Published: September 25, 2019

Murray steps down as P-M of Grade 1 Western Australia Police

James Murray has resigned as pipe-major of the Grade 1 Western Australia Police Pipe Band, a post he’s held since 2012.

Based in Perth on the western-most region of the vast country, “WAPOL” is unique as a Grade 1 band in that they are not able to travel outside of the country due to their sponsor’s stipulations.

James Murray is originally from Fife, Scotland, and immigrated to Australia specifically to join the police force and to run the band. According to a statement, his resignation is due to him accepting a piping tutor role at Scotch College in Perth. His last official day with the band will be on September 27 for annual Police Remembrance Day events.

Taking over on an interim level is pipe-sergeant Stuart Robertson, also a Scots immigrant. Before moving to Australia in 2010, Robertson was a member of Grade 1 Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia and, before Shotts, the now defunct Grade 1 Torphichen & Bathgate. The band will advertise for a permanent successor to be in place in the New Year.

The move is the second major shake up for an upper-grade Australian band, following the announcement that Grade 2 Hawthorn of Melbourne was losing Kyle Warren as pipe-major.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Jim for his huge contribution and dedicated service to the WA Police Force Pipe Band over the past seven years,” Ian Stewart, WA Police Force Pipe Band Officer in Charge said in a statement. “Since his move from Scotland to Perth in August 2012, he has made a massive impact not only to our band, but also to the pipe band community here in WA and all around Australia.”

Under Murray, the band won the biannual Australian Championship in 2014 and 2016. The only Grade 1 band in Australia, they did not compete at the 2018 national championships.

WAPOL performing at a public function, James Murray at far left.

“It has been a pleasure serving as Pipe Major of the WA Police Force Pipe Band over the last seven years,” Murray said. “The variety and diversity of the pipe band executing its role has allowed me to meet some great people and lead to new experiences throughout Australia.”

The band made it clear that it will search “internationally” for a successor, but expressions of interest in the pipe-major role are already being welcomed by email.

Before moving to Australia, James Murray was pipe-major of the Grade 1 Fife Constabulary Pipe Band, currently known as Police Scotland Fife, of which Murray’s brother, Douglas, is pipe-major. Among many other prizes, he won the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 1997.

At publication time, Stewart had not responded to the question of whether the band will be allowed to compete outside of Australia in the future.

 


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