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'The Last of the Clan'
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Clearances - Emigration - Colonial Fund
The Colonial Fund


In 1852 the Government decided to assist people’s passage to the colonies of Canada, USA, South Africa and Australia to start a new life.

They appointed an Emigration Society Commission to choose suitable families, especially those which had strong working men and eligible young ladies who would make good wives.

Whole families - brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and their families, etc. who had always lived in the same village of the islands would be taken across the world together to start afresh.

A special “Colonial Fund” would be raised, from subscriptions from the British Public, to assist the families from Skye and the other islands to emigrate.

They would be given this assistance by the following rules:


Entire families would be together.
If they were able-bodied men or women of good character, not exceeding a specified age or exceeding a specified number of children.
Possessed a stated quantify and description of clothing.
Paid a deposit of from 1 pound to 2 pounds, for adults, and 10 shillings for children.
People exceeding a certain age would pay more.
Only after all means of meeting the expenses was
made would a family be allowed “aid”.
The trustees or owners of the properties from which the emigrants departed would be expected to pay one third of the sum given.
Any sum advanced to emigrants would have to be repaid.

By the end of May 1852 to 30th December 1852 the Society sent 3000 emigrants from the Scottish Highlands to Australia, of whom 2000 were from Skye. Skye’s population fell from 22,500 to 20,500.