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Recognition for achievement in promotion of pipe bands


Pipe Bands Australia today begins the countdown to its 2018 Australian Pipe Band Championships being hosted by the Queensland branch with the announcement of the first recipients of new awards for service to the movement.

Each day this week, we will announce recipients selected from nominations received and culminate with naming inaugural inductees into the Pipe Bands Australia Hall of Fame. Inductees have been selected from award categories by a panel of four drawn from members of national council.

The panel noted that many award recipients could have been recognised in multiple categories and some have on this occasion. The awards have been capped at 12 recipients in each category with a maximum two new recipients in each two-year period in the future.

Today's announcement is for recipients of the the award for meritorious service and achievement in the promotion and advancement of pipe bands.

The initial 12 recipients of the award are:

· Anthony Sell – Began his involvement in pipe bands as foundation secretary of Melbourne University Pipe Band while studying law at Melbourne and was later president of Nunawading Pipe Band. He was first elected to executive position in Victoria in the 1960s as assistant secretary and later secretary. Tony was vice-principal Rules and Administration in Victoria and the first principal, serving from 1991 to 2009. In those roles, he was largely responsible for the drafting of rules and regulations during more than 40 years of distinguished service.

· Lew Zilles OAM ED – Was at the forefront of establishing the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association in 1924, the first in the world, by calling a meeting of bands at Maryborough on New Year’s Day that year. Lew for 50 years was drum major Ballarat Highland Pipe Band (now Federation University) and made a significant contribution to the writing of drill instruction manuals while also acting as an adjudicator until the 1980s. He was active in establishing performance opportunities for bands and massed band presentations. Was also involved with marching girls and brass bands.

· Legato Australia Pty Ltd – One of the greatest advancements in pipe band drumming emerged from a factory in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir in the 1980s with development of the Legato K series snare drum using the “Banjo” or “Floating Shell” system of snare drum construction. Leading Drummer John Kingston joined to assist with this exciting project designing drums able to withstand the extreme tension which came about with the introduction of the Kevlar heads. These revolutionary drums were patented and exported worldwide and took many bands to prizes, including the Grade 1 Worlds Pipe Band Championship drum corps prize. This system changed the design of the pipe band snare drum around the world. Once again Australia was leading the way with ingenuity in design of our instruments.

· Bruce Neal OAM - He was Victorian vice president from 1970 to 1976, and subsequently president, a position he held until 1994, a period of some 18 years. As President of the AFPBA for an extended period from 1987 to 1995, Bruce worked to bring the former federation of state-based associations together as a single entity. Bruce’s interest in drumming and pipe bands has been life-long. He learnt drums under the tuition of Alex McCormick and was for many years a drummer with City of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band, and drum sergeant for much of that time. Bruce was also for many years the full-time drumming tutor at Haileybury in Melbourne, and during this time, the band won several Australian and Victorian Pipe Band Championship

· David Scotland BEM – Following in the footsteps of his father, David commenced as a piper with Lakemba Caledonian Society aged 14 and joined the Campsie Scottish Association committee at age 16, commencing decades of service as an administrator and promoter that included terms as Australian association president and secretary as well as a leading administrator in NSW where he organised special performance events for Royal tours and other occasions. For more than 30 years he was chief band marshal for Sydney’s ANZAC Day march. David assisted in organising the 1960 meeting to establish the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations and was elected deputy chairman of the Australian Scottish Heritage Council on its formation in 1981.

· Ewen Masson OAM – Ewen had a lifelong interest in Scottish culture and in 1956 became president of the Port Adelaide Caledonian Society Pipe Band and through this, the SA Band Association which was predominantly a brass band association. In 1958 Ewen became a co- founder of the South Australian Pipe Band Association which at that stage, was Adelaide based that later merged with South East - SA group and from 1962 until his retirement in 1976, he held the position of president. Ewen led the SA Pipe Band Association to joining the Australian Federation in 1960 and served several terms as president. He was a co- founder of the Adelaide Highland Games holding competitions from 1960 through to the late 1980s, including Australian championships in 1964, 1966, 1968 and 1976. Ewen was also a foundation member and driving force for the formation of the RU Brown Piobaireachd Society of SA and served as its first president.

