David McNamara
Pipe Major

David is currently the Pipe Major of the band having joined the Rats of Tobruk in 2003. His experience in Pipe Bands spans 45 years, having also served as Pipe Major of the Victoria Police Pipe Band from 1980 to 1987, and retiring from that Band in 2013. He has also served with the 5th Battalion Royal Victoria Regiment Pipes and Drums and the City of Casey Pipe Band. His Pipe Band experiences have seen him perform on 4 different continents around the world, including the Edinburgh Military Tattoos in 1975, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the Royal Tournament, Earls Court, London, and the Colchester Searchlight Tattoo, UK. David also led the Band in Moscow, 2007, and Libya, 2009, and the Basel International Tattoos, Switzerland in 2010 and 2014. A further highlight saw him perform at various functions in Estes Park and Denver, Colorado, to a very enthusiastic and appreciative American audience.

Lois Cairns
Piper, Life Member

Lois commenced learning the bagpipes with the Nunawading Pipe Band in the early 1960’s. She then played with the Melbourne Ladies Pipe Band from 1963 to 1987. In 1987 Lois joined the Rats and held the position of Pipe Corporal for the first trip to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1988. In 1994 Lois again performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo as Pipe Major of the Band. Lois has also been a long standing member of the Golden City Pipe Band competing with them during the 90’s in grade 3. In 1997 she again attended the Edinburgh Tattoo as Pipe Sergeant and had the honour of performing as the Lone Piper that year. Lois has also appeared with the band in 2001 in Edinburgh and Moscow in 2007.

Lindsay Burgess

Lindsay joined the Rats in 1967 playing and competing with the band until 1983. During that time he held the positions of Pipe Corporal and Pipe Sergeant. Work commitments took Lindsay away from the band for 20 years but he made it back in 2003. Lindsay has performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo and in Moscow. Being a very loyal member he is delighted that a number of his fellow members of the current band also date back to the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s.

Kevin Conlon
Piper, Life Member

Kevin learned to play the pipes in 1955 with the Victorian Irish Pipe Band. He joined the Rats in 1964 and became secretary of the band in 1975 – 1985. Kevin took a short break from the band until 1992 when he returned performing with the band at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 1994, 1997 & 2001; he also performed in Red square in Moscow in 2007. If you look closely at the famous AC/DC “Long way to the Top” video clip you will see a young Kevin performing on the back of the truck in Swanson Street Melbourne.

Karyn De Courcy-Cann

Karyn started learning the pipes in 1969 with the Southern Districts Ladies Pipe Band, going on to play with a number of pipe bands until she finally joined the Rats in 1996. Karyn performed with the Rats at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1997, then went on to perform with the band at subsequent tattoos in Edinburgh in 2001, 2005, 2008 and with Tasmania Police in 2002. Karyn also performed with the band at the 2007 Kremlin Zoria in Moscow. She has also performed with the Rats at the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo held in Sydney in 2010 and the Basel in Switzerland Tattoo in 2010 and 2014. Karyn has totally enjoyed all of her experiences with the band, particularly the wonderful people she has met and made friends with in the pipe band fraternity around the world.

Margaret Hooper
Piper, Quarter Master

Margaret commenced learning the pipes with Melbourne Ladies Pipe Band and played for 9 years. It was many years later that Margaret joined the Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band in January 1993. Margaret has travelled and performed with the band at the Edinburgh Tattoo 1994 and 1997, the Kremlin Zoria Festival in Moscow’s Red Square in 2007 and Green Square Libya 2009. Margaret is the current Quarter Master for the band and is responsible for many thousands of dollars worth of uniform and equipment items.

David Hynd

Born in Irvine Scotland, David immigrated to Australia with his family as a child in the early 1960’s. He grew up surrounded by Scottish Culture and music. Although he commenced learning the pipes at the age of 12 it wasn’t until adulthood that he seriously recommenced learning the bagpipes. He continued learning the pipes with the Sale RSL Pipe Band in 1993 where he is now the Pipe Major. David joined the Rats in 1996 and has performed with the Band at the 1997, 2005, 2008, 2012 Royal Edinburgh Tattoos, Royal Edinburgh Tattoo 2010 in Sydney Australia, Moscow 2007, Libya and Tobruk 2009 and Basel Switzerland Tattoos in 2010 and 2014. David is a dedicated member who drives the 480 kilometre round trip each week to band practice from his home in East Gippsland.

