Back where it all began: Maryborough to host 2020 Australian Pipe Band Championships

Pipe Bands Australia diamond jubilee year Australian Pipe Band Championships expected to attract bands from across the country and overseas will be held in Maryborough Victoria on 4 and 5 April 2020.

Pipe Bands Victoria has named Maryborough Highland Society as promoter for the championships following consideration of extremely strong proposals received during the expression of interest stage. The decision has been endorsed by Pipe Bands Australia.

Maryborough Highland Society has been central in the advancement of pipe bands in Australia since holding its first highland gathering on New Year’s Day 1857.

It was at the gathering in 1924 that bands first discussed forming the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association, the first in the world, and in 1961 hosted the first Australian championships following formation of the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations (now Pipe Bands Australia) in June 1960.

On 1 January 2020, the society will host its 159th highland gathering and begin the final countdown to the central Victorian community hosting the Australian Pipe Band Championships for a second time three months later.

Highland society general manager Malcolm Blandthorn said: “The highland society is excited to have this opportunity to again welcome bands from across Australia and internationally to Maryborough.

“The championships will reaffirm our strong commitment to fostering Scottish music and in 2020, with not one but two significant major events in one year. Our gathering and the championships will complement each other.”

Pipe Bands Victoria chairman Tim McLeod said: “We congratulate the Maryborough Highland Society on submitting a strong proposal to again host the championships that PBV believes will not only be an outstanding event but one that leaves a legacy of engagement for our pipe bands in the region.

“We believe the two-day championships will engage with the Maryborough community and the region. Princes Park will be an excellent location for bands and provide audiences with a wonderful view of performances.”

Pipe Bands Australia president Chris Earl said: “It is fitting that the 2020 Australian Pipe Band Championships are presented in the community where our championships began.

“Maryborough has provided platforms for the pipe band movement at significant times in our history and the diamond jubilee Australian championships continues that connection. Our championships have grown since 1961 to become a truly international event.”

Central Goldfields Shire chairman of commissioners Noel Harvey said: “Communities across the shire, and particularly Maryborough, are delighted that a major of event of international standing will be staged in the region. As a council, we will provide support and assistance to the Maryborough Highland Society to ensure visitors enjoy the destination and the championships that will boost local businesses and lift tourist numbers to Central Goldfields.”

A variety of accommodation options are available in Maryborough and within 30 minutes of the central Victorian town to accommodate an anticipated entry of 40 bands from across Australia and overseas.

The highland society is also planning to include highland dancing and Scottish stalls in the championships program and open the championships with a street march of bands to Princes Park.

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