Grade 1 Western Australia Police on the hunt again for new leader
After only two years in the role, Alisdair McLaren has decided to leave as pipe-major of the Grade 1 Western Australia Police Pipe Band in favour of a new role as the Head of Pipe Band and Piping instruction at Presbyterian Ladies College in Perth, Australia.
Applications for the full-time paid position are now open by the police force on a worldwide level, a spokesperson for the band saying “We feel that international candidates might be more suited to the role,” which carries an annual salary of between AUD$81,452 and AUD$85,797.
McLaren, a native Australian, took the WAPOL job in April 2020 after a lengthy search by the police force to replace James Murray, who left the role in 2019.
McLaren had been officially pipe-major of the Grade 1 Glasgow Police Pipe Band, gaining the role in September 2019, but never actually taking the band into competition when he decided to leave Scotland for Australia in early 2020.
The Western Australia Police Pipe Band competes in Grade 1 but only in Australia. The band used to travel actively to New Zealand and Scotland. The police force allows travel outside of the state of Western Australia or the country, but only with permission.
McLaren had served as pipe-major of WAPOL in 2005 and 2006, and was pipe-sergeant of the Glasgow Police from 2016-’18, and for many years was a piper with Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery. He worked at the National Piping Centre and ran the organization’s National Youth Pipe Band.
WAPOL had reportedly planned to compete in the Australian Pipe Band Championships earlier in October, but had to withdraw from the event.
The Presbyterian Ladies’ College, is an independent, day and boarding school predominantly for girls, situated in Peppermint Grove, a western suburb of Perth. The school has had a pipe band and piping and drumming teaching program for more than 40 years. It is one of three private schools in Western Australia to operate a pipe band.
“Making the decision to leave the band wasn’t an easy one, as I love being a part of the band and being a part the important role it plays in the local community.” – Alisdair McLaren
McLaren said that the position is a newly created role for the school.
“It was really something that I couldn’t turn down as I now have a chance to hopefully create a top school’s youth program within our local community,” McLaren said. “Plus, it would be amazing to see a top juvenile ladies’ band back out into the scene.
“It has been an absolute privilege and honour to have been the pipe-major of the WA Police Pipe Band for the second time. Making the decision to leave the band wasn’t an easy one, as I love being a part of the band and being a part the important role it plays in the local community. It’s been amazing working alongside the enthusiastic and highly driven guys in the band and I’m positive that the band is only going to go from strength to strength given the strong foundations that have been built by the team over the past two years.”
McLaren added that he plans to continue to play with WAPOL as a guest player, “bolstering the ranks for as many engagements as I can and hopefully will be a part of the backing team for concert arrangements in the future.”
Interested and qualified pipers can investigate the WAPOL opportunity here.