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The band at the Edinburgh Tattoo in Sydney 2005


The Logan/MacLennan tartan is worn by the Band in honour of its first Pipe Major, Lewis MacLennan. A brief history of four generations of MacLennans can be found in The Piping MacLennans (published with the consent of Clan Maclennan worldwide website at http://www.clanmaclennan-worldwide.com).

Band history

The City of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band is one of Australia’s oldest pipe bands. Our members are proud of traditions dating back to the 1890s. Since that time the band has earned a reputation for musical innovation and excellence in performance.

South and Port Melbourne Thistle Society's Pipe Band c1914

The band is highly regarded within Australia as a key exponent of the traditional art of Pipe Band music. In recent years the band has developed new concepts and innovations within this traditional field, including the blending of traditional / non-traditional music with specialized choreographic displays and concert performances.

Bagpipes have been important in almost every European and Middle Eastern culture, but it is with Scotland that pipe music is inevitably associated. Different types of bagpipe are still played today in Ireland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, India, Egypt, Jordan and North Africa; the Scottish pipe is also played in virtually every British Commonwealth nation and the United States. The City of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band is proud to maintain this multi-cultural tradition.

1897 to 1918

Born out of desire for the early Scottish settlers to perpetuate the traditions and customs of their homeland, the band began life as the South & Port Melbourne Thistle Society’s Pipe Band around 1897/98. The band performed for both society and public occasions growing in size and prowess as their existence became more widely known and new arrivals joined their number. As pipe band contests began to be held, the band was frequently successful, including at unofficial Australian Champion contests. At the outbreak of the first world war 22 of the band’s 26 members enlisted, with seven losing their lives.

1918 to 1978

In 1918 the pipe band split from the Thistle Society to become a self-governing body. The name chosen was the Melbourne Highland Pipe Band, which was to endure for sixty years. The band was at the forefront of the pipe bands standard in Australia during the forties, fifties and sixties competing in contests Australia wide and accumulating many accolades including National and State Championships at the highest level.

Melbourne Highland Pipe Band - 1950s

In 1962 the band released an album "Airs, Marches and Selections", which was widely distributed in Australia and the United States. The following track is the band playing "The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein" and "Green Hills of Tyrol".

During this period the band was also invited to record and participate in the radio based contest by the BBC. A copy of this event remains in the band’s archives.

In 1978 a geographical affiliation was established with the City of Melbourne and the band became The City of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band.

1978 to the present day

During the eighties and nineties the band underwent an extensive reconstruction and growth period. The result was an expansion of our activities and promotion to the higher level of piping groups at a national level.

The band celebrated its centenary with the production of the CD “An Epic Journey” comprised mainly of original compositions. The track below is the Grade One band's contest medley from the album. The album can be purchased via Amazon.

The band travelled extensively interstate, and to New Zealand on several occasions, to improve musical competitiveness. On the contest field the band was rewarded with success in many competitions, most notably Australian Championships wins in 1974 (Juvenile grade) and 1992 (Grade 3), and regular Grade 1 placings. The band was undefeated in the Display contest between 1984 and 2004.

In recent times the band has been invited to take part in all three Edinburgh Tattoo events held in Australia, the most recent in Melbourne in 2016.

AFL Grand Final Parade, 2010

With in excess of thirty members in the Pipe Corps and twenty in the Drum Corps, the band enters contest groups in various grades. The members are an extremely representative cross section of the community, from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Members come from throughout Melbourne and Victorian country areas.

2018 brings a significant milestone for the band, as we celebrate 120 years, and 100 years as “Melbourne Highland”.

Roll of Honour

A SMALL 1921
P BURNS 1941
J BROWN 1946
J MacKENZIE 1946
W MacLENNAN 1946
J GRAY 1947
Robert DRENNAN 1949
Joseph BOURKE 1950
William MacRAILD 1950
Alec McPHEDRAN 1954
Dr Charles COURTNEY 1957
John FALCONER 1959
Angus MacAFFER 1959
Keith MANIFOLD 1959
Bruce NEAL 1959
Arthur JOHNS 1965
Murray STEWART 1965
Roy TAYLOR 1965
William WALLACE 1965
Donald CHALMERS 1966
Ian STEWART 1973
James McPHEE 1992
Trevor LORMAN 1993
Ian MORISON 1995
Chris SINCLAIR 1995
Neil STEWART 1995
Stuart WALL 2000
Russell KEMP 2007
Andrew OGILVY 2007
Joel CROTTY 2011
Trevor PEARSON 2012
Campbell WILSON 2012
Lachlan WILSON 2014

Donate to the band

Donations to the band are directed to our Education Fund. The Fund primarily assists young pipers and drummers in their tuition programme, allowing them to attend workshops and lessons presented in Australia by world-renown tutors.


Donations are processed by Stripe. We do not retain any personal or credit card details.

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September 24, 2018
The Gathering / Athol Highlanders

A great finale to our Sale concert!

September 24, 2018
Red Plastic Stickytape Holder

Red Plastic Stickytape Holder at our Sale Concert. Cracker classic by Andy Ogilvy!

September 4, 2018

Hey friends and supporters - the first in our concert series is fast approaching! We'd love to see you all there, so grab you tickets now!

July 22, 2018
Photos from City Of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band's post

A magnificent Melbourne day for the Tartan Festival!

June 21, 2018
Photos from City Of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band's post

Can you help date these photos more closely? One (at Ringwood Highland Games) must be late 1980s or early 1990s, and one of the last times we wore our full uniform on a contest day! The B&W photo is ... See more

June 13, 2018
Photos from City Of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band's post

Some more great photos - all being gathered together for our 120th Anniversary Gala Ball. Ticket sales close soon, so don't miss out - it's sure to be a great night (particularly given our new beer ... See more

May 31, 2018

The band is excited to announce the return of Dean Hall as Drum Sergeant of the band! After a 24 year global walkabout, notching up extensive experience and achievements on the world stage, including ... See more

May 21, 2018

Did someone say beer sponsor? For a pipe band?! This could be dangerous... We are super excited to announce the band now officially has a beer sponsor in Moon Dog Craft Brewery! Local Melbourne lads ... See more

May 15, 2018
Photos from City Of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band's post

𝐓𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝟏𝟐𝟎𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐆𝐚𝐥𝐚 𝐁𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 ... See more

May 8, 2018
Photos from City Of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band's post

Here's a wonderful photo from the archives of the Australian War Memorial, featuring the band taking part in the VP day celebrations in 1945. Have you ever seen a happier bass ... See more

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