Les Kenfield

Les started learning the pipes at age 25. He joined the Rats in 1970 until 1981 when he joined the Victoria Police as a Shrine Guard and piper with the Police Pipe Band remaining with the police till 1986. At that time Les stopped playing the pipes until 2006, when he renewed his acquaintance with some of his old mates from the Rats at a pipe band competition. He was gently coerced into getting the pipes out again. Since then he has competed with the band and travelled and performed in Edinburgh, Moscow and Libya where he took part in the emotional ceremony at the war cemetery in Tobruk. You will also find a young Les on the back of the AC/DC truck performing on the video clip “Long way to the Top”.

Bruce Macfarlane

Bruce, the son of an original WW2 Rat of Tobruk, started learning the pipes with the Rats just after the band was formed in 1960. He studied under Duncan McLennan and Ron Fleming where he was required to prove himself on the solo competition field before being accepted into the very successful grade 2 competition band. In 1969 Bruce left the band to join the RAAF but was able to rejoin the Rats in 1980 while posted to Melbourne. In 1988 Bruce performed with the Rats at the first Edinburgh Tattoo the band attended. He has subsequently performed with the band in Edinburgh 1994, 1997, 2001 & 2008. A highlight for Bruce was being selected to be the Lone Piper in a performance at the 1994 Edinburgh Tattoo. He has also performed in Moscow, Libya and Switzerland in 2010 and 2014. Bruce played the lament at the commemorative service at Tobruk in 2009.

Brian Roche

Brian started playing the pipes in 1995 at the age of 9 under the direction of David Bail. He was a member of the highly successful Haileybury College Pipes and Drums until 2004, working his way up to the rank of pipe sergeant by the time he graduated. Brian competed with the Haileybury college band throughout Australia and overseas at the New Zealand pipe band championships in 2003. After graduating from Haileybury, Brian joined The Rats Of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums and played with them at the 2005 Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Robert Semple BEM
Piper, Hon Life Member

Robert (Bob) is no doubt the bands inspiration. He is an original serving Rat of Tobruk, serving from 1940 – 1945 with the 2/12thAust Field Reg 9th Div 2nd AIF in all campaigns during WW2. Bob commenced learning the pipes in 1933-34, originally playing with the Victorian Scottish Regiment Band prior to joining Hawthorn City Pipe Band as a piper and subsequently Drum Major from 1960.  Bob has had a close association with the Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums in various ways for many years; he is a Hon Life Member of the band and still plays the pipes. Bob has appeared at a number of Edinburgh Military Tattoos with the Rats, and Tasmania Police as a guest piper.

There are too many accolades attributed to our Bob to mention here, and his modesty would not allow them to be expanded on in this forum. Suffice to say, Bob is one of the most respected members of the Australian Pipe Band community and is our current Chieftain. His active association in piping & bands has continued since 1946 both as a player and administrator.

Sharon Urquhart

Sharon started playing the Side Drum with the Benalla Caledonian Pipe Band in 1991. She joined the Rats in 2004, performing as a side and tenor drummer at the 2005 Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Sharon developed aspirations of becoming a real musician and abandoned the drums to start learning the bagpipes in late 2005. Sharon is a graduate of the unaccredited ‘College of Knowledge’, led by the esteemed Chieftain: Bob Semple. Sharon has performed as a piper at the Kremlin Zoria in Moscow’s Red Square in 2007, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2008, Andre Rieu’s concert tour of Melbourne in 2008, the festival of Military Music in Libya and Tobruk War Cemetery in 2009, and the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland in 2010 and 2014. Sharon is proud to be a member of the living memorial to the Rats of Tobruk.

Susanne Ball

Sue Joined the Rats in 2011 as a piper, She became involved in VSU Highland Dancing at the tender age of 6 years which led to learning the pipes and becoming one of the original pipers in the Mildura Ladies Pipe Band at 13 years of age. Sue then joined the Mildura Pipe Band. In 1999 she moved to NSW where she joined the Toukley RSL Pipes and Drums. Sue enjoys playing with the Rats band and performed with them at the 2014 Basel Tattoo in Switzerland.

