Brooch holds the secret story of Bainsford family’s Australian adventure

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Queen Victoria was in her prime when the original owner of this mysterious brooch left Bainsford for a new life in Australia.

The person concerned might possibly have wondered if they’d made a sound choice, because in the year his or her family arrived in Melbourne - 1878 - one thousand unemployed men marched up Collins Street to demand work.

Then in December notorious outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang locked 22 people in a sheep station at Euro, Victoria, before robbing the local bank next day.

However like so many emigrant Scots the Menteiths (later becoming Monteaths), shrugged off these little local difficulties to successfully make a new life for themselves in the fast-expanding colony, and descendant Mr Robin Adams has been left this intriguing legacy of their story.

He knows that before taking ship for a long voyage to the other side of the world the family had lived in Bainsford and Falkirk for many generations - and is keen to find just what the curious design on the brooch represents.

Mr Robin Adams lives in Melbourne, capital of New South Wales - the same city in which his ancestors made their home back in 1878 - and inherited the enigmatic heirloom from his Great Aunt.

Striking a historical chord with Falkirk history - we only have to think of the Carron Iron Works - he knows the family established a very successful foundry business.

Mr Adams tells us: “The family name is Monteath (spelled Monteith in its standard Scottish version) - and the names linked to our Monteath lineage are Hutchison, Drummond, Buchanan and Stewart”.

He adds: “I also wonder what is the significance of the crown, and if there is any connection with Falkirk itself”.

His memento could hold the clue to a fascinating family saga linking two continents, and - since the importance of local heritage runs very deep in the modern communities around Falkirk and Bainsford - we hope a reader with a n eye for the past can offer some pointers.

The brooch, shown here on its side, is clearly a heraldic shield surmounted by a crown, but what are the mysterious designs on either side of its central spine?

If anyone can help please email editorial@falkirkherald.co.uk