2018 inductees

- the first 12

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  • Nat Russell GC OAM - Nat began his dynamic piping career aged 10 with the 8th Belfast Company of the Boys Brigade, was Piper of the Year in 1969 and competed with Field Marshal Montgomery until enlistment with 1st Battalion Irish Guards in 1970. In the Guards Piping School his piping experience and ability increased under the various Irish and Scots Guards Tutors of the period. In 1974 Nat joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary and under his leadership and direction the band won 7 Ulster Championships, as well as every “major” Pipe Band Championship in the World through Grades 3 and 2, being crowned World Champions Grade 2 in 1981 and became one of the world’s top three Grade 1 bands. In 1987 Nat was recruited as Pipe Major of the Victoria Police Pipe Band. Under his direction, the competition success of the band remains unprecedented in the Southern Hemisphere, winning five Australian championships (four in Grade 1) and culminating in winning the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship in 1998. Nat has produced five highly-acclaimed recordings: two live concerts and three in studio. His services to Piping, Pipe Bands and Adjudication were recognised with the award of the Order of Australia medal in 2007. Nat is an esteemed member of the RSPBA Adjudication Panel and his service to that Panel was recognised in August 2011 with the presentation of the Adjudicators “long service award.” He has adjudicated Pipe Band competitions and solo events at the highest level all around the World, including the World Championships on several occasions. Nat has been a leader in education and training in Australia and extending engagement in the development of pipe bands in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly in the areas of piping and ensemble. Nat set up the Victoria Police Piping and Drumming School in Melbourne in 1988 in conjunction with the Council of Adult Education. This programme had some 99 participants, including the conductor of the Victorian State Opera who wanted to learn more about woodwind instruments and the effect on ensemble.  He has also conducted numerous workshops and seminar while also tutoring and assisting bands.



  • Alex McCormick – After a career as a one of Scotland’s leading drummers and principal of the RSPBA college, Alex emigrated to Australia in 1952 with several other prominent players of the time to reform Castlemaine Pipe Band in regional Victoria, which was importing the leaders of a new band, before turning to Melbourne and later Ballarat. Alex and his compatriots brought with them from Scotland the style of drumming that caused a revolution in the Australian pipe band world. From 1949 to 1952, he was Principal of Drumming at the Scottish Pipe Band Association College. In this position he was involved as a teacher and also in the development of the syllabus. After he emigrated, he kept this up by carrying out SPBA College examinations in Australia for a time. He taught all over Australia and was a leading proponent of the idea of an Australian college examination system. This did not happen until 1967, when Alex became the founding Principal Drumming of the Australian Pipe Band College, a position he held until 1979. Alex was an excellent drumming adjudicator and was a driving force involved with an early attempt to bring ensemble adjudication to Australia in the early 1990s, conducting trials at competitions in Victoria. Alexander McCormick is rightly recognised as one of the pipe band world’s most influential leaders, and one of the founding fathers of modern pipe band drumming. His impact on all those he taught and anyone with whom he came into contact in the pipe band scene and beyond is indelible.



  • Bob Semple OAM BEM - In  the eyes of the public and the pipe band world, no one more clearly typifies the pipe band experience as than Drum Major RJK (Bob) Semple, involved in pipe bands since 1936 when he joined the Victorian Scottish Regiment. At the outbreak of World War Two he put aside his pipes and joined the Australian Field Regiment and between 1940 and 1945 Bob saw service in some of the most active theatres of war - Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, the siege of Tobruk, El Alamein and later in New Guinea and Borneo. The same month Bob returned to Australia in 1946, he joined the Hawthorn City Pipe Band after listening to the band playing in a local park. So began one of the great success stories of the Australian pipe band scene. Between 1946 and 1960 Bob served as a piper with the band where the foundations were laid for the great success of the future decades. At the conclusion of his piping career Bob assumed the position of drum major which he still holds today, aged almost 98. As drum major, Bob Semple has made an indelible stamp on the character of the pipe band fraternity – he was the Victorian champion on 24 out of a possible 28 occasions up to 1987. At the national level has won the Australian title no fewer than seven times. In 1977 he was elected the first Principal Dress and Drill and held the position until his retirement a decade later. Bob is also the chieftain of Pipe Bands Australia.


  • Ron Gallacher OAM – Pipe major of Hawthorn City Pipe Band on several occasions, Ron was 20 years Principal Piping in Australia and an influential driver in developing the adjudicator training syllabus and adjudicator handbook. He was active in fostering education and training for many bands across Victoria and Australia and also an early advocate and participant in sharing knowledge of Australia pipers and bands into South-East Asia. As pipe major of Hawthorn, Ron imparted his knowledge on many pipers that was then taken to other bands across Australia and continues to influence the music of today.



  • Allan Chatto OAM – Initially joining St George District Pipe Band, Allan found greater interest as a drummer and over more than 50 years has taken his skills to high levels and shared them as lead drummer with leading bands of the eras including Sydney Thistle and NSW Police and also included stints with top Scottish bands. His record in competition with Sydney Thistle, at the time one of Australia’s premier pipe bands, set up a Allan is believed to have been the first Australian admitted a drumming adjudicator with RSPBA and was Principal Drumming in Australia for eights years, having achieved qualifications both here and in Scotland. Allan has written a number of books on pipe band drumming that received international recognition and was active in reviewing, refining and updating the Australian training syllabus, the preparation of instruction manuals, writing new massed band drum scores. He was active for many years in presenting workshops and lectures in Australia and New Zealand. During his playing career, Allan performed with top Australian bands and guested with bands in New Zealand and Scotland. He studied the development of pipe band drumming and its personalities with many of his definitive, technical and historical articles being published Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, USA, Spain and Switzerland


  • Duncan MacLennan MBE – Duncan MacLennan was particularly influential in the advancement of pipe band performance in Australia in the years following World War Two, using his training in Scotland and knowledge of the bagpipes to benefit soldiers returning home and the arrival of a new wave of Scottish emigrants, having served as a pipe major during the war. He initially was in Ballarat where he soon had that band as one of the leading bands in the country and later returned to Victoria Scottish Regiment that became a leader in pipe band performance in the 1950s and 1960s. He also continued to tutor numerous other bands in those post-war years. Duncan was also a founding member of the Pipers’ Club of Victoria where solo playing was promoted. An early 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 inaugural President 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.


