Pipe Bands Australia inaugurates Hall of Fame with 12 inductees
There was a long-list of 20 pipers and drummers put forward by a nominating committee, and Pipe Bands Australia has whittled its list of final inaugural inductees to its Hall of Fame to 12.
Nominations were open to all members of the various Australian state pipe band associations to make, and the decision committee comprised a cross-state group that was independent of the Pipe Bands Australia Executive. The organization put a call out for nominations of anyone from the last century or so who had made a suitable contribution to piping and drumming in the country.
The list of honourees (in alphabetical order):
Sandy Campbell – he set up the Red Hackle Pipe Band of Queensland and taught the Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band in the 1980s when the band travelled to Scotland to compete in 1985. A piping teacher of great importance, Campbell has had a long service of judging solo piping and bands.
Allan Chatto – a snare drummer of renown, Chatto was one of the first Australian’s to judge at the World Pipe Band Championships. He published several books of drum scores and drumming instruction, including One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming, which he wrote with former World Solo Drumming Champion and Red Hackle Pipe Band lead-drummer Wilson Young.
Ron Gallagher – a recipient of the Order of Australia, Gallagher was a leading piper of his day, a teacher and piping an pipe band judge for many years. Pipe-Major of the Hawthorn City Pipe Band, he was a mover and shaker with the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association.
Harold Gillespie – the lead-drummer of the Grade 1 Victoria Police Pipe Band for many years, including when the band won the 1998 World Pipe Band Championship, Gillespie is a legend of pipe band drumming in Australia.
Margaret Johnstone – a piper with Melbourne Ladies, she became the band’s youngest pipe-major at age 18 and took the band to Grade 1 status. Johnstone toured France as pipe major of Edinburgh Girl Pipers in the 1960s. She was Victorian secretary for 23 years was and served as Australian secretary for eight years. She is active today as a contest supervisor.
Duncan MacLennan – Duncan MacLennan MBE was pipe-major of the Victoria Scottish Regiment in the 1940s and 1950s. He was president of the Victoria Highland Pipe Band Association for many years, and the VHPBA named its building after him. He also led the Ballarat Highland Pipe Band when he was posted in Ballarat with the Austrian army.
Alex McCormick – a legendary snare drummer in Australia, he immigrated to Australia in 1952 and caused a revolution in the Australian pipe band world. The last band he actually played with as a drummer was the Melbourne Highland Pipe Band in 1953 and 1954 before Alex moved to Ballarat in country Victoria in 1955. McCormick died in 2007.
Nat Russell – probably the most-known of those on the list, Russell was pipe-major of the Victoria Police Pipe Band of Melbourne for many years, including when the band won the 1998 World Championship. Originally from Northern Ireland, and pipe-major of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Pipe Band, Russell is now a regular adjudicator in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Tony Sell – currently the assistant secretary of Pipe Bands Australia, Tony Sell has committed more than 50 years to piping and drumming in Australia. He has been the contest supervisor for the Daylesford Highland Gathering for an astonishing 53 years, and 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. He was largely responsible for the drafting of rules and regulations during more than 40 years of service.
Bob Semple – now 96, Semple is still the official drum-major of the Hawthorn City Pipe Band of Melbourne. Also a piper, and a past adjudicator of dress and deportment at Australian contests, interestingly, Semple was one of the Rats of Tobruk, a name given to the soldiers who held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the Afrika Corps, during the Siege of Tobruk in World War II.
Brett Tidswell – an active teacher and adjudicator, Tidswell is the National Principal of Piping with the Australian Pipe Band Association. He has won many solo piping prizes in Australia and is the author of several instructional books.
Sam Young – a piper and pipe-major for 17 years with the New South Wales Police, Young is currently an adjudicator, frequently at the World Pipe Band Championships.
A more comprehensive description of achievements is available at the Pipe Bands Australia site. The organization will induct a maximum of two honourees to the Hall of Fame every two years.
The announcement of the Hall of Fame inductees came after several lists of finalists were revealed as a lead-up to the 2018 Australian Pipe Band Championships on April 7th in Brisbane.
Congratulations to all of the pipers and drummers inducted into Pipe Bands Australia’s Hall of Fame in its first year.