A Brief History of Waipu:
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century many thousands of
Scottish peasants in The Highlands were "encouraged " to leave their
traditional clan lands in order that their chiefs could use the land to increase
their income and continue their chosen lifestyle.
For this and for other reasons such as general poverty, famine and religious
dissension a large number of Highland Scots found their way to eastern
Canada- Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia-between 1790
and 1825 and re established their close knit Gaelic speaking communities.
One such community developed in 1822 is the St Ann's/Baddeck region of
The Reverend Norman McLeod established a hard working, God fearing,
community in the St Ann's area that won respect throughout Nova Scotia.
However, despite all their efforts and nearly 30 years of land clearing and
farming, famine again struck in the late 1840's and the possibility of further
emigration presented itself. Around 900 Scottish immigrants left the St Ann's
area between 1850 and 1859, heading for New Zealand and a new way of
life. Led by Rev. Norman McLeod, people built their own ships and embarked
on a fantastic 15,000 km journey.These Pioneers created a history of a
double migrationfrom Scotland to Nova Scotia, then to Australia/New
Always under the watchful eye and strict control of their leader the first two
boatloads found conditions in Australia to be at the opposite extreme to
those in Nova Scotia. Six months after arriving in Adelaide the group decided
that life in the Australian gold fields was not for them.
Communication was established with contacts in New Zealand and eventually
47,600 acres of land was allotted to the group for settlement in Waipu.
Between 1853 and 1860, a total of six ships - the Margaret, Highland Lass,
Gertrude, Spray, Breadalbane and the Ellen Lewis brought the families from
1953 saw the Centennial of the landing of the Settlers in Waipu.
January 11th and 12th 2013 will see 'The Grand Pageant of Waipu', a re-enactment of the arrival of the first settlers, staged at The Glebe. This will celebrate the 160th anniversary since the arrival of Norman McLeod and his followers.
The strong Scottish heritage is still to be found in the township today, with descendants of the original pioneers still living here. The Caledonian Games are held on 1 January each year, and each year Tartan Week is celebrated in July, with many events to interest old and young.