Friday, December 9, 2022


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Pipe Band Celebrates Caledonian Heritage

Image 1: The Mackay & District Pipe Band at the unveiling of of the plaque at Jubilee Park on Remembrance Day 2018

Image 2: Marching along River Street in 1987. Photos supplied

The Mackay & District Pipe Band are one community organisation keeping Mackay’s Scottish heritage alive and are sharing their history in a new book being launched this weekend.

The band are hosting the St Andrews Scottish Music Concert on Saturday, December 10, inviting aged care homes and members of the community to an afternoon of Scottish music.

The book “A Caledonian Heritage: The History of Mackay & District Pipe Band” will be launched at the concert, recounting the band’s 96-year history.

The Mackay Caledonian Association was formed shortly after the township of Mackay was established as a municipality in 1839.

In 1911, it was suggested that the Association form a pipe band, with the Daily Mercury reporting of a concert being held on Wednesday, June 14 of that year.

The Mackay & District Pipe Band was formed as an independent pipe band in 1926.

The band has marched in every Mackay ANZAC Day since 1928 and played at other historical events including the opening of Mackay Harbour in 1939 and the opening of the Forgan Bridge in 2011.

These days, the community band performs at weddings, birthdays and funerals as well as large annual events including ANZAC Day, the Robbie Burns Supper, Bluewater Fling and St Andrews Scottish Music Concert.

“Generally, everything’s followed by a ceilidh, which is a Gaelic word for party,” said band member Bryan Dobbie.

Mr Dobbie has been a member of the band for five years, with his children also getting involved.

“It’s in my blood, I guess,” he said.

“My dad’s played pipes since he was 12 and I didn’t start to learn until I was 40.

“It’s a family thing for us and we enjoy it.”

The band were able to compile the book telling the band’s history with the assistance of the Mackay Regional Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund and local editor Paul Vander Loos.

“There’s a lot of people there, a lot of connections to this region from 100 years of it, generations of it,” said Mr Dobbie.

The band meets and rehearses every Thursday at St Paul’s Uniting Church and welcomes new members of all ages.

Tuition is free and there are pipes and drums available to be borrowed.

The band will be joined by 3RAR Army Band, Kathleen Campbell and Piping MaD this weekend at the St Andrews Scottish Music Concert which will be followed by a ceilidh at Goosies.

WHAT: St Andrews Scottish Music Concert

WHERE: Mackay Christian College Powerhouse Hall on Ambrose Way

WHEN: Saturday, December 10 from 1:30pm

TICKETS: $5 donation

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