  • Sam Young - Sam began his piping in 1960 under his father, Ian Young in Queensland who in his own right had a strong background in tradition piping values and authentic teachings. In 1974 Sam was accepted as a pupil under the Queen’s Piper, Pipe Major RB Nicol of  Balmoral where he received extensive tuition in piobaireachd and light music. For over 40 years Sam has successfully competed with great success in solo events and bands. Throughout the 1980s Sam was piper in the Grade 1 Queensland Irish Sandy Campbell.  Queensland Irish was a forerunner to pipe bands travelling from Australia to Scotland and Ireland to win major competitions. In more recent years Sam was instrumental in the reformation of the NSW Police Pipe Band and its competition achievements throughout the 1990s. He served as pipe major for a total of 17 years in that organisation. Sam was heavily involved with the management of the band structure under the NSW Police Volunteers in Policing program maintaining both musical and business processes. Throughout the years Sam has been involved in both the Queensland and NSW Pipers’ Societies with participation in solo competitions, recitals and competition promotions. Sam has held the position of vice-principal piping and in 2005 he was appointed to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's International Adjudicators Panel as a Piping Adjudicator. In recent times his adjudication appointments have included Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships.


  • 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.

  • Harold Gillespie - Began his drumming career in 1961 aged 9 with Mitcham Pipe Band before joining Nunawading, Hawthorn and Victoria Police in Australia and Ballynahinch in Northern Ireland. Harold’s extensive record of sustained success and achievement in pipe band circles is one of outstanding and unparalleled excellence. A combination of expert drumming technique and styles have contributed to Harold’s wealth of knowledge which he has passed on throughout his years of leadership, band and personal tuition, workshops and adjudication. Harold’s many years of playing, leadership, teaching and mentorship see him as most highly respected and admired drummer, both nationally and internationally. Harold’s performance career in Australia saw him as drum sergeant or flank drummer with some of the nation’s leading bands from the 1970sthrough to the 1990s, including the 1998 World champions Victoria Police. A combination of expert drumming technique and styles have contributed to Harold’s wealth of knowledge which he has passed on throughout his years of leadership, band and personal tuition, workshops and adjudication. Harold’s many years of playing, leadership, teaching and mentorship see him as most highly respected and admired drummer, both nationally and internationally. A former vice-principal drumming where he conducted training and examinations and RSPBA international panel adjudicator, Harold has assisted many bands through workshops and mentoring. Every drum score imparted was his original composition to all bands instructed.  Several bands including Grade 1 UK bands have used or copied these drum scores. His influence on several generations of students at Haileybury is evident with successes in band championships over 20 years plus solo championship achievements.


  • 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.

  • Brett Tidswell - He has a long and respected history as an educator of pipers at the highest of levels and has been principal piping in Australia since 2003 overseeing development of education and training for pipers and adjudicators. Having been employed as a piping instructor in the Defence Force and for some years as a full-time bagpipe teacher; in 1991 he was asked to take on the role of pipe major of the newly formed, City of Adelaide Pipe Band. That band seven years later was crowned Australian champions. During his playing career, Brett has also achieved on the international stage playing with Strathclyde Police. Brett has been described as the only piper to win Australia’s top solo piping competition (a record 12 wins of the RU Brown Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal) as well as pipe majoring a Grade 1 Australian championship winning band, “an impressive feat that will not be beaten in this generation”. He is author of the acclaimed The Complete Pipers Handbook and his technical articles have been published in some of the world including New Zealand, USA, Canada and Scotland.


  • Sandy Campbell - Sandy emigrated to Brisbane in 1950 after serving in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. After a short stay in Brisbane he married his long-time partner Mary Leask and returned to Scotland for a further three years.  In 1954 Sandy and Mary returned to Australia and moved to Mt Isa in north Queensland to work in the mines until 1957 when they returned to Brisbane. He met up with Pipe Major Donald McKinnon (ex-KOSB) and formed the Mt Isa Pipe Band which quickly achieved prominence in the competition arena. Sandy is no doubt a leader and was a most influential person in the pipe band scene throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in Australia. His success can only be attributed to his dedicated teaching of many hundreds of pupils and the importance of maintaining standards, always seeking to raise the bar. Through his teachings, not only did he excel in pushing the limits in pipe band standards, he is recognised for his contribution in paving the way for many successful solo players in realising their personal achievement in both Australia and Scotland. Sandy set the scene with the introduction of Australian bands travelling to Scotland and Northern Ireland to compete back in 1978 - 1985 saw the pinnacle of his achievements, encompassing a seven-week tour which resulted in Queensland Irish winning the Grade 2 Championship at the Cowal Highland Gathering. Sandy played a significate role in opening up the regular flow of players, instructors and adjudicators bringing their international expertise to Australia. As pipe major he won nine Australian Grade 1 championships – five with Red Hackle and four with Queensland Irish. Sandy was always seeking to raise the bar.  Sandy’s success in Scotland with the Queensland Irish Association not only put Australian bands on the world stage, but perhaps more importantly it gave Australians the confidence that they could match it with the world’s best.

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