Braes of Breadalbane

The Lord of Breadalbane was the cousin of Elizabeth Campbell, later Mrs Lachlan Macquarie. In London, Elizabeth stayed at the Breadalbane’s house with her aunt, the Countess, an hospitable lady who also welcomed Lachlan on his return from campaigning in India. The Earl became a close friend to Macquarie and introduced him to fashionable high society, “the gay round of the season”, and the company of other aristocrats: Lord Castlereagh, the Duke of York, the Earl of Strathmore, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales.
In 1810 Macquarie was appointed the Governor of NSW and during his 11 years in the position, held many splendid balls and dance parties with guests from all sections of society. The country dance was the prevalent dance form, drawing upon a large variety of dance tempos such as strathspeys, reels, waltzes, minuets, hornpipes and jigs. The Braes of Breadalbane is a country dance in strathspey time, published in Skillern’s Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1795.

John Campbell, the 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Breadalbane (1762-1834) was Elizabeth’s cousin and Lachlan Macquarie’s close friend. Macquarie named several locations in Australia in his honour.

The strathspey originated in Scotland and spread throughout Europe during the “Golden Age” of Scottish dancing (late 1700s to early 1800s). In Australia, as in Scotland, it seems to have retained a degree of popularity even after quadrilles and couples dances became the predominant dance form. In the late Colonial period it regained popularity in the ballroom with the Strathspey & Reel and Strathspey & Reel of Tulloch.

One privilege of governorship that Macquarie clearly enjoyed was the right to name natural and man-made features in Australia after himself, his family, his associates, his superiors and favourite locations in his homeland….he distributed such names with great enthusiasm across the landscapes he encountered.

Macquarie. From Colony to Country.
Harry Dillon and Peter Butler, 2010.

The Braes of Breadalbane   Arr. Roland Clarke

Download the pdf

Country dance: triple minor longways

A1 1-4 1st couple turn with the right hand and cast off one place. 2nd couple move up.
5-8 1st couple turn with the left hand, the lady cast up, and the man cast down to finish in lines of three across the dance.
A2 1-8 1st, 2nd and 3rd couples set twice.
B1 1-4 1st lady cast down while 1st man casts up.  They turn with the right hand  and finish in lines of three on own side of the dance.
5-8 1st, 2nd and 3rd couples set twice.
B2 1-4 All three couples turn partners with both hands and return to places.
5-8 1st and 2nd couples dance rights and lefts.

Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1795.  Skillern, London.



Cohen, Lysbeth.  Elizabeth Macquaire; Her Life & Times. Wentworth Books, Syd. 1979.

Dillon, Harry & Butler, Peter. Macquarie. From colony to country. William Heinemann Australia, 2010.

M.H.Ellis. Lachlan Macquarie. His life, adventures and times. Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1973.

Information pertaining to Earl of Breadalbane,_1st_Marquess_of_Breadalbane accessed 12/12/2011

Painting by Angelica Kauffman (1741 – 1807) accessed 12/12/2012


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