top of page


Dumfriesshire Federation of Scottish Women's Institutes comprises 30 Institutes within the geographical area of the old council area of Dumfriesshire with Annandale and Eskdale, now part of the modern council area of Dumfries and Galloway.

The aims of the Federation are

  • to advance the education and skills of women and girls

  • to provide a platform for social activities and networking

  • to promote the preservation and development of Scotland's heritage and culture

  • to promote and work with like-minded organisations at home and abroad

Dumfriesshire Federation is an unincorporated association and self-governing body under the direction and control of the Board of Trustees of the Scottish Women's institute. It is governed by a Constitution in which the structure and duties of the Federation are laid out.


It is managed by an elected Executive Committee consisting of

  • Office Bearers: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer

  • Committee: Press Secretary, Conveners for Education, Handcrafts, Homeskills and the Sales Table

  • 6 Group Presidents

  • 6 Representatives from Institutes elected on a 3 year programme

  • The former President is an ex-officio member

  • Any Federation member who is selected to be a member of the SWI Board of Trustees, South West Area Representatives on Standing Committees or Proxy.

The Federation is responsible for

  • encouragement and guidance in the formation of new Institutes

  • maintaining the efficiency of existing Institutes in the Federation

  • encouraging and developing Institute activities

  • arranging Federation meetings and schools, shows, competitions, and educational excursions


The Education Convenor encourages interest in such subjects as Drama, Singing, Debate, Painting, Photography, Calligraphy etc.


The Handcrafts Convenor encourages interest in Crafts, with a view to maintaining the best traditions in this area.


The Homeskills Convenor encourages interest in such subjects as Cooking, Preserving, Gardening, Floral Art, etc., with a view to maintaining the best traditions in this area.


Sports Convenors (appointed within the Sports Groups themselves) will make arrangements for sporting activities, such as Outdoor Bowling, Carpet Bowling, Short Mat Bowling, Stadium Bowling, Curling, Darts, and Golf Sports activities are self-financing.

Dumfriesshire Federation meets 4 times a year, with an AGM in December at which Executive members are elected/re-elected.

It is responsible for collecting and remitting the national levies, and ensuring that Institutes are familiar with all current and National business.

SWI Dumfriesshire LOGO 500px.jpg

Federation Emblem
designed by Abby Baxter of Georgetown Institute

The Federation chose the bicycle as its emblem, because the first pedal driven bicycle was invented in 1839 by a young blacksmith called Kirkpatrick McMillan, who lived at Courthill Smithy, Penpont, near Thornhill. The front wheel was 32 inches in diameter and the rear wheel 40 inches. The machine weighed 57lbs.

In 1842 he decided to visit his brothers in Glasgow, and travelling at seven miles per hour, he took 16 hours to reach Old Cumnock, and five hours the following day to reach Glasgow. News of his arrival had spread before him, and people everywhere turned out to watch this ‘Devil on Wheels’. Unfortunately, he knocked down a little girl in Glasgow, and was fined five shillings, the first of its kind. The Magistrate, after being given a demonstration of the bicycle, was so impressed that he paid the fine himself. Since no copy right had been taken out to protect his invention, copies of his machine were built and sold by men who had seen him pass by on his epic journey.

Kirkpatrick McMillan worked with his father in the Smiddy at Courthill until the latter died in 1853. He married in 1854, and of his six children, only two survived. His wife died in 1865, aged thirty-two, and he died in 1878, aged sixty-five.

bottom of page