History of the St George Pipe Band

The band was formed at a meeting of interested parties in the Railway Institute Hall, Forest Road Hurstville, in March 1946. This meeting was chaired by Tom McCulloch, ex Pipe Major of the Burnside Homes Pipe Band. Among those present were four ex-members from the 30th Battalion Scottish Regiment.
The name of the band was to be called the St.George Pipe Band which was later changed to become the St George-Sutherland Scottish Pipe Band and the Tartan chosen was that of the dress MacGregor.

One of those ex-30th Battalion members present at that initial meeting was Jock Crighton. In 1980 he wrote a fascinating history of those early days which you can read here

Thomas McCulloch
Thomas McCulloch
Burnside Orphan Homes.
Burnside Orphan Homes.

From the late 1930s. Includes Tom McCulloch and his sons, Ross and Cuthbert who later played in the St George band

Anzac Day parade.
Anzac Day parade.

Ross McCulloch is playing snare in the back row.

First Engagement
First Engagement

Paddington Town Hall Standing: Jim Renton, Jock Crighton, John Lincoln, Don McLennan, Andy Dawson, Len Angus, ______, Ross McCulloch, Roy Jacobson, _____ Kneeling: ______, Les Wilson, Col Hill, Don Mcleish, Andy Meldrum, Arthur Christopher

Wollongong approx 1950
Wollongong approx 1950

Drum major Jock Gillies

Royal National Park approx 1948/50
Royal National Park approx 1948/50

Playing for dancers

Anzac Day march
Anzac Day march

Drum Major Len Angus Pipers 1st row: Andy Dawson, John Lincoln, Jim Renton, Jock Crighton Pipers 2nd row: Don McLennan, Andy Meldrum, Bert Butters, Don McLeish Pipers 3rd row: Les Wilson, _____, Don Baxter, _____ Drummers: John Meldrum, Malcolm Lindsay, Roy Jacobson, Col, Hill, ______,______, Murray Stalker

New Year's Day, Sydney Showground
New Year's Day, Sydney Showground

From left: Len Angus, John Lincoln, Andy Dawson, Jim Renton, Les Wilson, Col Goldie, Malcolm Lindsay, _______, Don McLeish, Coll Hill, Andy Meldrum, Roy, Jacobson, Murray Stalker, Jock Crichton

Royal National Park Picnic
Royal National Park Picnic

From left: Jim Renton, John Meldrum, Don McLennan, Malcolm Lindsay, Andy Meldrum, Col Hill, Les Wilson, ______, Don Mcleish, Murray Stalker,, John Lincoln, Jim McGregor, Len Angus

Front row: Jim Lenton, Cuth McCulloch, Col Goldie. Rear: Mal Linsey, Ross McCulloch

1949
1949

Corner of McMahon St and Park St, Hurstville

From left: Les Wilson, Andy Dawson, Colin Goldie

The band in the 1970s
The band in the 1970s

Pipe Major Nigel McAree Drum Major Ron Mills

Wollongong Showground 1956
Wollongong Showground 1956
1946
1946

Farr Street Rockdale

John Lincoln was a band member from 1946 to 1964. He was not a foundation member but joined later in 1946 to bolster the small pipe corps. You can read John's recollections of those early days here.

Ian Gregory joined the band in 1952 at 17 years of age. Over 60 years later he is still playing and serves the band as Drum Sergeant. In 1996 he wrote some recollections for the 50th anniversary celebrations. You can read them here.

Over the years the band was as much as social club as a band and non-playing family members enjoyed the social gatherings and friendly atmosphere. Kathy McAree's husband Nigel joined the band in 1963 as a piper. Kathy's recollections of the fun that was had can be read here.

Bill Black also joined in 1963, as a bass drummer. His recollections include the memorable time in 1977 when the band played at Sydney Opera House.

​Bert Parker was a member from 1964 to 1971. Bert tells some great stories about traveling to events as far away as McLean and Murrurundi. 

The longest serving Pipe Major in the band's history has been Balfour Bennie. You can read Pat Hannan's tribute to Balfour and Balfour's own recollections of his time as member (1967-1991, 1975-1991 as Pipe Major).

The Pipe Major in 2013, Max Clark, first joined the band in 1971. He recalls those earlier days here.

A feature of the band throughout its history is the tuition given to beginners, on both pipes and drums. Duncan Graham began tutoring drummers around 1985 and continues to do so in 2013. His 1996 memoirs can be read here.

1986 saw the second of the highlight performances in the band's history when they performed at the Sydney International Military Tattoo, playing with bands like the Scots Guards. They can now boast performances at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

The 50th anniversary celebrations and the associated history (much of which is reproduced here) in 1996 were put together by Pat and Les Hannan. Pat's concluding comments on the anniversary can be read here.

 

1986 Military Tattoo
1986 Military Tattoo
Sandy, Munro and Duncan Kirkland
Sandy, Munro and Duncan Kirkland
50th anniversary
50th anniversary
Military Tattoo 1986
Military Tattoo 1986
50th anniversary
50th anniversary
Uniting Church Sutherland 1984
Uniting Church Sutherland 1984
Pipe Major Nigel McAree
Pipe Major Nigel McAree
Christmas dance 1986
Christmas dance 1986

From left: Alan Liddle, Mack Simpson, Garry Dumbrell, Max Clark, Jim Birse

Frank Vickery Village
Frank Vickery Village

Margaret McPherson, Munro Kirkland, Jason Miller, Duncan Kirkland, Max Clark

Surf carnival
Surf carnival
Gymea Lily Festival 1986
Gymea Lily Festival 1986
1988 Band Championships
1988 Band Championships

Top row: Brian Bennie (Drum Sergeant), Ray Goodwin (Drum Major), Tommy Marinata, Neil McPhee Middle row: Brett Dyson, Margaret MacPherson, Alan Liddle, Matthew McNeil, Sandy Kirkland Front row: Balfour Bennie (Pipe Major), Mac Simpson, Joyce Crisp, Munro kirkland, Max Clark (Pipe Sergeant)

In 2006 the band celebrated its 60th anniversary. The photo at the right shows band members at that time.