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The earliest settlers in Glen Innes Highlands were Scottish, they enjoyed the cooler climate of the highlands which reminded them of their home country.
Soon after their arrival Irish, Cornish and Welsh people also started to settle in the area.
The most famous Scots to settle in the area were two stockmen with long, flowing beards who roamed the New England Country well before towns were established.
The stockmen were John Duval and William Chandler. Today their names are perpetuated in the legend of Beardies and their names live on within Glen Innes Highlands today. Some examples of this are: Land of the Beardies History House Museum & Research Centre, Beardy Waters Dam & Woodlands which is great for bird watching, fishing and kayaking.
Duval and Chandler are deeply connected with the romance of old Glen Innes, for they guided Glen Innes Highlands’ first settler, Scottish barrister Archibald Boyd to the district.
With Duval and Chandler, Archibald Boyd is remembered as part of Glen Innes Highlands’ rich history, a history reflected in the charming, colonial main street.
Grey Street is lined with more than 30 Heritage-listed buildings, including the beautiful stone courthouse.
According to the History House Museum – ‘Both men have since been immortalised – Duval by the name of a mountain & Chandler by a peak & river. Beardy Plains represents an area near Glen Innes, but history will always associate the name with the two men who discovered the area – the Land of the Beardies.
However, as is often the case, legends are not always true. Mr Graham Wilson OAM, Heritage Advisor to the Glen Innes Severn Council, researched Chandler & Duval.
While Duval/Duvell is well documented, it was not until he searched for Chantler instead of Chandler that he found convict records and more.
Unfortunately as the men were not quite contemporaries the above legend must be questioned, romantic as it is.’
Many of the Glen Innes community have embraced our Celtic and Scottish heritage and participate in the many experiences and ceremonies throughout the year.
The many Scottish settlers who were part of Glen Innes Highlands’ proud heritage are immortalised in the Australian Standing Stones, the man-made, megalithic array, unique in the southern hemisphere, that has become the official national monument to all Australia’s Celtic pioneers.
The love of Celtic history, music and culture has remained strong among the Glen Innes Highlands residents. In 1992, locals organised the first Australian Celtic Festival. The festival celebrated its silver jubilee in 2017 and attracts Celtic musicians and performers from around the world, as well as many thousands of visitors.
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