Louisbourg Institute ~ L'Institut de Louisbourg 
The Official Research Site for the Fortress of Louisbourg ~ Site officiel de recherche sur la Forteresse de Louisbourg

istorical Not-For-Profit Societies (Cape Breton Island)

St. Ann's  Gaelic College

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The barque Margaret, whose construction was completed at the mouth of the North Gut Cove, just below the Gaelic College in September, 1851, is the main vessel in one of the modern world's most remarkable sea journeys.

In a voyage prompted by spiritual, cultural and economic impulses, 140 people, led by their minister, Reverend Norman MacLeod, left the St. Ann's area which had been their home for over 30 years, and sailed for Adelaide, Australia, from which they were soon to move again for Waipu on the North Island of New Zealand .

Families on Board the Margaret

What made the epic sea voyage to Australia so remarkable was that it was a forerunner of 5 other locally built ships - 2 brigs, 2 barques and a brigantine - to take the same route across the Atlantic and down past the Cape Verde Islands and round Cape Town to Adelaide. In all, over 800 people made the move, almost emptying the St. Ann's area and creating a new Highland Scottish settlement in Waipu, New Zealand.

The 236-ton, Margaret, named after Reverend Norman MacLeod's is daughter, will have a permanent place in the annals of navigation and in the history of the twin communities of St. Ann's and Waipu.

The Gaelic College stands today on the land originally settled by Reverend Norman MacLeod and his followers in 1820. The grounds were reclaimed for the Victoria County Pioneers' Memorial Association - later to become the Gaelic College Foundation in 1938 and subsequent years.

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