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Australian Pipe Band Championships - History and Records

Post-1960: The Modern Era

Below is the record of winners and place getters for the Australian Pipe Band Championships since the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations was formed in 1960. As the name suggests, this was the coming together of the existing State Associations, and lasted until 1997 when a single national body - the Australian Pipe Band Association Inc (now Pipe Bands Australia) - took over, with the States as affiliated branches.

The first nationally organised Championships were held in another Victorian regional centre, Maryborough, in 1961.

Many thanks to Pipe Bands Australia Historian Viv Riley for the 1960-2010 details, the original research being attributed to Bruce Campbell. Thanks also go to Stephen Matthews and Bruce Campbell for their information relating to the Australian Championships - in their various forms - which existed before the days of Pipe Bands Australia.

Year
Location
State
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Juvenile
Drum Major
1961
Maryborough
Victoria
NSW Police - NSW
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
Hawthorn City - Vic
17 Battalion RNSWR - NSW
Knox Grammar - NSW
Ballarat Highland - Vic
Knox Grammar - NSW
Clan Donald - Vic
Ararat & District - Vic
Knox Grammar - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Broken Hill Police Boys - NSW
Jim Davies - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1962
Goulburn
New South Wales
NSW Police - NSW
Sydney Thistle - NSW
Hawthorn City - Vic
Blue Lake Ladies - SA
Parramatta Caledonian - NSW
Lakemba Caledonian - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Knox Grammar - NSW
Lakemba Caledonian - NSW
 
Jimmy Cairncross - NSW
(NSW Police)
1963
Brisbane
Queensland
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
NSW Police - NSW
Brisbane Caledonian - Qld
Queensland Police - Qld
Brisbane Thistle - Qld
Brisbane St Andrews - Qld
Queensland Irish - Qld
Brisbane St Andrews No 2 - Qld
Pine Rivers - Qld
 
Len Davidson - Qld
(Queensland Irish)
1964
Adelaide
South Australia
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
Sydney Thistle - NSW
Lower Hutt - NZ
Scotch College - Vic
Melbourne Ladies - Vic
Rats of Tobruk - Vic
City of Whyalla - SA
Cameronian Ladies - SA
Canberra Highland - ACT
 
Keith Stephenson - SA
(Mount Barker)
1965
Melbourne
Victoria
Sydney Thistle - NSW
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
Northern Suburbs - NSW
Canberra Highland - ACT
Victoria Police - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
City of Nunawading - Vic
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Naracoorte - SA
 
Norm Vaughan - NSW
(Sydney Thistle)
1966
Adelaide
South Australia
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
Hawthorn City - Vic
Melbourne Ladies - Vic
Victoria Police - Vic
Derwent Scottish - Tas
Scotch College - Vic
John MacDouall Stuart - SA
Royal Caledonian Melbourne - Vic
Naracoorte - SA
Trinity College - WA
Scotch College - Vic
Blue Lake Ladies - SA
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1967
Sydney
New South Wales
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
Sydney Thistle - NSW
Innes Tartan - NZ
Victoria Police - Vic
Colac & District - Vic
Blue Lake Ladies - SA
City of Nunawading - Vic
Sydney University Regiment - NSW
Queensland Irish - Qld
Scotch College - Vic
Knox Grammar - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Norm Vaughan - NSW
(Sydney Thistle)
1968
Adelaide
South Australia
Brisbane Red Hackle - Qld
Sydney Thistle - NSW
St Marys Band Club - NSW
John MacDouall Stuart - SA
Brisbane Red Hackle No 2 - Qld
Victoria Police - Vic
Sydney University Regiment - NSW
Cameronian Ladies - SA
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Broken Hill Police Boys - NSW
Brian Banks - Tas
(Derwent Scottish)
1970
Brisbane
Queensland
Hawthorn City - Vic
Sydney Thistle - NSW
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Brisbane St Andrews - Qld
Sydney University Regiment - NSW
Brisbane Caledonian - Qld
Queensland Irish - Qld
Brisbane Blue Bonnets - Qld
Brisbane Thistle - Qld
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1972
Hobart
Tasmania
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Sydney Thistle - NSW
Queensland Irish - Qld
Adelaide University Regiment - SA
City of Newcastle RSL - NSW
City of Nunawading - Vic
Nepean & District - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Brisbane St Andrews No 2 - Qld
Scotch College No 1 - Vic
Scotch College No 2 - Vic
Hobart Friends School - Tas
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1974
Melbourne
Victoria
City of Wellington - NZ
Queensland Irish - Qld
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Cardiff RSL - NSW
Adelaide University Regiment - SA
City of Newtown - Vic
St Marys Band Club No 2 - NSW
Fairfield Police Boys -NSW
Queensland Irish No 2 - Qld
Melbourne Highland - Vic
Broken Hill Police Boys - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Keith Reylin - NSW
(St Mary's Band Club)
1976
Adelaide
South Australia
Queensland Irish - Qld
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Melbourne Highland - Vic
Moorabbin City - Vic
Queensland Irish No 2 - Qld
City of Nunawading - Vic
3 Battalion RAR - SA
Scotch College - Vic
Canterbury Caledonian Ladies - NZ
Parramatta Police Boys - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Ian Vaughan - NSW
(Parramatta Police Boys)
1978
Sydney
New South Wales
City of Wellington - NZ
Hawthorn City - Vic
Melbourne Highland - Vic
Moorabbin City - Vic
City of Nunawading - Vic
St John Ambulance - NSW
St Marys Band Club No 2 - NSW
Queensland Irish No 2 - Qld
Scotch College - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1980
Brisbane
Queensland
Queensland Irish - Qld
Hawthorn City - Vic
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Adelaide University Regiment - SA
St John Ambulance - NSW
Queensland Irish No 2 - Qld
Northern Suburbs - NSW
City of Springvale - Vic
Brisbane St Andrews No 2 - Qld
 
