Several pipers and drummers met at Hemingway’s Glenferrie Hotel in the City of Hawthorn on the 26th of November, 1914. After much discussion (and drinking) they established a pipe band which was originally named the Hawthorn Highland Pipe Band.
A further meeting, held at the Glenferrie Hotel on the 26th of October, 1915, saw the members of the Collingwood Pipe Band join with the Hawthorn Highland Pipe Band for engagements and practice, meeting at the City Baths, Glenferrie, in the winter, and Manningtree Rd State School in the summer. The aim of the organisation was to foster Scottish music and pipe band work. It is interesting to note that there has been little change to those aims over the past 90 years.
It was not until approximately 1927 that the Band successfully functioned as a unit and it was at this time, with the recognition and acceptance of the Hawthorn City Council, that the name of the Band was changed to the Hawthorn City Pipe Band.
The activities of the Band later moved to Victoria Rd. Auburn, which was shared with the scouting movement. The original wooden building which was previously a Church was moved to the site, but was destroyed by fire in 1962. The Band was relocated to the pavilion at St. James Park, West Hawthorn for two years, while a scout hall was built on the site of the old church. In 1990 the Band moved its base to the Cottage Hall, Swinburne Senior Secondary College, located on William St.
The Band has been fortunate in maintaining a very high standard of leadership, management and performance throughout its existence. Whilst a number of excellent tutors and officers have served extensive terms in office, an outstanding example of dedication was set by the Late Life President of the Band, E. J. Rigg. He was a prominent Hawthorn civic figure who conducted business in the City and served the community for a lengthy period as a councillor. His term in office in the Band commenced as foundation President, and apart from the period 1930-32 when Dr. R. M. Wishart held the position of president, E. J. Rigg continued as president of the Band until his death in 1960. During his long association with the Band he also carried out the duties of Secretary for 6 years, and Treasurer for 10 years. This splendid display of leadership established a pattern which is still a keynote for the band today.
Many other prominent Australians from Federal government, Local government and Civic levels have provided valuable input and support which has played a large part in developing the present management style of the Band.
The Late Sir R. G. Menzies, past Australian Prime Minister, was the No. 1 Patron of the Band from 1938 until his death in 1978. After his death, the family interest and association was maintained by the highly respected and gracious Dame Patti Menzies who publicly talked about “MY BAND”.
In 2021 the band adopted the newly commissioned R. J. K. Semple tartan, in honour of long serving member Bob Semple.