Mick Ryan

Mick learnt the pipes in 1956, but the band he started with dissolved around 1962, and he played solo occasionally for family gatherings, etc. In 2000 Mick got back into piping and joined the Ringwood Pipe Band. He was Pipe Sergeant when he left Ringwood in 2011 and joined the friendly people at the Rats. Mick played with The Rats at Edinburgh in 2012 and Basel in 2014. He also plays smallpipes, and can get a tune out of a number of other instruments.

Dennis Bull
Pipe Corporal

Dennis commenced learning the pipes and joined the Rats in 1970. Dennis honed his playing under the tuition of Donald MacPhie. From 1973 to 1980 Dennis competed with Nunawading Pipe Band. He returned to the Rats for a further 2 years before putting the pipes away to undertake further studies. Apart from the occasional guest play out, he lived a normal well-adjusted life until a call from Watsonia RSL Pipes & Drums in 1996 saw the pipes dusted off and he was back into it, taking on the role of Pipe Major of that band in 1998. Dennis returned home to the Rats in 2002 taking over the role of Pipe Major from Ron Gallagher from 2003 until 2005. Apart from work related leave between 2007 and 2010, Dennis is still with the band taking on the Pipe Corporal role, a position vacated by his tutor’s son the late Bruce MacPhie.

Richard Luke

Richard began playing the pipes at school, taught by Danny McPherson and later Bill Brown.  The winning of the Victorian Cadet Pipe Band Championship and playing in a large Moomba March watched by the Queen, were early highlights.  For short periods he played with the Benalla and City of Nunawading pipe bands then, after years when other commitments prevented band membership, he became a foundation member of the Old Scotch Pipes and Drums in 2007.  He started with the Rats in 2011.

Donna Stemberger

Piper, composer and violinist, Donna is another member who hails from East Gippsland, making the 480km round trip to practice each week.  As an adult, Donna commenced piping with the Sale RSL Pipe Band.  She joined the Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums in 2012 and was thrilled to play with them at the 2014 Basel Tattoo in Switzerland.  Donna is proud to play in the band which commemorates the Rats of Tobruk.

Paul Wiseman
Piper, Treasurer

No details yet.

Murray Pittard

Murray, an ex-music teacher, began learning the pipes at Frankston RSL Pipes and Drums in his mid-forties. Murray competed in four competition seasons with Frankston before joining the Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums in 2012. An accomplished piper, Murray is looking forward to travelling with the Rats to the 2014 Basel Tattoo.

Kathleen Matthies
Drum Major, Secretary, Life Member

Born in Fife, Scotland, Kathleen came to Australia as a youngster. As a teenager she joined Melbourne Ladies Pipe Band as a tenor drummer and soon became the assistant Drum Major. In 1987 Kathleen joined the Rats. Kathleen performed at the 1988 Edinburgh Tattoo as a tenor drummer. In 1992 Kathleen became Drum Major of the Rats. She led the band into the Edinburgh Military Tattoos in 1994, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2012 in Scotland and in 2010 in Sydney, Australia. She has also led the band onto Red Square in Moscow in 2007, Green Square in Tripoli and in Tobruk at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in Libya in 2009 as well as the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland in 2010 and 2014.

Robert Bennett
Drum Sergeant

Rob joined the Rats in 1961 as a learner drummer when the band was at B-grade competition level. He was tutored by Alec McPhedran until 1965 when called up for National Service, returning to the band for a further 2 years after being discharged, then jackarooing on a cattle and sheep stations until he was married in 1971 to Liz. After playing kit drums in a dance band for 10 years Rob joined the Hawthorn City Pipe Band competing at Grade 1 level. After 13 years Rob returned to the Rats in 1993 as drumming tutor and drum sergeant until this year, 2015, where he is still enjoying tutoring drummers. In 2014 in conjunction with the APBA College Victorian Drumming Panel Role he produced the VCE “Highland Drumming” list of works book for students wishing to study Pipe Band Drumming in the music program. In 2014 Rob was honoured to receive the Peter Clohesy Drumming Trophy from the VHPBA for service to pipe band drumming.
Anzac Day is the most important parade for the band as it is an honour to represent the very foundation of the band’s charter.
Rob has toured many times to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which has been a positive learning experience.