Trevor Warnock - Qld
(Queensland Irish)
1982
Melbourne
Victoria
Hawthorn City - Vic
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Queensland Irish - Qld
City of Blacktown RSL - NSW
Queensland Irish No 2 - Qld
Royal Caledonian Society - SA
Ballantyne Scotch - SA
Queensland Irish No 3 - Qld
Bendigo Highland - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1984
Hobart
Tasmania
Hawthorn City - Vic
St Marys Band Club - NSW
City of Melbourne - Vic
City of Nunawading - Vic
Bendigo Golden City - Vic
5/6 Battalion RVR - Vic
Victoria Police - Vic
City of Newcastle RSL - NSW
St Andrews Ladies - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1986
Adelaide
South Australia
Queensland Irish - Qld
St Marys Band Club - NSW
City of Melbourne - Vic
Royal Caledonian Society - SA
Canberra Caledonia - ACT
City of Nunawading - Vic
Footscray City - Vic
Northern Suburbs - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Haileybury College - Vic
City of Blacktown No 2 - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
City of Blacktown - NSW
Ian Morison - Vic
(City of Melbourne Highland)
1988
Sydney
New South Wales
Wellington Police - NZ
Queensland Irish - Qld
St Marys - NSW
Victoria Police - Vic
Queensland Irish No 2 - Qld
3 Battalion RAR - NSW
Monkstown Mossley - NI
Bendigo Golden City - Vic
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Footscray City - Vic
Liverpool City - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Monkstown Mossley - NI
Haileybury College - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Bob Semple - Vic
(Hawthorn City)
1990*
Brisbane
Queensland
Victoria Police - Vic
Queensland Irish - Qld
City of Dunedin - NZ
City of Nunawading - Vic
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Rooty Hill RSL - NSW
Queensland Police - Qld
City of Melbourne No 2 - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Haileybury College - Vic
City of Blacktown No 2 - NSW
Wynnum RSL - Qld
Haileybury College - Vic
City of Blacktown - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Alan Misseldine - NSW
(3 Battalion RAR)
1992
Hobart
Tasmania
Victoria Police - Vic
City of Nunawading - Vic
City of Melbourne - Vic
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Queensland Police - Qld
East Coast - ACT
City of Melbourne No 2 - Vic
Footscray City - Vic
Bendigo Golden City - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Tenterfield Highlanders - NSW
City of Nunawading No 2 - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Alec McEachan - NSW
(St Mary's Band Club)
1994
Geelong
Victoria
Victoria Police - Vic
City of Nunawading - Vic
City of Blacktown No 1 - NSW
Queensland Police - Qld
Footscray City - Vic
Western Australia Police - WA
City of Ballarat - Vic
Bendigo Golden City No 1 - Vic
City of Melbourne No 2 - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Bendigo Golden City No 2 - Vic
Maryborough & District - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Moorabbin City - Vic
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Bob Currie - SA
(Royal Caledonian Society of SA)
1996*
Perth
Western Australia
Victoria Police - Vic
City of Melbourne - Vic
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Footscray City - Vic
Western Australia Police - WA
City of Adelaide - SA
Armadale City - WA
Bendigo Golden City - Vic
City of Melbourne No 2 - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Maryborough & District - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scotch College - WA
Brian Wilson - NI
1998
Newcastle
New South Wales
City of Adelaide - SA
City of Blacktown - NSW
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Footscray City - Vic
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
City of Melbourne - Vic
Moorabbin City - Vic
University of Ballarat - Vic
Bendigo Golden City - Vic
Watsonia RSL - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Maryborough & District - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
St Andrews College - NZ
Scots PGC Warwick - Qld
