The Maclean District Pipe band lead the 113th Maclean Highland Gathering massed bands street parade on River Street Maclean, on Saturday, 15th April, 2017.
The Maclean District Pipe band lead the 113th Maclean Highland Gathering massed bands street parade on River Street Maclean, on Saturday, 15th April, 2017.

Highland Gathering cancelled for first time since WWII

THE Federal government's recommendation against public gatherings of more than 500 people has claimed its first Clarence Valley event, with organisers of the Maclean Highland Gathering announcing the event's cancellation this morning.

A post on the Lower Clarence Scottish Association's Facebook page stated that after consulting with the committee overnight, members had taken the regrettable decision to cancel this year's Maclean Highland Gathering, due to be held on April 10-11.

"We would like to thank all competing bands, dancers, soloists, stall holders, sponsors and volunteers who contribute to making this event what it is and we apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause," the post read.

Lower Clarence Scottish Association secretary Alister Smith said the committee made the decision about 8pm Friday following the announcement by the federal government.

"After the advice was given at around 3pm I called around - we had a couple of committee members who were travelling, and took me until around 8pm to get through to everyone," Mr Smith said.

The 'Pipe Bands on Parade' at the Maclean Highland Gathering on Saturday. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
The 'Pipe Bands on Parade' at the Maclean Highland Gathering on Saturday. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner


"We'll have another meeting on Monday to start to decide where we go from here."

Mr Smith said many other piping events around the country, including the Australian championship due to be held the week before the Maclean event, had already been cancelled, spurring their decision to cancel.

"In that condition it would have been irresponsible to continue," he said.

"I think the one for me was not so much that the two highland gatherings had been cancelled, but when the Royal Easter Show was cancelled, which is on the same weekend as us.

"We have a street march through the town and we've got to have approval from the NSW Police, and I don't think they would've been in a position to grant that.

"Also the council is the trustee on the ground which we hold the gathering."

Mr Smith said it was disappointing to have to make the call, but understood the safety of their audience came first.

"We obviously have a lot of people within the particular age range who are susceptible," he said.

"It's a very difficult decision when you think the last time we've had to cancel the gathering was for World War Two."

Mr Smith said they would now begin contacting all bands, solo players, stall holders and sponsors in the coming days to make arrangements for repayment of any fees.

For more information, he could be contacted on 0429 842 472, or email secretary@macleanhighlandgathering.com.au



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