scottish culture and the highlands

The Southern Highlands has always had a deep association with Scottish culture and customs, especially with the opening of the Joadja Creek oil shale enterprise.

In 1878 the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Company began operations at Joadja Creek, which is less than 30 minutes drive from the Scottish Arms.

A village was established and labour shortage was overcome by enlisting experienced workmen and their families from mining areas throughout Scotland. After arriving in Australia the Scottish families were taken by horse or bullock teams to Joadja Creek, where they retained their deep Scottish habits and customs. A full pictorial history of Joadja Creek is on display at the Scottish Arms.

Today many Scottish families that reside in the Southern Highlands have direct heritage to the pioneer families from Joadja Creek.

Each year in April over 20,000 people descend on Bundanoon to celebrate ‘Brigadoon’ which is one of Australia’s most important Scottish gatherings. 

Having regard to the strong Scottish culture and history associated with the Southern Highlands and the Robertson family’s Scottish heritage we decided to name the new tavern the Scottish Arms. It is hoped that the Scottish Arms can help give recognition to the tremendous contribution, and often suffering, which Scottish settlers gave to the Southern Highlands and Australia in general.

the Construction of the scottish arms

The land upon which the Scottish Arms is now built was formerly cattle grazing country and originally formed a part of the West Kimberly Cattle Company. The land was acquired by the Robertson family in late 1999.

Construction on the building started in August 2005 as owner/builder project. The total construction was undertaken under the supervision of the Robertson family who engaged all trades and supplies for the project.

The building is of double-brick construction and comprises approximately 85,000 bricks which were all laid by George Keith from Peterhead, Scotland. In addition, all batches of brick mud and bricks were carried by the Robertson boys. In addition, all sandstone lintels and window sills were quarried through Bundanoon Sandstone.

All internal fixtures, fittings and decorations were designed in-house by the Robertson family.

The Scottish Arms opened for business on the 21st May 2007 and has been well received with lots of local support ever since.


For all reservations, please phone 02 4861 4333 during opening hours, midday until late. Please note, we do not take bookings by email.