PO Box 1406,
NSW 2350.

Contact: Loren McNamara 
Band Secretary
Phone: 0417 636 175

Email: [email protected]

Armidale Pipe Band practices each Monday night from 6:30PM-9:00PM at Armidale High School, Butler Street Armidale.

Instruction in highland piping and drummming is provided by experienced tutors and the band happily welcomes new members willing to make the time and commitment to learning and performing with us.

Our History

George James Macdonald was appointed the First Commissioner for Crown Lands on the Northern Tablelands in 1839. He established his 'head station' for the New England Pastoral District on an 'extensive open plain' which he called 'Armidale' after the seat of Clan Donald at Armadale on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

The Scottish connection continued with the formation of the Armidale Caledonian Society in 1896 which conducted the first highland gathering on New Years Day in 1897. The Society sponsored the 'Armidale Caledonian Pipe Band' which was inaugurated in 1901. At the Fifth Highland Gathering in 1902, the six local pipers and two drummers comprising the band (see photo) took part in the massed band of thirty players.

In 1909, the APB became independent from the Caledonian Society, and was renamed the 'Armidale Highland Pipe Band', with Chas Cooper, an original member of the 1901 band, as Pipe Major. He held this position for thirty years. This was a highly successful period for the APB, winning the Queensland Championships at Warwick in 1911 and taking second place at the NSW Championships at Inverell in 1914. At the 37th highland Gathering held at Armidale in 1933 it was named the 'Champion Pipe Band of the North'.

In 1973, the band went into a short recess, reconstituting in 1977 and renaming as 'Armidale Pipe Band', although it again went into a short recess in 1986. It reformed in 1993 and became 'incorporated' in1997.

Recent highlights for the band included invitations to perform at the 'Celtic Crossroads Tattoo' at Canberra in 2002 and the Australian Federation Tattoo at Ballarat in 2004. The band represents the City of Armidale with distinction at celebrations around northern NSW and the southern Queensland including Stanthorpe, Inverell, Grafton, Maclean, Glen Innes and Aberdeen. The band has won 'Best Band on Parade' in street marches at Grafton (2002, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), Maclean (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014) and at the Armidale Autumn Festival (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014). At the Aberdeen Highland Games the band won the MacMillan Shield as the 'most improved band' in 2002 and the Scottish/Australian Heritage Council Trophy in 2011. In the Tamworth Country Music Cavalcade the band was recognised (non-motorised category) in 2013 (2nd place) and in 2014 (2nd place).

Since its inception in 1901, the band has worn the Seaforth MacKenzie Tartan.
Photo of Armidale Pipe Band (then known as 'Armidale Caledonian Pipe Band')from 1906
Photo Coutesy of Jot Ramsey (2009)

Back Row (From left) 1. Unknown piper, 2. Chas Cooper, 3. Charles Ramsey (bass drummer), 4. Joe Cooper, 5. Unkown piper
Front Row (from Left) 1. Pipe Major Donald Marshall, 2. unkown piper, 3. Unkown Piper, 4. Unkown Snare Drummer

meet our longest serving members

John Leslie (Left), Geoff Monley (middle) and Evan Lewies (Right) have a wealth of experience between them. In this short documentary (top right) these three gentlemen talk about their time in Armidale pipe band.  With over 200 years experience between them they have plenty to talk about!