Every Easter, Maclean – the Scottish Town in Australia, comes alive with the sound of bagpipes echoing throughout the village, during the annual Maclean Highland Gathering.
On Saturday morning (of Easter) Maclean plays host to the ever-popular Bands on Parade. A full programme of events including pipe bands, highland dancers and highland sports follows on at the Maclean Showground, with fierce competition amongst those celebrating the Scottish culture.
At around 4pm you would normally expect to see thousands of people at the Maclean Showground attending the grand finale massed band display, which is a spectacular event not to be missed.
This Easter Saturday however was a stark contrast to bygone years.
There was a deafening silence at the showground on Saturday afternoon, as solo piper and president of the Maclean & District Pipe Band, Alister Smith joined with his father and Chief of the Lower Clarence Scottish Association, Peter, and made their way to the middle of the empty showground, to pay tribute to their close friend and distant family member, Pipe Sergeant Alistair Wallace, who passed away on January 1 this year.
A special tribute to Mr Wallace had been organised to take place during the massed bands event at this year’s 116th Maclean Highland Gathering, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was cancelled.
Several weeks prior to Easter, The Maclean & District Pipe Band came up with an alternate plan, which was posted on the bands Facebook page, inviting all pipers everywhere to join in playing Scots Wha Hae at 4 pm on Saturday, 11 April 2020, in memory of their much-loved friend:
“This (tribute) is also an opportunity for all pipers to unite in a common cause to ensure that this disease does not silence us. Whether you are confined to your own house or yard or can find a safe place out in the open, we ask that you play with us, and if possible, record your performance and post it here (on the Maclean and District Pipe Band Facebook page), or on your Facebook page with the hashtag. #macleanremembers,” the post said.
To see the tributes posted go to the Facebook page of the Maclean and District Pipe Band #macleanremembers