The Victoria Police Pipe Band
is a past grade one pipe band
A pipe band is a musical ensemble consisting of pipers and drummers. The term used by military pipe bands, pipes and drums, is also common....
champion based in Melbourne, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
. Though the band still exists, it no longer competes after a controversial decision in 2000 to reshape the band.
It is the only Australian band in history to attain the title of World Pipe Band Champion, and is arguably the most successful Australian band, with three third place finishes at the World's as well as a number of recordings.
The band was started in 1936, with generous funding from Mr W.E. McPherson (hence the McPherson tartan), by a small group of full-time police officers. For some fifty years following this, there is little noted in the history of the band and it is assumed that it continued on much in the way it had, filling its ranks with police who performed part time.
However, 1987 is seen as the year when the band began to aspire for something more. It recruited Pipe Major Nat Russell from the Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary was the name of the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2000. Following the awarding of the George Cross in 2000, it was subsequently known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. It was founded on 1 June 1922 out of the Royal Irish Constabulary...
and got some funding from the state government. It began fierce competition in Australia in grade two. One year later, the band attained the title of Australian grade two champions, and gained third place in the August world championships for the same grade. This earned regrading to grade one.
Buoyed by this, Victoria Police spent the next decade decimating Australian competition, claiming six consecutive grade one titles locally, and continued competition at a world scale. In 1992, 1994 and 1997 the band again claimed third place in the world championships, this time in grade one.
After some minor adjustments by then Drum Sergeant Harold Gillespie and Pipe Major
The Pipe Major is the director of bagpipe music in a Scottish or Irish pipe band. Like Drum Major, the position of Pipe Major is derived from British Army traditions. During the early twentieth century, the term Sergeant Piper was used for the role in place of "Pipe Major".Civillian and military...
Nat Russell, the Victoria Police Pipe Band was crowned World Champions at Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...
In October 2000, the band's competing days were over as it re-formed, now performing mainly at official functions and for charities and schools.
During the course of their years as a competition pipe band many recordings were made of the band playing, including:
- Uphold the Right (1991)
- Live in Concert in Ireland (1993)
- Live in the Rockies (1996)
- Master Blasters (1998)
- The MasterBlasters Concert, Live in Motherwell
- World Pipe Band Championships (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
They are also featured on:
- A Celebration in Music and Song (2003)
- Decade of World Champions 1990-1999 (2000)
- Great Highland Bagpipe Collection - March, Strathspey, Reel (1999)
- Pipes 'N Things (2003)
- Piping Up (2000)
- Scottish Gold - In the Piping Tradition (1995)
- Scottish Collection - The Pipes and Drums (1999)