Please find attached the contest draw (Mk 3) for the Ballarat Highland Gathering to be held this coming Sunday 23 February 2020 at Victoria Park, Ballarat.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

Applications are now open for a new Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association education and training program that will have two funding rounds in 2020.

A maximum of $5000 is available in each round to support initiatives that will benefit pipers, drummers and drum majors.

As part of that journey to determining a new structure, the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association has introduced the Funding Program. The funding rounds are additional to annual allocations already provided for the support of solo piping through the Victorian Pipers’ Association, solo drumming through Pipe Bands Victoria (the state branch of Pipe Bands Australia) and assistance to Pipe Bands Victoria for support of events at which pipe band competitions are conducted. In total, the annual financial contribution in 2020 will be $17,000.
Grants under the Funding Program will be available only by application addressing the program guidelines and criteria and able to demonstrate a benefit to the pipe band movement in Victoria.
The VHPBA Funding Program aims to assist in developing a strong and innovative pipe band scene in Victoria by:

• Supporting a broad range of education, training and engagement projects and programs by member bands and affiliated organisations.
• Supporting initiatives, programs and projects to increase the availability and accessibility of pipe bands to the public and to build audiences.
• Supporting educational and engagement projects and programs that reflect the place of pipe bands in the communities of Victoria.
• Assisting pipe bands and affiliated kindred organisations in building their sustainability and financial viability and engaging in partnerships or collaborations with government, business, organisations and communities.
The maximum grant amount for a single application shall not exceed $5000.
Applications for round one close on 2 March for projects between April and June. For application forms, visit the “About VHPBA” page link on the website header or click here.

Congratulations to our Chieftain Ted Baillieu who has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List.

We also congratulate all other members who received citizenship honours and awards on Australia Day.

Pipe Bands Australia has launched an initiative to raise funds for the national bushfire relief and recovery appeal established by the Bendigo Bank in partnership with the Salvation Army.

Bushfires across Australia over summer have impacted many communities and affected members of our pipe band family with several, sadly, losing their homes and possessions. Members of Pipe Bands Australia have already willingly rallied to assist those affected members with replacement of instruments or uniforms.

The PBA online fundraiser has been made possible by the generous assistance of McCallum Bagpipes in Scotland and the Melbourne-based Celtic Affairs with donation of a set of bagpipes. We thank and acknowledge the kind support and assistance of McCallum Bagpipes and Celtic Affairs.

Members, families and friends supporting the PBA special effort will go into a draw to receive a set of McCallum AB4/DLC Blackwood Bagpipes with imitation ivory projecting mounts with engraved nickel plates recessed into the top surface of the projecting mounts, engraved nickel ferrules and slides, engraved nickel ringcaps, engraved nickel & imitation ivory mouthpiece (Celtic). Also included will be a Blackwood McC2 Pipe Chanter (Engraved Nickel Sole) Celtic and McCallum Bagpiper Case.

The link to support this fundraising initiative is and will remain open until 3 April with recipients of the McCallum bagpipes announced at the Australian Pipe Band Championships on the weekend of 4 and 5 April.

Bendigo Bank has partnered with The Salvation Army, to establish an appeal with 100 per cent of donated funds going directly to communities in need. The appeal will be conducted by the bank’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation. Funds raised will be used in a range of locally identified charitable areas to provide relief and recovery in the fire affected areas.

Pipe Bands Australia will also promote individual band performances and fundraising efforts for the bushfire appeals.

St Andrew’s Caledonian Pipe Band will be participating in the Fair Dinkum Fire Appeal on 31 January at Windsor Park, Launceston, Sunshine Coast Caledonian Pipes and Drums will be performing at a bush fire fundraiser at Mooloolaba Wharf on 9 February while City of Ipswich Pipe Band has announced its gathering in May will be a bushfire appeal fundraiser.

Entries for the 2020 Australian Pipe Band Championships will officially close on Monday 3 February with the promoter, Maryborough Highland Society.