Marcus de Rijk
Drummer – Side, President

Marcus came along to Band practice one evening in early 1998 intending to learn to play the pipes. The Band was low on drummers at the time and, having mentioned his father’s background performing with Brass Bands in Holland, Lloyd Page (Rats’ Pipe Major at the time) suggested he try the snare drum. In 2005 Marcus achieved the long-held dream of performing at the Edinburgh Tattoo, the final performance of which was a personal highlight for him as he led the drum corps as leading tip while his family watched from the grandstands. Marcus has since performed with the ‘Rats’ at the Russian Tattoo in Red Square in 2007, the Andre Rieu concert in Melbourne in 2008, at the Libyan Music Festival in 2009, including the Band’s Memorial Service at the Tobruk War Graves Cemetery, and at the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland in 2010. A particular highlight for Marcus was composing the band tune “Rats’ return to Tobruk” while in Libya, and its inaugural performance at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Tobruk by Pipe Major David McNamara who arranged it for pipes. The tune’s associated drum score has since been written by Drum Sergeant Rob Bennett, subtitled “Anna’s March” in memory of Marcus’ late mum, Anna.

Matthew Clark
Drummer – Tenor

Matt started drumming with the Sale RSL Pipeband in 1996 with Ben Wright. In 2003 Matt started with the Rats and has participated in the 2005 Edinburgh Tattoo, 2007 Kremlin Zoria in Russia, the Andre Rieu concert in Melbourne in 2008, Libyan Music Festival in 2009 and the band’s service at Tobruk War Graves Cemetery.

Ellie Mackinnon
Drummer – Tenor

Ellie began learning the drums with the Rats at the age of 15. She started with the side drum before moving onto her preferred instrument, the tenor drum in 2007, becoming Victorian Elementary solo tenor champion in 2010 and then adding bass drumming in 2012.  Ellie has performed with the Rats in Edinburgh in 2008 and 2012, the Andre Rieu concert in Melbourne in 2008, Libya in 2009, Sydney (Edinburgh Tattoo) and Switzerland in 2010.

Hayden Middleton
Drummer – Side

Hayden started with the band as a learner side drummer in March 2007. His grandfather, Len Ormsby, was an original Rat of Tobruk, hence Hayden’s association with the band. He is a junior member of the Rats of Tobruk Association and is very proud to represent them by playing in the Band. In his playing career to date he has taken part in Anzac day parades, Tobruk Sunday services at Puckapunyal, toured with the band to Libya (which included a memorial service at Tobruk), along with many other RSL engagements. A highlight was playing in the Andre Rieu concert at the Telstra Dome. He also enjoys playing in the solo drumming competitions at the Daylesford and Berwick highland games. He has met many good drummers from around the world whilst attending the PLC training camps which he has attended annually for the last 3 years.

David Johnston
Drummer – Tenor

David joined the Rats in 2012 and started to learn the tenor and snare drum in March of that year at the age of 57. His aim is to go as far as he can with the band and feels age is no barrier if you want to learn.

David is looking forward to being able to tour with the band. He really enjoys the challenge of being in the band and learning both Tenor and snare drums.

Peter Robertson
Drummer – Side

Peter is a professional musician and instrumental tutor for drumkit and has played and recorded with artists such as Geisha, Jim Keays (Masters Apprentices), Ross Ryan, Mick Pealing (Stars) and Lil’Fiand. Peter has been a member of legendary Australian rock band Spectrum since 1998. He Joined the Rats of Tobruk in 2008 (his first Pipe band) after meeting the drum corps when they played at his Uncle Albert Donald’s funeral service. Albert Donald was a member of Alex Duthart’s drum corps with Dalziel Highlanders winning the World Championship drumming title in 1953 and also played with Shotts before moving to Australia. Peter has toured with the band to Edinburgh in 2008 and Libya in 2009.

Rachael Wheeler
Drummer – Tenor

Rachael joined the Rats in 2011 as a snare drummer after moving down from Albury to study at Monash University. Prior to the joining the Rats she started learning snare drumming in 2006, joining The Scots School Albury Pipe Band in 2008 and departing after graduating at the end of 2010. She joined the Rats in 2012 at the Edinburgh Tattoo as a snare drummer, while starting to take up Tenor on the side before making a transition to full-time tenor in 2013.

Oscar Panaccio
Drummer – Side

No details yet.