August 30, 2020

Pipe Bands Australia president resigns

Less than a year into his third term as president of Pipe Bands Australia, Chris Earl has announced that he will leave the post on September 7th. No official reason was given for the move, and, at publication time, Earl had not responded to an invitation to comment.

A meeting of the Pipe Bands Australia National Council was convened on August 24th to update the group on an ongoing defamation suit involving a member of the organization and Pipe Bands Australia.

On August 25th, 13 of 16 members of the Council reportedly signed a resolution of no confidence in Chris Earl as president. For specific action to be taken, another meeting would have to be convened with 21 days’ notice, and Earl subsequently resigned.

According to sources, a meeting is planned in the next month to fill the president role, and several candidates are thought to be interested in the job.

Earl was first elected to the position in 2015 and was re-elected in September 2019 for a third two-year term. Among the initiatives he oversaw were an expansion of competition grades and musical requirements in sync with those of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. He also led the creation of a Pipe Bands Australia Hall of Fame, and the development of an online training library and several social media properties.

He was also the centre of several significant controversies that caught the attention of the piping and drumming world.

The suspension of members of the Grade 1 City of Whitehorse in the first year of his first term eventually led to the demise of the group. The suspensions included years-long banishment of the band’s pipe-major and lead-drummer. The matter stemmed from comments made on the band’s private Facebook page. Followers of the page were invited to make comments regarding a photo of Pipe Bands Australia and RSPBA adjudicator Nat Russell wearing a promotional baseball cap of the Grade 1 Canterbury Caledonia Pipe Band of New Zealand. Russell was in the picture wearing the cap among Canterbury members who were celebrating their victory at the New Zealand Championships.

In 2017, the treasurer of Pipe Bands Australia was found guilty of defrauding the organization of reportedly as much as $200,000. Earl had allegedly survived a vote of no confidence following the fraud controversy. After the monetary loss, Pipe Bands Australia reportedly remained solvent after a loan from the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association, which it is still repaying.

Earl gained his third term in September 2019 after a contentious campaign and vote, eventually wining against Ainsley Hart, an accomplished piper who had served many years with the New South Wales Pipe Band Association.

The leadership of Pipe Bands Australia is made up of the leaders of the various pipe band associations across the country.

In a statement, John Ralph, secretary of Pipe Bands Australia, said, “Chris’s energy and sense of commitment to the cause will be notably absent but he won’t be a stranger around the scenes. Thank you for your service and enjoy all that spare time, Chris!”


Earl re-elected to third Pipe Bands Australia term
September 13, 2019

Pipe Bands Australia preparing for controversial election
September 11, 2019

Former Pipe Bands Australia treasurer sentenced
March 6, 2019

Pipe Bands Australia inaugurates Hall of Fame with 12 inductees
April 5, 2018

Australian nominations up in the air
August 18, 2017

Australian losses exceed $180k
March 6, 2017

Australia accounting matter involves police
February 7, 2017

Whitehorse removed from Pipe Bands Australia
October 21, 2016








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