New kit gives pipe band a fresh look for Anzac Day

COMPLETE with new black Stewart tartans, shoes, socks and sporrans, the Hervey Bay RSL Pipe Band will have the look to match its high calibre of music this Anzac Day.

After serving the Fraser Coast community in the same uniform for 16 years and this year being centenary commemorations, pipe major and veteran player Duncan Birt said a new look was needed.

With the help of a $31,000 Community Gambling Fund grant, he said each member would stand proud in their new attire, made complete with the band's logo engraved on the sporran - a pouch that sits in front of the kilt.

"The uniforms we had got old and tired so I thought it was high time we get a bit of a refresh. It's all very flash," said Mr Birt, who has been playing the pipes for more than 50 years.

"The black Stewart tartan has a modern weave, with brighter colouring and a wider strip. It looks much more exciting."

Mr Birt served as an Infantry Platoon Commander in the Fifth Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.

He said playing in services around the region each year was an exceptional way to pay tribute to the fallen.

"I am a digger myself and I guess that is reason enough for me (to play each year). I just think it's appropriate to honour the people that have gone before."

The band's 15 pipers and five drummers, the biggest yet, will rise well before dawn to play at Hervey Bay, Burrum, Toogoom, Howard and Maryborough Dawn and Main services, to name a few.

Mr Birt said the band was "going from strength to strength", boasting some of the best players in Queensland.

"We've got new people, new uniforms, new drums and a brighter sound.

"For little rural regional country town like Hervey Bay we're punching well above our weight.

"We've got more people than big city bands and we're putting out a much better sound and are much better presented."

The band was also recently presented with a prestigious green and gold banner by Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch president John Kelsey, for their outstanding service to the community.

Mr Duncan said all the band's pipe majors' names had been inscribed on the flag-like banner, much like a regimented banner with military battle honours.

"It's certainly a big honour."

Duncan Birt of the Hervey Bay RSL Pipe Band.
Duncan Birt of the Hervey Bay RSL Pipe Band. Alistair Brightman