Catherine MacQuarie McDonald

Other names: 
Mrs Donald McDonald, maiden name MacQuarie
Dates: 
1804 -1875

Catherine was born on the Isle of Ulva, just off the west of the Isle of Mull and her family lived on the Isle of Gometra, accessed across a causeway from Ulva.

When her fisherman husband Donald died, Catherine applied to the Highlands and Islands Emigration Society to gain a passage to Australia to escape poverty after becoming widowed and left with 10 children to bring up on her own. Their children were Neil, Euphemia, Ann, Malcolm, Margaret, Flora, Mary, Catherine, Sarah and Christina.

The society was set up by Sir Charles Trevelyan in 1852 to relieve the suffering in the Highlands. Catherine had to lie about her age to overcome the age restriction of 45 for applicants. On 23 August 1853, the family set sail on the New Zealander from Liverpool, arriving in Portland, Victoria on 30 November.

Donated by her descendants in Victoria, a plaque was unveiled on 23 August 2017 in Baileclaidh village, Gometra, where the family lived, by the owner of the island Roc Sandford and the postmistress Rhoda Munro.

Sources
Island Honour for Expats
The Scotsman 23 August 2017 Moira Kerr
Scots widow with 10 kids left grinding poverty behind to start amazing Aussie dynasty
Daily Record 23 August 2017 Moira Kerr