The Scots College Old Boys' Union

1973 Edinburgh Tattoo.jpg

The Scots College Pipes & Drums at their first Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1973

Remembering Edinburgh 1973

Fifty years ago, Ian Kellaway (’76) went on a trip to Scotland as a member of the College’s first Pipes and Drums to participate in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. He reflects on this wonderful experience.

July 1973 … and 105 young lads from The Scots College, Sydney, Australia venture forth on a Qantas flight to London ... and then a train trip north to arrive in Edinburgh. Their destination ... The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo!

As a young 14 year old tenor drummer, and on my first trip outside of Australia, it was simply mind boggling to end up on the other side of the world to perform every night at the Tattoo. They didn’t quite know what to do with 105 teenagers, so they billeted us in Edinburgh Castle with the Royal Military Police on the floor below us.

After a whirlwind of rehearsals, and trying to prove that we could fit in with the myriad of pipes and drums outfits to form the massed pipes and drums for the Tattoo, opening night came and went. Then it was the continuous program of performances night after night. Needless to say, we made some wonderful friends during our stay in the Castle.

Throughout the Tattoo I admired the badges adorning a young Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders tenor drummer who I always seemed to end up being next to every night as we marched off the Esplanade.

Then whilst standing around saying our goodbyes on the last Saturday night, that same tenor drummer came over to me, shook my hand, took his sgian-dubh from his sock, sliced off the drum badge and presented it to me as a memento of my participation in the Tattoo. I have held on to this badge in the hope that one day I might be able to return to the Castle.

After 50 years, it is with a wonderful sense of honour and fulfilment that his badge is stitched on to my tunic, as I have marched up and down the Esplanade 50 years on from that first encounter with the Tattoo. Captain, Ron Murray would be extremely proud of ‘his lads’ being given an opportunity to return to the Castle 50 years on

1973 Edinburgh Tattoo.jpg
The badge stitched on Ian Kellaway's tunic

For generations, Scots Old Boys have been changing the world.

Rediscover your College and our plan to push frontiers for generations to come.

Revisit Scots