· Duncan MacLennan MBE – Glaswegian-born Duncan served as a piper in the British Army during World War One and later in Egypt before joining other family members in Australia in 1927 where he was pipe major of the Hamilton (Victoria) band and later playing in Melbourne where he joined the regular army and on outbreak of World War Two the 2/5th Battalion band recruited mostly from Victoria Scottish Regiment. Following the war, he was pipe major of Ballarat Highland before returning to Melbourne and pipe major of VSR and later piping instructor at Haileybury College. From late 1945 till 1946 he served the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association as Secretary, returning to this during an interregnum in 1955. He served as Vice-President from1953 to 1961, and then as President from 1961 to 1974, following the inauguralpPresident William Plain. He supported the formation of the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations in 1960, serving as its President in 1961, and as Principal Piping from 1967 to 1971.

· Margaret Johnstone OAM – A piper with Melbourne Ladies, Margaret at age 18 became its youngest-ever pipe major and saw the band progress to Grade 1, touring France as pipe major of Edinburgh Girl Pipers during an extended trip overseas in the 1960s. As an administrator, Margaret first became involved as a branch councillor in 1972 and for 23 years was Victorian secretary and served as Australian secretary for eight years. Also continues to act as a contest supervisor.

· Michael Stubbings - Michael commenced his pipe band career in 1964 at the St Mary’s District Band Club Pipes and Drums and later Lakemba Caledonian Pipe Band where he was introduced to the snare drum. Michael later played snare, tenor or bass drum with Sydney Thistle, City of Blacktown No1 and St Mary’s in Grade 1, Rooty Hill RSL in Grade 2, Epping Pipe Band, Sydney University Pipes & Drums and City of Blacktown No2 in Grade 3 and Blue Mountains in Grade 4. Along the way he also found himself out the front of bands as drum major. As an administrator Michael had over 40 years’ experience as a band secretary, was involved with Pipe Bands NSW including terms as president. Michael was a dress and drill adjudicator, contest supervisor and a drumming adjudicator. He was served as vice-principal of Rules and Administration in NSW and as national principal. Michael was also active in tutoring many bands.

· Robert McPherson OAM - Has been involved in the pipe band movement as a promoter and contest organiser for more than 42 years. Robert has been the key organiser and focal point for bands for the Maclean Highland Gathering, one of Australia's longest running pipe band and solo competitions whose origins date back to 1893.He joined the Lower Clarence Scottish Association in the early 1970s and served as secretary from 1972-1975 inclusive, 1980 and for an uninterrupted period of 32 years from 1984 to 2015. He was a founding member of the Maclean: Scottish Town in Australia Committee and has served the committee in a number of roles and has held the role of president for many years. The Maclean: Scottish Town in Australia is responsible for recognising the town's Scottish cultural links and using them to promote the town as a business and tourist destination.

· Brian Edmonds – Beginning as a piper and later drum major, Brian became a successful advocate for pipe bands in Australia as Queensland branch chairman and national secretary both within Australia and internationally where he attended the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations meetings at an Australian delegate. Brian was also a dress and drill adjudicator and contest supervisor.

· Rob MacGregor – Recognised for his advancement of pipe bands within the Army and community and in Papua New Guinea. Rob began his career in NSW before moving Mount Isa and later Brisbane as pipe major of Brisbane Caledonian and founder of Brisbane Blue Bonnets, later becoming piper major of St Andrew’s. Rob later served as music director for four years of the PNG Correctional Services Pipe Band. He also led Australia pipers and drummers to competition in Jakarta and developed skills to manufacture and repair bagpipes.

All award recipients in this category become eligible for induction into the Pipe Bands Australia Hall of Fame. In each two-year period, a maximum of two new recipients of this award will be named.


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