The Committee of Pipe Bands Australia wishes to announce the retirement of Tony Bidgood, who, for the past number of years has served as the Principal of Dress and Drill. A detailed summary of his significant contributions and participation in pipe band related activities has been provided below by his good friend and colleague Tony Coen.
On behalf of all members of the Association we wish to express a deep gratitude for his service, and our thoughts and best wishes are with him.Ainsley Hart – President Pipe Bands Australia
Tony has enjoyed a long life involved with military and pipe band activities culminating in several years as Principal Drill & Dress, Pipe Bands Australia.
I know that Tony would have liked to continue on in that position, but health circumstances have forced his hand to retire, rather than resign as he indicated in a letter to the President.
Following is a brief run-down on Tony’s pipe band history:
- Began as a side (snare) drummer and then drum major in St. Virgil’s College Army Cadet Band in 1950s.
- Soon joined Hobart Highland Pipe Band as a side drummer and after a while began to learn bagpipes.
- Transferred to Pipe Corps and later was promoted to Pipe Corporal.
- Resigned from pipe bands in early 1960s to pursue civilian and military careers.
- Returned as a piper in 1986 to Tas. Police Pipe Band and over the years, progressed through piping ranks to Pipe Sergeant and in 1997, Pipe Major. In 1998, Tony was appointed Drum Major and remained in that position until retirement from active band work in 2010.
- During the years that it functioned from 1988 to 1992, Tony was a member of TasPol’s Reel Party.
- He sat and qualified with the Intermediate Piping certificate and in the mid. 1990s, achieved further qualifications in Advanced Drill & Dress and D&D Instructor certificates. In the late 2010s, he certified in Advanced Rules and Administration and is currently VP Rules and Admin. with Pipe Bands Tas.
Tony has many achievements that are too many to list here. Some major milestones and experiences that he likes to remember are:
- Edinburgh Military Tattoo 1989 as a piper, 2002 as Drum Major, 2005 at Sydney as Drum Major.
- Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Sydney as Drum Major. (2010)
- Participated in tattoos and ceremonies at Jakarta 1990 and Hawaii 1995 Highland Gatherings, Royal Hong Kong Police final Beating Retreat 1996, Tasmania Police Centenary Tattoo 1999, New Zealand Searchlight Tattoo 1999, 2004 & 2008, Adelaide International Police Tattoo 2001, 2003 & 2008, Anglesea Barracks Military Tattoo 2004, Australian Federation Tattoo, Hobart 2005, opening & dedication with massed Police Pipes & Drums of National Police Memorial in Canberra 2006, Launceston Bicentennial Tattoo 2006.
- Many other massed and singular ceremonial occasions with Army and other pipe bands, many of which and including a number of those listed above, were organised, managed and led by Tony.
One could go on for several pages, but there is probably enough of Tony’s story already printed.
Tony’s Army career was quite extensive and there is a whole different file that can be filled. Suffice to state that Tony attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received the Order of Australia for services pertaining to military and pipe band activities over many years. He also received high commendations from Tasmania’s Commissioner of Police.
As a member of Tasmania’s D&D Panel, Tony regularly volunteered his services as adjudicator at local contests and also as Contest Supervisor when required. He contributed a great deal to PBT both with individual bands and combined workshops to tutor and educate the finer parts of D&D.
He led his band (TasPol) to many competitions both within Tasmania and interstate and was himself a popular competitor at Drum Major Solo contests with varying results against other good rivals.
He would always endeavour to vary his schedule to provide tuition to anyone wanting to learn the finer points of drum majoring and dress wearing.
He is a good friend, and we regularly discuss the situations and activities of pipe bands in general. It has been a great adventure working with Tony over a lot of years.
Vice Principal Drill & Dress