Whilst in the UK recently for the First Eight Project focusing on Andrew Fisher, the Australian Studies Institute (AuSI) was pleased to make a trip to the village of Crosshouse, East Ayrshire, Scotland – the birthplace of Andrew Fisher, Australia’s fifth Prime Minister.
The AuSI delegation, consisting of Professor Paul Pickering (Director), Professor Shirley Leitch (Professorial Fellow), Dr David Headon (Foundation Fellow), Professor Bruce Scates (Foundation Fellow) and Jemima Parker (Marketing + Communications Officer), met with representatives from the Crosshouse Community Council, East Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Leisure Trust.
Jason Sutcliffe, Team Leader, Collection Care, East Ayrshire Leisure treated the AuSI delegation to a viewing of the Freedom of the Burgh of Kilmarnock, and associated Burgh of Kilmarnock Freedom Casket. These were presented to Andrew Fisher at a ceremony in July 1911 when he visited Kilmarnock and Crosshouse for the coronation of King George V. Fisher was Prime Minister of Australia at the time. The historic document and silver casket are usually housed in the Dean Castle Museum, Kilmarnock.
The AuSI delegation also enjoyed a visit to the recently refurbished Andrew Fisher Memorial Cairn and surrounding area. A particular highlight was the artwork created by children of the Crosshouse Primary School, which has been displayed on the walls surrounding the cairn.
Tina Gaitens, Head Teacher, Crosshouse Community School had tasked the children with creating artwork to highlight the connections between Australia and Crosshouse. The AuSI delegation were very taken with the resulting artworks. AuSI Director Professor Paul Pickering was particularly taken with a tartan kangaroo created by David Short and offered his warmest congratulations to all students involved.
AuSI would like to thank the following Crosshouse representatives for their wonderful hospitality and congratulate all involved with the refurbishment of the Andrew Fisher Memorial Cairn.
- Janice Smyth, Chair of Crosshouse Community Council
- Sadie McHarg, Vice Chair of Crosshouse Community Council
- Richard Bartling
East Ayrshire Council/East Ayrshire Leisure Trust:
- Katie Kelly, Depute Chief Executive, Safer Communities
- Bob (Robert) McCulloch, Head of Housing and Communities
- Tina Gaitens, Head Teacher, Crosshouse Primary School
- Jason Sutcliffe, Team Leader, Collection Care
- Irene Hall, Project Manager
View photographs from the AuSI Crosshouse visit»
View artwork by Crosshouse Primary School students»
For more news from AuSI's 2019 First Eight Project UK trip see:
AuSI abroad: First Eight Project bound for the UK
UK turns out for First Eight Lecture: Andrew Fisher - Australia's 5th PM
Listen to the lecture in full: 'So much more than a Prime Minister': Andrew Fisher (1862-1928)