It is with great sadness that we inform our community of the passing of Grace Neal, wife of former President of the VHPBA and Haileybury Drum Tutor, Bruce Neal.

Grace’s contribution to our community was considerable, serving as an active member of the Ladies Committee for many years and also fundraising for the VHPBA. She is also remembered for her support during Bruce’s involvement with both Haileybury and Melbourne.

On behalf of PBV, we extend our deepest sympathy and offer our condolences to Bruce, Grace’s family and friends.

The Ringwood Highland Gathering has released a statement to stakeholders including Pipe Bands Victoria to advise that their committee has decided to postpone this year’s event scheduled for 28th March 2021 until early October 2021.

The Gathering Committee have postponed the Ceilidh until early October as well. Precise dates and venue are under negotiation with the local council and further information regarding the date and venue will be forwarded by Pipe Bands Victoria as and when it comes to hand from the Gathering Committee.

Please refer to the attached statement from the Ringwood Highland Gathering Committee, and we invite all members and friends to support them with the virtual gathering in July, and rescheduled gathering in October 2021.


Ringwood Highland Games communication

The Sir Rupert Hamer Award

The Sir Rupert Hamer Award is awarded annually in honour of our inaugural V.H.P.B.A. Chieftain, Sir Rupert Hamer AC, KCMG, ED.

Nominees should be persons who have made a significant personal commitment in support of the objectives of Pipe Bands in Victoria and the V.H.P.B.A. over a period of many years. The nominee’s support can be as a piper, drummer, drum major, tutor, administrator, or a combination of musician/administrator.

Nominations are now open and close on the second Friday of March each year. Please refer to the nomination form for additional details.

Pipe Bands Victoria is delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 Sir Rupert Hamer Award is Tom Troup.

Tom has been involved in pipe bands and snare drumming since he migrated to Australia in the 1960’s. He learnt to play snare with the Boy’s Brigade in Dundee, Scotland but did not play with a band until he migrated to Australia which include Scottish Ex-Service, The Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums, The Royal Caledonian Society and Moorabbin City Pipe Band. Whilst with Moorabbin, the band was regraded into Grade 2 and won the Grade 2 Australian Championships in 1976 and 1978.

During his time with the Rats Of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums as Drum Sergeant, Tom was a major impetus for the band performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1988 and was liaison with the tattoo organisers. The band was the first civilian band to have their own performance (outside of massed bands) at the tattoo.

In the late 1980s, Tom moved to the City of Melbourne No. 3 band, assuming leadership of the drum corps and was responsible for the tuition of their learners and up and coming snare drummers. In the 1990s, Tom then moved on to the Hawthorn City Pipe Band, where he was originally a corps drummer, but moved on to bass, whilst also taking on the roles of Drum Sergeant and secretary. Some highlights with Hawthorn were winning the New Zealand Championships in 2002 (clean sweep) and 2003; competing at the Jakarta Highland Gathering in the open grade and being crowned best bass drummer, beating out 2 Grade 1 bass drummers.

Currently, Tom is a member of Frankston RSL Pipes and Drums, initially as tutor, but then as a corps drummer, ultimately becoming drum sergeant whist continuing to tutor.

Tom’s contribution to other bands as tutor has also included the Ringwood, St Andrews Ladies, and Sale pipe bands.
Tom has continued his interest and has been Pipe Bands Victoria and VHPBA councillor for a number of bands. A drumming colleague Tom’s has quoted:

“Tom has been instrumental in starting and inspiring the career of many pipe band drummers.” This includes two of his children, Alex becoming a world class snare drummer, and Caroline becoming a world class tenor drummer. Tom has also been a mentor for those taking on roles within bands, whether it was as Drum Sergeant or an administrative role.

Congratulations Tom on being awarded the 2020 Sir Rupert Hamer Award.

The Annual General Meeting of Pipe Bands Victoria took place via Zoom on 16 December 2020. Pipe Bands Victoria was very pleased to be joined by our Chieftain, The Hon. Ted Baillieu, former Premier of Victoria who spoke to the meeting prior to reading the citation for the 2020 Sir Rupert Hamer Award.

During the meeting, Office Bearers were confirmed as:

• Chairman Tim McLeod

• Vice Chairman (x2) Mick Ryan & Chris Bouwmeester

•Treasurer Tim Bodey

• Secretary Karen Wallace

• Assistant Secretary Jason Blake

Pipe Bands Victoria acknowledges and thanks retiring Vice Chairman Chris Earl, who has served on the Executive since 2014, for his services and contribution to the Executive team.
Thank you to all members who attended the meeting, and we take this opportunity to wish all members and bands Seasons Greetings.

Please find attached the Notice of the Annual General Meeting for Pipe Bands Victoria (Pipe Bands Australia Inc. Victoria Branch) which has been scheduled for Wednesday 16 December 2020 at 8:00pm. The Branch Officer nomination form and proxy form is also attached.

Regrettably, on 7 October, Pipe Bands Victoria has received the following from the Federation University Pipe Band, the promoter of the Ballarat Highland Gathering:

“At a meeting held earlier this evening, the FedUni Pipe Band has made the decision to cancel the 2021 Ballarat Highland Gathering that was scheduled for late February 2021.

This is due to the unknown COVID restrictions that might still be in place in Victoria, an inability to restrict numbers to our Gathering and the time limitations for Bands to be “ready” for competing once restrictions ease.”

The winners of the Annual Trophies for the Victorian Highland Gatherings sponsored by Chris Hosking and Chris Earl for the 2020 season, are;
Grade 4B
Duncan MacLennan MBE Memorial Cup – Aggregate Piping & Drumming
City of Melbourne HPB #2
Ernie Cartwright Memorial Shield – Dress & Drill
City of Melbourne HPB #2
Grade 4A – This is the inaugural year for these trophies to be awarded.
Don McPhie Trophy – Aggregate Piping & Drumming
St Arnaud NSM
Ian Morison OAM Trophy – Dress & Drill
St Arnaud NSM
Grade 3
Bill Bruce Trophy – Aggregate Piping & Drumming
Victoria Scottish Pipe Band
Ernie Cartwright Memorial Cup – Dress & Drill
City of Melbourne HPB #1
Apologies for the lateness of this announcement. Access Auto Parts have sponsored these trophies for many years now with the aim of rewarding bands for their efforts and encouraging attendance at Gatherings. With an increase in the number of grades and awards presented, Chris Earl now supports Chris Hosking in the funding and presentation of these awards.
Thankyou both for your ongoing commitment and support for our bands and we look forward to trophies being presented to bands at time we can all meet again.

A press release was issued on 2 September by the Maryborough Highland Society cancelling the postponed 2020 Pipe Band Championships. Pipe Bands Victoria understands this has been communicated directly to those bands who had entered the Championships.

The following link is to the press release issued by the Highland Society:

Pipe Bands Victoria has this week received notification that the 2021 Geelong Highland Gathering has been cancelled due to the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19.

Whilst Pipe Bands Victoria has not been formally advised, it has also been brought to our attention that the Daylesford Highland Gathering originally scheduled for December 2020 has also been cancelled. Band secretaries have been advised of the revised status of these two contests for the coming season.

The Branch is continuing to liaise with all promoters regarding the status of each contest leading into 2021, and will communicate advice as and when it is received. Whilst these recent cancellations are disappointing, we are acutely aware that the health and safety of members and spectators is the highest priority of both the Branch and our promoters. We look forward to Government advice enabling larger gatherings to take place, thus allowing the resumption of band practices and other activities.