Bands and drum majors from across Australia and overseas have already entered the Pipe Bands Australia Diamond Jubilee year championships on 4 and 5 April – at least 35 bands to date.

The championships have prizemoney and trophies totalling more than $16,000 including new ongoing sponsorship from the Clan Donald Land Trust.

Following the final close of entries, the official draw will be conducted and released by Pipe Bands Australia and Pipe Bands Victoria. The promoter will distribute an information form for bands to complete its tune and band details for inclusion in the official program.

Band and drum major entries can be lodged at

Direct inquiries to the promoter

City of Melbourne Pipe Band are inviting members of other bands to join with the City of Melb PB for the 2020 Gay Pride march on Sunday 2nd of February. Wear your band uniform and extra pride items as you like. Massed band tunes. Meeting 12 noon @ Ian Johnson Oval at cnr of Fitzroy St and Lakeside Dr. Please contact Campbell Wilson CMHPB or David Telford OSPD for any further details or questions.

Bob’s family has advised that the funeral service will be held at

The Scots Church

156 Collins Street Melbourne

Wednesday 22 January 2020 at 10.30am

In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Royal Children’s Hospital Rats of Tobruk Fellowship fund.

The family would be pleased that band members and former members attending the celebration of Bob’s life wear kilts.

Our Pipe Bands Australia chieftain Bob Semple, in his 100th year, passed away this morning in Melbourne after a short illness.

Bob will be remembered as a great Australia who unselfishly served his nation and the pipe band community with dignity and amazing commitment throughout his life.

For 75 years a member of the Hawthorn band, Bob was seven times Australia champion drum major and was Principal Drill and Dress for a decade from 1977.

A life member of Pipe Bands Australia and inaugural inductee into the Hall of Fame, Bob was appointed chieftain of Pipe Bands Australia in 1998. In this role, he provided wisdom and strength to movement and was constantly sought out by members of our movement who received his encouragement freely delivered with hope and optimism.

Bob was a veteran of World War Two and one of the few surviving Rats of Tobruk. He enlisted in the Victorian Scottish Regiment in 1936 and served throughout War War Two in the Middle East, New Guinea and Borneo, rising to the rank of sergeant.

Through the Rats of Tobruk Association, of which he was at the time of his passing the Victorian president, Bob devoted many hours to speaking with school groups and other organisations. When the association sold its Melbourne hall, the proceeds were donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

In 2017, Bob was guest speaker at the Australian War Memorial commemoration on ANZAC Day.

Bob was also a member of the Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums, formed in 1961 as a living tribute to the Rats. He performed as a piper with the Rats on several overseas tours including the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Middle East.

In additional to being an accomplished piper, Bob was also proficient on violin and took that instrument with him during World War Two.

The legacy and memory of Bob Semple will live through the performance of music and the coming together of people to share music and fellowship. As pipe bands we are, as Bob would always say, in the entertainment business.

Last September, Bob again attended the biennial conference of Pipe Bands Australia where he was applauded for amazing commitment to our movement.

Bob Semple lived respected. We celebrate the wonderful life of this great Australian and for being able to share time with him.

Bands are advised that the promoter, the Maryborough Highland Society, in consultation with Pipe Bands Australia, has decided to extend the closing date for registration for the 2020 Australian Pipe Band Championships. This decision was made due to the devastating fires that are currently sweeping our country and the realisation for many, there is greater priorities at this time. Our thoughts are with all affected during this time of national crisis.


Entries must be made online and the link to the entries page for the championships is

Additional updated information provided by the promoter regarding entries, prize money, sponsors, travel and accommodation can be found via the link to

Bands are reminded that entries for the 2020 Australian Pipe Band Championships which opened 1 January 2019 will close on 4 January 2020.

Entries must be made online and the link to the entries page for the championships is

The championships will be the second to be held at Maryborough and are promoted by the Maryborough Highland Society. The society also promotes the annual Maryborough Highland Gathering held on New Year’s Day.

We also take this opportunity to wish all our members a safe and happy new year.