Alan McBride - NI
2000
Adelaide
South Australia
Williamstown RSL - Vic
City of Adelaide - SA
Queensland Police - Qld
Moorabbin City - Vic
University of Ballarat - Vic
City of Bankstown RSL - NSW
Warrnambool & District - Vic
City of Nunawading - Vic
Maryborough & District - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Brian Wilson - NI
2001
Melbourne
Victoria
Simon Fraser University - Can
Canterbury Caledonian - NZ
City of Adelaide - SA
Clayton RSL - Vic
City of Bankstown RSL - NSW
Christchurch Metropolitan - NZ
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Canberra Burns Club - ACT
Bendigo Golden City - Vic
Maryborough & District - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
St Andrews College - NZ
Douglas McFarland - NSW
2002*
Brisbane
Queensland
Celtic Inn Manawatu - NZ
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
City of Blacktown - NSW
City of Bankstown RSL - NSW
Canberra Burns Club - ACT
Brisbane St Andrews - Qld
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Maclean - NSW
Queensland Highlanders No 2 - Qld
Queensland Police Juvenile - Qld
Haileybury College - Vic
Scots PGC Warwick - Qld
Brian Wilson - NI
2004
Geelong
Victoria
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
City of Nunawading - Vic
City of Blacktown - NSW
Clayton RSL - Vic
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Brisbane St Andrews - Qld
Warrnambool & District - Vic
Maryborough & District - Vic
University of Ballarat - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
City of Melbourne No 2 - Vic
City of Nunawading No 2 - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Queensland Police Juvenile - Qld
David Silver - Vic
(Scotch College, Melbourne)
2006
Melbourne
Victoria
Australia Highlanders - Vic
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
City of Blacktown No 1 - NSW
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Clayton RSL - Vic
Canberra Burns Club - ACT
University of Ballarat - Vic
Warrnambool & District - Vic
City of Blacktown No 2 - NSW
Haileybury College - Vic
City of Melbourne No 2 - Vic
Frankston RSL - Vic
Haileybury College - Vic
City of Blacktown - NSW
Scots College - NSW
David MacPherson - Sco
2008*
Sydney
New South Wales
St Marys Band Club - NSW
Australia Highlanders - Vic
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
City of Adelaide - SA
Canberra Burns Club - ACT
Temuka - NZ
LCC Southern Cross - NSW
University of Ballarat - Vic
United Mineworkers - NSW
Scots College - NSW
Watsonia RSL - Vic
Queensland Police Juvenile - Qld
Scots College - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Hawkesbury City - NSW
Brian Wilson - NI
2010
Caloundra
Queensland
The Pipeband Club - NSW
Australia Highlanders - Vic
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
Hawthorn City - Vic
City of Adelaide - SA
Moorabbin City - Vic
Manawatu Development - NZ
LCC Southern Cross No 1 - NSW
Wynnum Services Club - Qld
LCC Southern Cross No 2 - NSW
Gold Coast Tweed - Qld
Canberra Burns Club No 2 - ACT
Scotch College - Vic
Scots College No 1 - NSW
Scots School Bathurst - NSW
Dominic Anderson-Strudwick - Qld
(Queensland Police Juvenile)
2012
Ballarat
Victoria
Western Australia Police - WA
Queensland Highlanders No 1 - Qld
The Pipeband Club - NSW
Moorabbin City - Vic
City of Adelaide - SA
St Andrew's - Qld
New Zealand Foundation - NZ
Williamstown RSL - Vic
City of Melbourne - Vic
University of Ballarat No 2 - Vic
Golden City - Vic
South Canterbury - NZ
New Zealand Foundation - NZ
Scots College - NSW
Scotch College - Vic
Brian Wilson - NI
2014*
Ballarat
Victoria
Western Australia Police - WA
Queensland Highlanders - Qld
Moorabbin City - Vic
The Pipeband Club - NSW
St Andrew's - Qld
Hawthorn City - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Federation University Australia - Vic
Williamstown RSL - Vic
Hawkesbury Nepean Valley - NSW
Scottish Society of New Zealand - NZ
Golden City - Vic
Scotch College - Vic
Haileybury - Vic
Scots College - NSW
Benjamin Casey - Vic
(5/6 Battalion RVR)

