The Central Coast region has a long history of celebrating Scottish music and culture. In the 1950s the Gosford District Caledonian Society had over 140 members, and supported two local pipe bands, the Gosford District Caledonian Society Band and the Brisbane Water District Pipe Band.

Image source:The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate Tue 27 Oct 1953

By the late 1960s the Gosford Pipe Band was performing regularly, however the band folded in 1971, with a number of members joining the newly formed Ettalong Pipe Band.

The band reformed in the early 1980s as the City of Gosford Pipe Band and regularly marched down Mann Street before folding once again in 1998.

When the City of Gosford Pipe band reformed in 2014, the Weathered MacFarlane tartan was chosen for the new uniform in honour of John McFarland, Drum Sargeant of the band when it folded in 1998.

In Memoriam

John McFarland (1939-2011)

John had a career that spanned over 60 years in which time he continuously served the Pipe Band movement as a Drummer, Drum Major, Adjudicator and Administrator. John in fact started off learning the bagpipes as an eight year old in his home town of Gosford; he fortunately soon learnt the error of his ways and commenced learning the drums.

John’s early playing career was with bands on the Central Coast these being Gosford Caledonian and Brisbane Waters Pipe Band which merged to become the Gosford Pipe Band. In 1959 John was asked to join the Grade 1 Northern Suburbs Pipe Band as their Drum Major and in 1967 became their Leading Drummer. During this time he was an active member of the Pipes & Drums of the 17th Btn. Royal New South Wales Regiment where he achieved the rank of Sergeant. From 1975 through to 1989 when it was disbanded John was a member of the Grade 1 NSW Police Pipe Band. After this John and his family moved back to the Central Coast, he then re-joined Northern Suburbs as Leading Drummer, then moving onto be a founding member of the Toukley RSL Pipe Band, then again moving to City of Gosford Pipe Band.

In an administrative capacity John had been the State Vice Principal of Dress & Drill for the Australian Pipe Band College as well as serving for 8 years as the National Principal of the College Dress & Drill Division. He was elected President of Pipe Bands Australia in 1998 and served in this capacity until 2002. John was awarded Life Membership of both the New South Wales Pipe Band Association Inc. and the Australian Pipe Band Association Inc. New South Wales Branch in August 2007 for his life long commitment to pipe bands.

John was actively involved in the teaching and adjudication of both Drumming and Dress & Drill right up to the time he lost his 11-year battle with cancer in 2011.

Honour Roll

 Year  Pipe Major
 Pipe Sergeant
 Drum Major
 Drum Sergeant
 1998       John McFarland
 2015 Douglas McFarland
 Colin Briggs
   Matt Thomson
 2016  Douglas McFarland  Charlie McLennan
 Bryce Walker
 Jim Grieg
 2017  Douglas McFarland   Charlie McLennan    Jim Grieg

Life Members

Bill Durham
Bill Durham was born in Kinglassie Scotland, and began piping in 1942 at 11 years of age. Bowhill Juvenile Colliery Pipe Band was formed in 1943 and in 1948 Bill was made Pipe Major when the band won the World, European, Scottish and Fifeshire Championships.

In 1949 Bill was drafted into Bowhill Colliery first grade band (World Champions in 1947). In 1958 he left for Australia to retrain and tutor the Scots School Bathurst Pipe Band, which won their first Australian Championships in 1962, and twice more with numerous other prizes in competition during 27 years of tuition.

Bill was and active competing solo piper, piping adjudicator and seminar instructor of piping for the New South Wales Pipe Band Association for many years. He voluntarily retired from active piping after training City of Gosford Pipe Band when they won the Grade 4 State Championships.

He went into reed making in 1980, but commercially as “Ceol Mor Reeds” in 1990 since the reeds were appreciated and really being asked for here in Australia and abroad.

Above:  Bill Durham (Chieftain of the Day – Newcastle Pipe Band Championships), presenting “The Champion Piper of the day trophy” to Adam Harvey (City of Bankstown RSL)
Bill Grennall