St Marys District Band Club Pipes & Drums can trace it origins to 1964, when the St Mary’s Band Club supported a local bid to establish a Pipe Band. It was a natural extension for a Club founded by brass bandsmen, to support a group of Scottish expats championed by Dave Finlay to form a community Pipe Band.
The result of this local movement was over 50 years of musical excellence and achievement by the St Marys District Band Club Pipes & Drums at the highest level both nationally and internationally.
The band, from its inception, brought together motivated and experienced pipers and drummers from all over Sydney.
The foundation Pipe Major, Don McLeish established a culture of dedication, teaching and excellence that led to the band being promoted to Grade 1 within two years and winning its first Australian Championship in 1972.
The emphasis on performance and achievement in the Band was the platform for continued success in Pipe Band competitions at the highest level nationally and internationally over the next six decades. St Marys Club Pipes and Drums fostered up and coming musicians with the support of leading Pipe Majors and Drum Sergeants locally and internationally. The Club convened three separate workshops by Pipe Major Tom McAlister and Robert Mathieson from the world-famous Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band in Scotland. The depth of talent was enough to fill two bands and underscored the outstanding success nationally across Grades 1, 2 and 3.
The pinnacle of St Marys success came in 2008 at the RSPBA World Championships. ‘The worlds’ attracts over 200 bands, 8,000 musicians and over 30,000 spectators. St Marys were successful in qualifying for the Grade 1 finals, finishing a creditable 14th place in the biggest stage for pipe bands.
Over a four year period the band went from 11th in grade 2 in 2005, third in grade 2 in successive years (2006 and 2007) to making the step up to Grade 1 in 2008.
None of this would have been possible without the leadership of senior band members and the unwavering support of the St Marys Band Club Board. Over the years, the St Marys Band Club has generously supported the band’s bid to compete at the World Championship on six occasions, the Quintet competition in Indonesia and innumerable Australasian and New Zealand competitions.
The outstanding success of the pipe band over the years is documented below
Year appointed Pipe Major Drum Sergeant
1964 Don McLeish Duncan Graham
1973–1975 Barry Ryan
1973-1975 Peter Tassel
1975 Iain McDonald
1982 Ron Ready Mark Romer
1988 Geoff Neve Steve Charles
1989 Chris SWAN
1990 Les Garland
1994 Mark Kilpatrick
1996 Les Garland Nick Webb
2002 Scott Nicholson Nick Webb
2003 Douglas Patterson
2005 Mark Romer
2008 Andrew Iverson Steve Clarke
2010 Mark Lambert
2014 Bruce Simmons
1973 “The Pipes of Drums of St Marys”
2003 “Something for Everybody” (Live at St Marys)
Barry Fitz-Henry, David Finlay, Keith Reylins, Duncan Graham, Peter Tassell Peter Hughes, Ron Ready, Alan McFarlane, Les Garland, Geoff Crane, Hugh Strain, Geoff Neve.