|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.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.
1897 to 1913
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. 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.
In 1913 the pipe band split from the society to become a self-governing
body changing the name to the Melbourne Highland Pipe Band, which was
to endure for sixty-five years. These years encompassed war service for
the members – the band enlisting en-masse and becoming the Pipes and
Drums of the 5th AIF and eventually in a peacetime reserve services
role as the 5th Battalion Victorian Scottish regiment.
1913 to 1978
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 the National and State
Championships at the highest level.
During this period the band was invited to record and participate in
the radio based contest by the BBC. A copy of this event remains in the
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
The band also celebrated its centenary with the production of a CD
comprised mainly of original compositions.
The band travels extensively interstate, and to New Zealand on several
occasions, to improve their musical competitiveness, and have been
rewarded with numerous successes.
With in excess of thirty members in the Pipe Corps and twenty in the
Drum Corps, the band enters contest groups in various grades. When the
number of advancing learners warrants it the band also enters a
Juvenile band in competition to extend their training opportunities.
The members are an extremely representative cross section of the
community being of either gender and ranging in age from ten to seventy
years. Members come from throughout Melbourne and Victorian country
In addition to the standard contest format, which establishes the bands
criterion within the traditional parameters of piping, they also excel
at the more recent innovation of ‘Own Choice’ Display Marching – the
integration of traditional /non-traditional music with specially
designed choreographed movements, performed by the musicians in a
contest format. The Melbourne band remains undefeated in such
performances over the past fifteen years.
In addition to contests, the band performs regularly at a wide range of
corporate and community events. Regular performances include the AFL
grand final parade, Beechworth Celtic Festival, ANZAC day services and
the Melbourne Cup parade.