THE JOURNEY FROM 1977 TO BECOMING IN 2020 THE
GOVERNOR MACQUARIE MEMORIAL PIPE BAND
A Musical Journey
The band was founded in 1977 by Dave, Jock and Al Sinclair with its first Pipe Major being Dave Sinclair.
The band was originally known as the Windsor & District Scottish Pipe Band. Both Dave and Al taught many people in the local area and a few years later established a Highland Dancing troupe which augmented performances that were done in the local area and further afield. The band acquired some second hand kilts in Macbeth tartan from the defunct Toongabbie Pipe Band. Prior to the obtaining these kilts the band played in blue shirts and long black trousers.
In 1990 Dave and Al, (who was Pipe Sergeant) moved to WA and joined the Western Australian Police Force. After graduating, they became members of the Western Australia Police Pipe Band.
In 1990 the band elected a new Pipe Major in Bob McLennan. The band entered competition at this stage and played in Grade 4. The band also had a name change to the Hawkesbury City Pipe Band. New tartan was acquired for kilts, with the blue in the original MacBeth tartan being changed to dark blue looking a little like the Black Stewart instead of the Blue Stewart (MacBeth).
By 2008 the band was barely functioning and only had 4 members attending practice. Barry Gray was asked to come in and tutor. Along with Barry came several learner pipers he had been tutoring and the band entered its first contest some 5 weeks later playing 16 pipers, a Bass, 3 Tenors and 5 Snare Drummers. By October that year the band won the NSW Grade 4 State Championships.
The band was in dire need of uniforms and instruments - chanters and drums. A fund raising CD was made "Through Saltire Glasses" and in 2010 the band had acquired brand new kilts in the modern MacBeth Tartan, tweed jackets and vests, new drums and Shepherd Pipe Chanters. The name of the band was changed in 2010 to the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley Pipe Band and embarked on their first trip to Scotland to gain experience.
It travelled with two competing units in Grade 4 and Novice Juvenile. The Novice Juvenile band were 6th at the European Championships in Northern Ireland, 10th at the World Championships in Glasgow and were the highest placed Novice Juvenile band at the Bridge of Alan Games in the Grade 4 section. The Grade 4 band won the competition at the Dundonald Games. PM McLennan stepped down after this tour and Barry Gray become interim Pipe major until the next AGM when he was elected the band's new PM.
The band returned to Scotland in 2012 where it performed at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, (as it did in 2010) and were the opening act on the Wallace Bagpipes Concert on the Renfrew Ferry.
In 2017 when it was deemed that new kilts for the band were in order, the band decided to take a different tack and rename the band and change tartan. The Hawkesbury area is well linked with Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who is also known as the "Father of Australia". So a new tartan was chosen, the 1815 muted Macquarie and the name changed to the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe Band. - A living breathing, performing tribute to Lachlan Macquarie.
Also in 2017 the band released a new 15 track fund raising CD which can be purchased here. It also travelled to Scotland to compete in 4 competitions in the highly competitive Grade 3A level. Although no prizes were acquired on this trip, the experience gained by the members who attended and as a unit will stand the band in good stead for future improvement and advancement in the pipe band field.
Since the bands rejuvenation in 2008 it has performed and competed in many different places including
the UK in 2010,12 & 17.
The GMMPB has played on stage with Andre Rieu, John Farnham, The Battlefield Band, Ian Cooper, Delta Goodrem and Sir Paul McCartney to name but a few.
It has competed and performed all over New South Wales as well as Queensland, Victoria, Singapore and the UK.
The band has a firm belief that solo competition improves players, and more confident players make for a better band. So all members are encouraged to compete on a solo level in as many contests as they can attend.
Although the world wide pandemic in 20020 restricted many bands from meeting face to face, GMM has with modern technology been using ZOOM continued with weekly practices and has had many members feature in the prose list in online solo competitions around the world.