Maurice Horsburgh - Ardersier - Scotland

Member of the Queensland Accordion Club  

The photo on the right

of my wife Jennifer and 

myself was taken when

we were much older!

The reason for the outfits is we now play mostly Austrian, Oberkrainer German & Slovenian music.

I play a specially made

MIDI Zupan Accordion

with Roland RA 90

sound module. I use C-LAB with 1040 STe computer for editing.

Jennifer, born in

Australia, is a senior 

State High School

teacher with 2000

students.We met on 

board the SS Australis when I was

entertaining on world cruises.

We got married in

Inverness in 1978, then spent 7 years

in Jersey before settling in Australia

Our most recent tour was with the:                   Queensland Accordion Club Orchestra              to: Germany, Austria & Switzerland, including Berlin, Baden-Baden, Klingenthal, Langenhagen, Salzburg and many other European cities.

A dear friend,and fellow crew member, Ken Ironside, of Wyke Regis, Dorset, has established an excellent website about the SS Australis which is well worth a visit at: http://www.ssaustralishomepage.co.uk

Ardersier on the Moray Firth, 10 miles from Inverness, near Fort George.

Ardersier in the 30's, 40's & 50's was a very different places than it is today with it's oil rig fabrication yards and allied industries. Then, life revolved around the military, nearly everyone not serving in the forces was directly or indirectly involved with the army or air force. The local school frequently had a large influx of new pupils who previously went to school in Egypt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, India and other romantic sounding places.

This made for a very interesting situation and was a great benefit to us resident children. The "Sassenachs" frequently referred to us as having "heather growing out of our lugs" but when pupils who were evacuated from the south started schooling in Ardersier they got a shock to find out how far ahead our education really was compared with theirs.

During the war years, Ardersier had many active community groups such as Amateur Dramatics, Red Cross, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, also tennis club, bowling green and football pitch. Unfortunately on my last visit the last three were derelict, but there appeared to be a sports complex being built by the military on the common and maybe the locals have access to it.

Click on photos to enlarge

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Above are a few photos past, and present, with an Ardersier connection. Top row L.-R: Reunions at our home in Palm Beach, Queensland, Australia, with ex pupils of Ardersier School including: Alex and Andrew McHendrie, Joseph Younger, Cecil Cobban, Jim Loan, Harry Beamish and Tom Main. Included are wives Mel Cobban, Sylvia Younger and my wife Jennifer.  

Bottom row 2nd photo: Ardersier School School Brae after snow storm about 1947; Presentation to District Nurse Fisher early 1940's; Red Cross Ladies 1943; Community Group early 1950's.

Due to a disability, my schooling finished prematurely at the age of eleven, so most of WW11 was spent in and out of the RNI in Inverness. It was not until the the early 1950's that I finally got my brains into gear and started to earn a living. These exploits can be viewed on the Dalcross page accessed for the index.

Ardersier had many connections with far away lands and one of those was with the tea plantations in Darjeeling in Assam. One enterprising gentleman who had been managing a plantation in Assam set up a Seaweed Factory in Wylie's Wood Yard near the Masonic Lodge. 

He installed machinery which was used on the tea plantations and his idea was to collect seaweed and have it processed into artificial cherries and other products. The initial work was done in Ardersier at Wylie's, but then the seaweed was taken to a plant at the old landing strip at Brackla, near Cawdor, for the final treatment, where the humidity was more conducive to the drying process.

The place gradually closed down, but at least I had my first driving experience on an old Fordson tractor with iron wheels, gathering seaweed on the beach just below Wester Connage.

britishlegion.jpg (116150 bytes) The pictures to left and right are rather large and may take some time to download. The picture on the left does not have names attached, but Ardersier folk may recognise some of their relatives. Click and see!

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Sandy Mackenzie from "Oakdene", Allanfearn ran a very successful Scottish Dance Band and it was always a pleasure doing "Gigs" with him.  The Band consisted of Sandy on accordion, "Chuchter" Bob from Balloch on fiddle, Dave Ross on drums,  Bonnie MaCray on piano and myself. Bonnie nearly came a cropper in 1955 when she was driving a tractor across the level-crossing at Allanfearn and got struck by the Inverness to Aberdeen express.

One of the more memorable occasions was a tour of the Western Isles. The boat trip from Mallaig to Lochboisdale took about 11 hours and they reckon it was the worst sea crossing for thirty years. We played North and South Uist and Benbecula. 

To save on accommodation expenses in  Lochmaddy the management of the local Mental Hospital very kindly allowed the band  to stay in one of the hospital dormitories. 

Having a maternal grandmother from Stornaway I was taught at a very early age that the people in the Western Isles invented hospitality. I finished my education that night, however the tale will remain untold on the internet, but it has been related in various spots around the globe.

Another memorable "Gig"  was a society wedding at which film star James Robertson Justice was the Master of Ceremonies. From memory I think the bride was a McLeod, of "Isle of Skye Whiskey" fame.

I lived and worked in Jersey, Channel Islands for 20 years, mostly playing for dancing, cabaret, and in German Bierkellers.  I then worked on Cruise liners with my own band and as a solo artist on World, Mediterranean and South American cruises.

A Jersey page is under construction.  I am always happy to make contact with anyone with similar interests.
My  email address is: mr.mo15@bigpond.com

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