Pipe Bands Victoria is extremely pleased to congratulate Anthony Sell OAM and Donald Blair OAM who have made significant and life long contributions to pipe bands and Scottish culture in Victoria and also had an impact throughout Australia.
We also congratulate Sue Macleod OAM, who until her recent retirement, was the organiser and convener of the Ringwood Highland Gathering. Sue has made a long term contribution to the Scottish community spanning almost 50 years, and has dedicated much of her life to promoting and organising the Ringwood Highland Gathering to foster Scottish cultural activities in Melbourne.
A summary of activities of both Tony and Donald are listed below. This is by no means a complete biography, but clearly demonstrates the dedication and contribution both these gentlemen have made to our movement.
Anthony Sell OAM
Pipe Bands Victoria extends congratulations to Tony Sell upon him being awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018. Tony has been heavily involved in administrative and organisational aspects of the pipe band movement in Australia for a period well in excess of 50 years.
Whilst studying at Scotch College (Melbourne), Tony became involved in the Army Cadet Unit, and it was during this period he began his interaction with pipe bands. After leaving school, he studied Law at Melbourne University, and was the inaugural Secretary of the Melbourne University Pipe Band established during the early 1960s. This began his involvement in administrative matters with pipe bands which continues until this day.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Tony was involved in with the administration of the City of Nunawading Highland Pipe Band and was President of that organisation for a number of years. During this period, he was made a Life Member of the band whilst he continued other administrative duties at a broader level.
He has actively contributed at many administrative levels of the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association (VHPBA), the Australian Federation of Pipe Band Associations (AFPBA), and its successor, the Australian Pipe Band Association (now known as Pipe Bands Australia), and since retiring, has continued his involvement at many levels within the pipe band movement within Australia.
Tony has served the VHPBA in a variety of positions. He started as Assistant Secretary in the early 1960s, was Secretary for approximately ten years during the late 1960s and 1970s, and has again filled the position of Assistant Secretary since 2015. As Secretary in the 1970s, Tony instigated the monthly magazine “Pipe Bands Victoria” and he published this journal for almost twenty years until others took on this role. He has also had a major role in originally drafting the PBA Rules and other regulations, and many of their subsequent updates.
Tony was awarded Life Membership of the VHPBA in 1974, and this was also recognised with the formation of Pipe Bands Australia when along with other Life Members of State based Associations, he was an inaugural Life Member of Pipe Bands Australia. He was also an early recipient of the Sir Rupert Hamer Award in 1994, an annual award in recognition of outstanding service to pipe bands in Victoria. He now holds the title “Principal Emeritus” of Pipe Bands Australia in further recognition of his significant contribution to pipe bands.
For much of his professional working life, Tony allowed the use of his business premises for use by the VHPBA, and was heavily involved in raising of finance and the purchase of premises for use as offices by the VHPBA in the 1970s, and its subsequent sale and replacement with new premises in the 1990s. He provided all legal services for the transaction of both properties at no cost. Over the years, he has also provided pro bono legal advice for a large number of Victorian pipe bands.
Tony has made an outstanding contribution to not only the local pipe bands he has been directly involved with, but to many other bands and to furthering the overall pipe band movement within Victoria and Australia.
Donald Blair OAM
Pipe Bands Victoria congratulates Donald Blair on being awarded an OAM. Donald has been heavily involved in teaching bagpipes and other aspects of the pipe band movement throughout most of his life, a period of over 60 years.
Donald has been Pipe Major of the Warrnambool & District Pipes & Drums since the early 1980s when he was elevated to the role following the retirement of the former Pipe Major, Allan Ingram (since deceased). Prior to playing with the Warrnambool band, Donald was Pipe Major of the Terang Pipe Band for a period before moving to Warrnambool where he has been in various leadership capacities within the band through the 1970s, culminating in his appointment as Pipe Major in 1982.
Donald has taught well over 100 people the musical art of playing the bagpipes, as well as working with them in the band. This includes younger and older people. Many children have carried this musical skill with them into adulthood, thus enabling them to also contribute to pipe bands and their local communities through performance.
Donald continues to lead the band at community and public events, and has also led the band to several Australian Pipe Band Championship titles, as well as two Royal New Zealand National Pipe Band Championship titles. Warrnambool & District Pipes & Drums has been and continues to be, one of the most active and successful pipe bands in regional Australia, and much of this is due to the dedication, commitment, and talent of Donald as a leader and teacher.
Aside from band activities, Donald also teaches bagpipes at King’s College in Warrnambool. He does this as a volunteer to promote and teach piping to young people and thus assists the school in broadening its curriculum. Donald has also taught at the South West Coast Piper Drummer Dancer workshops held annually in Warrnambool since 2002.
Although having recently turned 80, he continues to amaze many with his fortitude and commitment despite his advancing years. He not only still leads the Warrnambool band, but teaches piping students at least two nights a week, and regularly conducts other additional tuition sessions at his home. He is also very passionate about assisting his students in solo piping competition, and usually travels to all competitions around Victoria to assist and support his students.
The following link standard.net.au will take readers to an article written by Katrina Lovell and published on 11thJune 2018 in the Warrnambool Standard.