Drumming up for a family’s tradition

Pipe drum major Bill McLucas of the Caledonian Pipe Band Bundaberg 1930. Photo: contributed
Pipe drum major Bill McLucas of the Caledonian Pipe Band Bundaberg 1930. Photo: contributed contributed

THE McLucas family has notched up a remarkable 90 years of involvement with the band movement in Bundaberg.

Tom McLucas said his father Bill, who served in the First World War, was appointed drum major for Bundaberg brass bands in the early 1920s, when the Bundaberg City Band was in existence.

Bill was a member of the Australian Instructional Corps training troops at Enoggera Army Barracks in Brisbane.

This provided him with experience in marching and drill, which he later drew on in his involvement with Bundaberg bands.

Later Bill's sons Arthur, Tom, Jack and Will, their wives Audrey, Estelle, Elaine and Vina, and then Bill's grandsons Evan, Robert, Alan, Ian, David and great-grandson Scott all became involved in Bundaberg bands.

"From 1929 to 1934, Bill was drum major of the Bundaberg Caledonian Pipe Band. The first band formed in Bundaberg, 129 years ago," Tom McLucas said.

In 1930 the band went to the Rockhampton Band Contest, where the diagram march judges could not fault them, and awarded them 99 points out of 100.

Mr McLucas said each Easter the family would travel to places such as Tenterfield, Brisbane, Maryborough or Rockhampton to compete, initially in pipe bands and later in brass bands.

"In 1935, the Bundaberg Municipal Band was formed and Bill McLucas was their first drum major," Mr McLucas said.

In 1937, at the Coronation Contest, Bill was champion drum major. After the Second World War, Bill McLucas graduated as a drill adjudicator and carried on judging for another 10 years.

In the 1960s and 1970s Tom's sons Robert, Alan and Ian played in the Bundaberg Municipal Band.

At the 1998 Anzac Day parade Jack, Ian and Scott were members of the band.

"It is believed this was the first time three generations of a family took their place in the ranks of the Bundaberg Caledonian Band," Mr McLucas said.

Mr McLucas was the parade marshal for the Bundaberg Anzac Day parade for 50 years and said the Bundaberg Caledonian Band had supported the parade for 100 years continuous service.

Bill McLucas was the first marching instructor for the Bundaberg Drum Corps and Tom also instructed for several years after Bill died.

This year Tom will complete 25 years as patron of the Bundaberg Drum Corps.

He has also recently been elected patron of the Bundaberg Municipal Band.

Topics:  bundaberg history pipe band

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