favourite restaurant, then time to say farewell to two wonderful people. Thanks again, Max and Mary, and we're looking forward to seeing you in Edinburgh in July 2009 at the Gathering of the Clans.
We went on to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef for a week then flew to Sydney, Australia's largest city, where...
We were met at the arrival gate by Bruce and Prue McLennan!
Bruce & Prue
I "met" Bruce several years ago when he was doing the clan website and I had suggested to Win that we in the US would be smarter to collaborate with Bruce's site rather than produce our own... better to have one good site with more than one person who could keep it going than for each country to operate on its own.
Finally, we were able to meet face-to-face. It took them some 5 hours to drive us to the hotel, since we had a grand tour past Botany Bay,
South Head entrance to Sydney Harbour, and many of the closer-in suburbs as well as a dinner stop. And they invited us for dinner later in the week...
To Manly, about a 35 minute ferry trip through to the far end of Sydney Harbour, and what seems to be another world altogether. Sure, some beach side condos, but not the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Another circuitous and delightful drive, including the North Head entrance to Sydney Harbour, then we arrived at Bruce and Pru's for our only home-cooked meal of the entire trip. Lovely house, lovely folks, lovely time!! And we made it back to the ferry for the return trip to Sydney with a good 5 minutes to spare!
Thanks again Bruce and Prue - the wonderful company outdid the spectacular scenery!
Bruce Ann David Prue
A final reflection... Australia is a beautiful country, rich in natural scenery and wildlife. Charming people, friendly and outgoing. Even though I have no direct family linkage to either Max or Bruce, the extra bond from Clan and Association added immeasurably to our enjoyment of this trip.
And a final postscript... if any of you are interested in seeing more of the Committee members at our dinner in Melbourne, or our other photos of Australia [and a few of New Zealand where we stopped overnight in transit], I have them all online at
and you are most welcome to browse through them. Being online, your mail box won't get loaded!
David Jones lives near Panama City, Florida and is the web master for the USA section of this web site. He is a tenor drummer with the Panama City Pipes & Drums and an aspiring piper [who struggles much and doesn't practice often enough!].
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