(With thanks to Dr W W Yellowlees from whom much of this information has been gleaned.)

The Society was established in November 1962, at the Station Hotel Aberfeldy, when seventy people turned up at a public meeting to discuss the possibility of founding a Breadalbane Archaeological and Historical Society. The meeting was chaired by Sonia Yellowlees, wife of the local GP Walter Yellowlees. The background to the meeting is an interesting story in its own right.

Dr and Mrs Yellowlees wanted to build a new bungalow just off the Urlar Road in Aberfeldy. Before planning permission was given to start the build, an official archaeological investigation was required for the site. The dig was led by Dr Margaret Stewart, a highly respected archaeologist from Perth and although nothing was found, Dr Stewart's enthusiasm encouraged Sonia Yellowlees to call that first public meeting.

The chairman of the new society was, appropriately, Sonia Yellowlees, supported by six committee members. The first business meeting in December 1962 approved the Society's aims and constitution and Dr Margaret Stewart was elected as the first honorary president. Three honorary vice-presidents were also elected: Provost James Fisher; Mr Douglas Hutchison, Bolfracks; Major Ramsey, Farleyer. With such strong foundations, it is not surprising that the Society reached its 50th anniversary season in 2012.

In addition to the winter evening meetings, summer excavations were planned with the first major project undertaken at the 'four-poster' stone circle on Lundin Farm road, east of Aberfeldy. The efforts of the volunteer diggers were rewarded with the discovery of human bone fragments and a small Bronze Age beaker. The following year in 1964, a Bronze Age funerary urn was found at the base of one of the standing stones at Carse Farm. These objects are now in Perth Museum.

(Photo of Sonia Yellowlees excavating at Carse Farm, courtesy of Dr W Yellowlees)

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, many illustrious speakers came to the winter meetings. They included not just archaeologists but geographers, antiquarians, museum curators, historians and on one occasion the first Director of the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University. The topics were very wide ranging. A meeting in 1968 on 'Farming in Strathtay, 1900 to 1950' was followed the next month by 'British Honduras - Excavation of a Maya Ceremonial Site'.

The annual subscription in 1965 was 7/6d (37.5p in new money). By the time of decimalisation in 1971, it had risen to 10/- (or 50p as we know it now). In the thirty years between 1976 and 2006, the subscription rose gradually from £1 to £5. Today, in 2013, the annual subscription is still remarkable value at £10.




So varied were the interests of the Society that in the early 1980s, the name was changed to the 'Breadalbane Heritage Society'.

Folklore, natural history and antiquities were recognised in the revised aims and objectives.

Throughout its life, the Society has not just been a 'talking shop'. Following the example of Sonia Yellowlees and the first archaeological volunteers, members of the Society have taken part in, and contributed to, many local projects. Recently, a dig at Dull Church and the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project were supported by the Society.

In 2005, the Society obtained a grant from 'Awards for All' for the enhancement of Rev Duncan Macara's grave at Fortingall.

Every year, local events during Perthshire Archaeology Month are led by members and in 2011, the Society supported the excavations at Fortingall for the Culdee Monasteries project.  Our connection with this project is on-going.

 

Two of our members look after the historic Killiechassie graveyard.




Membership of the Society currently numbers almost 90. We look to our future with great optimism.