|| The Mornington Peninsula Caledonian Society held their first Annual Meeting on 17th November 1953.The Society aimed to unite Scots and their families for their mutual enjoyment and to foster a love for, and the cultivation of the music of Scotland. They also aimed to exercise benevolence and welcomed Scots and their friends to the Mornington Peninsula.The society was affiliated with the V.S.U. in 1953 and in 1954 delegates from M.P.C.S. attended the V.S.U. conference in Warrnambool.The Society’s badge was designed and approved and was produced by Swan and Hudson in 1954 and sold to members for three shillings and nine-pence. Over the 50 years Socials, Highland Dancing competitions and Scottish Country Dancing classes were held regularly especially in the 50’s and 60’s. Debutante Balls were held with one hundred and fifty to two hundred people attending .Car Rallies, Picnics, Pub nights, Crazy Whist nights, Luncheons, Dinners, Ceilidhs, Children’s Christmas Parties, Hogmanay Celebrations were all organised by hard working committee members to provide an interesting cross section of activities for members to attend. Burn’s Suppers, St. Andrew’s Dinners, several Highland Gatherings and three Gymkhanas added to the variety.Throughout the years there has been a continual striving to obtain the Society’s own premises-as early as 1956 the Committee was considering buying land. Suggestions ranged from building a house on the land to putting a tennis court on the block and hiring the courts out to make money for the building fund. These ideas were constantly discussed at much length but never eventuated. In the 80’s however two Army huts were purchased with a view to renovating them for use as a Hall. Hours and hours of negotiating, working bees, and more negotiating with the Health commission, the S.E.C. Banks and Mornington Council failed to get the project off the ground. Three or four years down the track the committee with much disappointment, decided to sell the Huts. It is noted with interest that the quest for their own premises again surfaced in the 90’s when it was proposed to join with the then Moorabbin Pipe Band in an effort to obtain a Hall , this also failed.At the first Annual meeting in 1953 there were forty-nine members. Over the years membership has increased to over two hundred then fluctuated to the low twenties. This has happened several times. At times membership was so low that Special meetings were convened to discuss ways of attracting new members. Each time there has been one or two dedicated committee members who have provided a positive attitude and with hard work the Society has again flourished. We thank them!Over Fifty years the Society has hired just about every Hall in the District. Some venues were used for many years and some only once or twice. The state of the floor, the cleanliness or otherwise of the toilets, the Hall management and the cost of hiring these venues has been debated, discussed and recorded in detail, as has the Halls heating and cooling systems or lack of them.Lengthy discourse regarding catering constitutes many pages of minutes over the years. In the 50’s much discussion arose regarding what to charge for supper and at one meeting it was decided to supply one Queen cake and two cheese straws per person. At the turn of the Century the committees were discussing the cheapest way of providing quality meals with the rising cost of catering and it was generally agreed that providing a Buffet meal was the way to go.Complaints about catering have also been consistent throughout the years-poor service, not enough Haggis and too much Haggis have all been recorded. On occasions committees have been surprised and delighted to receive compliments on their efforts.In 1971 a Foundation member of the Society commented on poor attendances and stated that things had changed greatly and that there were many more clubs now, many of which provided alcohol, which was an attraction. A few years later it was minuted that at future functions one particular friend of a member be barred due to “his inability to hold his drink.”In the early 70’s a picnic was organised, to the Geelong Highland Gathering. A coach was booked, the cost being $2 for adults and $1 for children. B.Y.O picnic lunch and pay admission into the Games. These trips to the Geelong games ran for many years with three buses going one year.In 1985 the Society applied for and was incorporated.In the early 90’s the enthusiastic committee spent much time discussing the purchase of a tent to erect at the Highland Gatherings and so our familiar blue tent was bought We are grateful for their foresight..This was the beginning of another era when committee members learned the art of putting up a large tent. As they still do today, the committee worked hard making a variety of goods to sell at the Games. This augmented the funds of the Society and kept the costs down for members. The tent also provides a great meeting place for catching up with friends and as the current activities are highlighted it is also an excellent way of attracting new members. Last year (2001) we were thrilled to receive the Victorian Scots Award. And this year we were awarded the M.P.C.S shield for tent presentation.The nineties were very active years for the society with the V.S.U. conference being held in Mornington in 1994.This was voted a great success by those who attended. Later in the same decade the Society adopted the Ancient Caledonian Tartan and made a new Banner featuring that tartan. This Banner has been displayed at many functions and it was carried with pride in the Federation Celebration, “Our Nation on Parade,” through Melbourne in May 2001As in many Clubs storage of Society property has been subject to innumerable conversations. Goods have been stored in and under committee-members homes and in sheds erected for that purpose. On numerous occasions it has been proposed that a Society trailer be purchased, this has not come about.Over the years there has been an active effort to raise funds. Street stalls, garage sales and the sale of goods at Highland Games have all contributed. This has enabled the M.P.C.S. to be very generous in donating thousands of dollars to charities. As early as 1956 twenty pounds was given to a local family who “were in dire straits and badly in need of assistance” This family was also helped the following year. Donations were given to the Frankston Pipe Band to outfit them and to the Angel of Mercy helicopter ambulance. In 1972 the society sponsored a girl in the Mornington Peninsula regional area of the Miss Australia Quest. The money raised was donated to the Spastic Society. The Ball was reported to be an elegant, colourful and superbly organised affair! Kankana Special school in Mornington received large donations as did Frankston Hospital where the Society provided three beds for special needs patients. Frankston High School, Scottish Clubs and Societies, the Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, the Coast Guard, Hospice, the former Moorabbin Pipe Band, Burns Cottage, and many other organisations have benefited from donations from our Society.The present day committee are grateful for the efforts of all those who have served the Society, and worked so hard to lay the foundations of the great Mornington Peninsula Caledonian Society we have today.This history was compiled from the Society Minutes. Members and Friends may have memories and anecdotes they wish to share and we invite them to forward them to Helen Murdoch, M.P.C.S. Historian.