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The ‘piping down of the flags’ back in 2018, outside the former Maclean Services Club. Image: file pic Lynne Mowbray

Lone piper tradition carried on

Maclean – ‘The Scottish Town in Australia’ has resurrected an old tradition, with a lone piper ‘piping down the flags’ at McLachlan Park, Maclean on Thursday October 8.

President of the Maclean and District Pipe Band Alister Smith said that he was initially approached back in 2018 by the RSL, to play the lament for the lowering of the flag at the Maclean Services Club, which has since closed.

“With the Services Club no longer open I just wanted to continue doing it,” Alister said.

“So, I spoke with former Maclean Services Club president Dennis Noel and flag marshal Ian Saunders, who raise and lower the flag each day at McLachlan Park, and we decided to continue to do it,” he said.

President of the Maclean Scottish Town Committee Bob McPherson said that the event is a re-enactment of the Scottish Rifles who were very active in the late 1890’s in Maclean.

“A newspaper report dated 1899 spoke in glowing terms of how the Saturday night drills (back then) attracted a large attendance of people in Maclean, which had beneficial effects upon business in general,” Mr McPherson said.

“(A couple of years ago) Maclean piper, Alister Smith, commissioned a manufacturer to make him a copy of the original outfit worn by the Scottish Rifles. This was a full Highland dress with the tartan of the 42nd Regiment Royal Highlanders, the ‘Black Watch’,” he said.

Mr McPherson described the first piping of the flag at the new location in McLachlan Park on October 8.

“Piper Smith was a standout figure fully dressed in the outfit of the Scottish Rifles.

“Flag marshals Ian Saunders and Dennis Noel lowered the flags to a stirring lament which brought people out from Spar Supermarket to stand to attention to witness this spectacular re-enactment of bringing back the traditional Scottish culture in Maclean,” he said.

The ‘piping down of the flags’ will take place on the first and third Thursday of every month at 5.30pm at the SPAR carpark end of McLachlan Park in Maclean.

If you want to catch this re-enactment, the next ‘piping down the flags’ will take place at McLachlan Park on Thursday this week (October 22), at 5.30pm.