The Maryborough Highland Society Challenge Bowl, awarded to the Australian champion Grade 3 band from the first championships i n Maryborough in 1961 until retirement of trophies in 2010, has returned home.
The challenge bowl was handed for safekeeping to highland society president Anne Canterbury at the society's 160th annual general meeting last night by Pipe Bands Australia president Chris Earl.
The society, that has promoted the New Year's Day Highland Gathering since 1857, will display the trophy at its function centre which a historical record of the event's link to pipe bands in Australia acknowledging that:
The Maryborough Highland Gathering has provided a performance platform for pipers and drummers since the very first gathering in 1857, each New Year honouring one of its original objectives of fostering the music of Scotland.
From the early years of the 20th century, pipe bands have been a feature of the gathering as they parade down High St to Princes Park where the gathering has been pivotal in the advancement of the Australian pipe band movement for more than 100 years.
It was on New Year’s Day 1924 that the gathering made available a platform for pipe bands to discuss forming their own association at the instigation of Drum Major Lew Zilles, of Ballarat. Four months later the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association became the first pipe band association in the world when it was established at a meeting in Geelong.
And in 1961, when the centenary Maryborough Highland Gathering was staged on 2 January, 21 pipe bands from four states were on parade for the first Australian championships of the newly-formed Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations (now Pipe Bands Australia).
Maryborough Highland Society donated the Challenge Bowl for the Grade 3 victors and it was awarded at each Australian championship until trophies were retired in 2010.