Aside from the abbreviations for the States/Territories of Australia, NZ denotes New Zealand, NI is Northern Ireland, Can is Canada and Sco is Scotland. Before 2014, a blank table cell indicates the event was not held in that particular year.

* Denotes South Pacific Pipe Band Championships (held alternately with the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships)

History alive in 2014

One interesting fact that has emerged is that, in this year's Championships, several of the oldest pipe bands still operating in Australia competed; three of them against one another in Grade 3. Although band names have changed over time, City of Melbourne Highland (116 years old), Warrnambool and District (108 years old), Williamstown RSL and Federation University (both 105 years old) all competed. Hawthorn City reached its own century milestone this year. With many bands having disappeared in recent decades, the existence of these bands, over such a long period, is noteworthy.

Pre-1960 Australian Pipe Band Championships

The Australian Pipe Band Championships have existed in name since the early part of the Twentieth Century, at a time before pipe band associations even existed. The title of 'Australian Championship' was adopted by individual contest promoters in the absence of any national, organising body. A consequence of this gave rise to the situation that, in 1954, both Tenterfield (NSW) and Brisbane (Qld) declared Australian Championships on consecutive days of the same New Year's weekend. Two bands competed in both events! Tenterfield maintained it was the legitimate Championship venue by virtue of the fact that in 1948, the Scottish Pipe Band Association (now the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association) approved the event, providing rules and even a trophy.

Originally, pipe band contests were ungraded, with all entrants competing one against the other. Eventually, as as was established long before in the world of competitive brass bands, A and B Grades were established, and later C Grade. Ladies' and Juvenile bands combined, based on gender and age; something that would never happen in today's world! Unlike the modern custom, dress and drill were considered as important as the music itself and contests were often decided on these elements, rather than the music.

Incomplete records exist for the contests called 'Australian Pipe Band Championships' before 1960 with the inception of what is now Pipe Bands Australia, although ongoing efforts are being made to re-trace the history. One the of the limiting factors to such events was certainly the logistical difficulty and cost of taking a band across the country to compete, an issue which arguably still exists.

Below is a broad summary of the known locations of Australian Pipe Band Championships before the federation of the State associations.

Anyone who might be able to provide details on any of the missing years is welcome to contact the webmaster.

Ballarat's Pipe Band Competition Pedigree

Ballarat, major city of the Central Highlands of Victoria, rich in gold history, is an ideal location for the Championships on a number of levels, especially having hosted the last Championships in 2012. Greater Ballarat has the heritage to host the event, given it first held a highland gathering in 1858 in Buninyong township, and then Ballarat proper, where solo piping was contested. As a comparison, Maryborough, then Geelong - two other nearby Victorian regional centres - both held their first gatherings in 1857; both of those having run almost continuously since. Although the first full pipe band contests apparently did not start until the early 1900s anywhere in the world (including Scotland), Ballarat held its first pipe band contest in at least 1907, presently the oldest recorded pipe band contest in Australia. For nineteen years until the mid-1920s, The South Street Pipe Band Competition was considered to be an 'Australian Championship' through it being an element of the 'Grand National Eisteddfod of Australasia' in Ballarat; Australia's oldest such competitive event. So in many ways, the 2014 Australian & South Pacific Pipe Band Championships are right at 'home' after over a century!

Ballarat 1912
Pictured above: The massed contest pipe bands of the Grand National Eisteddfod of Australasia, City Oval, Ballarat, 1912