Everybody needs good neighbours – and some travel from Morebattle to Australia to find them

Australian Connection. Lesley Dick.
Australian Connection. Lesley Dick.
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TWO Borderers who emigrated to Australia decades ago and have supported the same football club for years have just discovered that they share roots in Morebattle, writes Sally Gillespie.

Andrew Dick emigrated to Australia 17 years ago and lives in Mount Macedon, near Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.

Austra;lian Connection. Duncan beatson.

Austra;lian Connection. Duncan beatson.

Duncan Beatson, had left the village nearly 50 years earlier on a £10 passage to Australia and ended up in the same village.

Fast forward to last year and Andrew, whose sons play Australian Rules football at the local Macedon club, was in the clubrooms when an older diehard supporter approached him and asked why he was wearing a Scottish rugby shirt.

Andrew’s mother, Lesley Dick, took up the story: “He said ‘because I come from Scotland’. The old man said: “I used to come from Scotland.’ ‘I’m from a remote part, near Kelso’ said Andrew.”

The conversation batted backwards and forwards along similar lines and ex-Kelso rugby player Andrew said he had lived on Otterburn Farm to the west of Morebattle.

Austra;lian Connection. Andrew Dick with wife Sally.

Austra;lian Connection. Andrew Dick with wife Sally.

Duncan said: “I used to work on a farm there.” And it transpired he had worked on Gateshaw Farm, up the Kale Valley to the south-east of Morebattle.

The following day Mr Beatson, a former dairy farmer in Victoria, took photographs from his time at Morebattle in the 1940s to Andrew’s house. They include one of current Gateshaw farmers, Ian and Wilbert Girvan, as boys.

Mrs Dick met Mr Beatson when she visited her son last autumn and discovered the he had been born at Caverston Farm, Walkerburn, but his mother died a few weeks later. He was brought up by aunts in Edinburgh and served in the Second World War as a medical orderly. After being demobilised, he worked at Gateshaw, in 1948, before emigrating to Australia.

Returning to the village with her story, Mrs Dick fielded phone calls about the older man. “People haven’t forgotten him, he’s a great character,” she said.

Austra;lian Connection. Gateshaw Farm, Morebattle.

Austra;lian Connection. Gateshaw Farm, Morebattle.

“The day before I left he’d arrived with a scrap of paper with an address and postcode of Edinburgh 10 on it. I rang up and spoke to someone who turned out to be Duncan’s brother’s wife.

“The brothers hadn’t spoken for years and, while the contact has not brought about a fraternal reunion, they do at least know each other’s whereabouts.”