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From Humble Beginings

The Australian Pipe Band Association

Pipe Bands Australia is the governing body for all pipe band contest and related matters such as registration and grading throughout Australia. Prior to a change of name the association was known as the Australian Pipe Band Association Inc. (APBA). There should be no confusion about this but from time to time one may notice some different (outmoded) terminology being used. To understand why this occurs, it is useful to briefly trace the evolution of the APBA. Key PBA evolution dates are listed to the right.

  • 1997 - JUNEAFPBA Conference passed motion to form Australian Pipe Band Association.
  • 1997 - AUGUST 29APBA is incorporated.
  • 2005 - NOVEMBER 2005Council agrees to use Pipe Bands Australia as unprotected title.
  • 2007 - MARCH 4Council adopted the logo design submitted by D Glover, Qld.
  • 2013 - DECEMBER 13Rules of the incorporation were changed to have Pipe Bands Australia Inc as the formal title

Colonisation of Australia commenced in 1788 and immigrants from Scotland clearly included  some with skills in piping and drumming who eventually banded together in local groups. Whilst little is known as to the earliest establishment of Bands in Australia the Royal Caledonian Society of South Australia has been able to trace its establishment to 1894.

In addition to the tyranny of distance within the country, a heritage of division has existed  due to the different colonies of original settlement, which gave rise to the states within  Australia, each with its own government. Consequently interaction between pipe bands was  largely concentrated in areas of denser population, typically capital cities.
As the interest in bands grew and matured there was seen the need to form associations, some with bands of different types and some specifically for pipe bands. The Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association (VHPBA), formed in 1924, is in fact the oldest pipe band association in the world and although its function has changed, it remains active.

1961 – Maryborough, Victoria – New Year’s Day the first Australian Championships of the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations was held as part of the town’s Centenary Highland Gathering.

More History

In 2012 Stephen Matthews compiled further history of Pipe Bands Australia for the 2012 Australian Pipe Band Championships Program.


Pipe Bands Australia Chieftains have have existed since inception in 1960 to present day. Get to know the faces of PBA Chieftains.

Office Bearers

Presidents, Principals, Secretaries & more. The full breakdown of Pipe Bands Australia’s many volunteers over the years.

1901 – Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia – Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by HRH The Duke of Cornwall and York.

With the improvement in transport and communications, bands were able to reach more easily beyond state boundaries and the need to further formalise the association between them in the country as a whole precipitated the formation, in June 1960, of a federation of some state associations. In a short time each of the six states had a pipe band association as a member of the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations (AFPBA).


A key objective of the Federation was to develop and maintain a set of contest rules which could be adopted by each State Association to provide consistency in the conduct of  contests to facilitate the participation of bands in States beyond their own. Notwithstanding,  the rivalry between States that existed in everyday life was also evident in the broad pipe  band community. The development of the rules was also cognisant of contemporary  practice overseas, particularly in Scotland.

The greater impact of advancing technology on transport, communications, record-keeping  and life in general brought the notion of transition from a federation of State Associations to a single, nationwide association into focus as an achievable objective. Subsequently, in June 1997 the Conference of AFPBA resolved to form the Australian Pipe Band Association Inc with the business of the existing State Associations transferring to Branches within the  Association. The legal entity was created by incorporation on 29 August 1997.


The Australian Pipe Band Association Inc, through its Branches located in the States of Australia, represents its members who are the players in, and the supporters of, the pipe  bands in Australia. Currently there are approximately 3000 members registered to 130 pipe  bands, as at June 2010.


The control and management of the affairs of the Association is vested in its Council (20 members), comprised of elected officers and councillors representing each Branch.

1977 – Australia

Flags of Australia – National, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory (Nil branch) & Northern Territory (Nil Branch).

There is a Committee (5 members), subsidiary to the Council, to which the Council may delegate any of its functions and powers. The Committee shall not amend or over-ride a decision of the Council except by a majority of four-fifths of the members of the Committee.


Branches have been established to further the pursuit and promotion of the purposes in their respective areas. They are the point of contact for the members in their area. The control and management of the affairs of the Branch is, subject to the Rules of the Association and the APBA Branch Regulation, vested in the Branch Council.  


The Branch Council consist of the Chairman, Vice-Chairmen (2), Secretary, Treasurer,  (Assistant Secretary), and Councillors representing each registered Band (2 per Band). A Branch Executive, comprised of the officers of the Branch is subsidiary to the Branch Council and to which the Branch Council may delegate any of its powers or functions including powers or functions delegated to it by the Association unless the Association has otherwise directed.  

There is a College Branch associated with each State Branch. The College Branch serves the members and bands registered with the Association through the Branch with which it is associated. A Vice-Principal is appointed within each Division.  


The College Branch Committee administers the College Branch. The committee is comprised of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three other persons nominated by  the Branch, together with the four Vice-Principals. The College Branch Committee may  appoint an Administrator. 


Business activity and funding was discussed at the Conference Meeting in 1999. Council resolved that the Branches would retain the responsibility for the activities related to members in their respective areas and for the Association to manage those matters required by the Rules.

2019 – Scotch College Perth

In short, Pipe Bands Australia is the peak national body for the governance of Pipe Bands in Australia in addition to the governance of ongoing tuition, education and national competitions culminating in the ongoing betterment and growth of Piping & Drumming in Australia.