Highland Gathering

160th Maryborough Highland Gathering cancelled due to Covid 19 

The Board of the Maryborough Highland Society has reluctantly made the hard decision to cancel the 160th Annual Maryborough Highland Gathering which was scheduled to be held on Friday 1st January 2021 at Princes Park, Maryborough.

Facing the uncertainty of what restrictions will continue to be in place in January, the prospect of having limited or no crowds at the upcoming Gathering, travel restrictions, and bands and competitors not being able to train, the Maryborough Highland Society was facing costs of up to $80,000 to host this year’s event, more than double what the Society budgets to host this community carnival. 

President of the Maryborough Highland Society Andrew Rae stated in relation to this decision:

“The decision to cancel the Maryborough Highland Gathering for 2021 was one that that the Board were very reluctant to make, but one that had to be made now in order to give athletes, bands and entertainment suppliers sufficient notice of our intention.” 

 “This decision was made in consultation with bands and athletes who had informed the Society that under the current restrictions that they had not been able to practice nor train and with the prospect of limited crowd numbers, the Society had no choice but to cancel one of Maryborough’s biggest events of the year”

This will be the second time since 1857 that the Maryborough Highland Society has had to cancel the Maryborough Highland Gathering, with the only other time being during World War II when no Highland Gathering was held between 1942 and 1945.

General Manager of the Maryborough Highland Society Malcolm Blandthorn added;

“This was a decision that no one wanted to make, however if the Gathering was to proceed, likely restrictions on numbers in a public place would have seen the public shut out as the number of athletes, bands and volunteers would have met any restricted number set”

In the end we could not justify hosting an event for the Maryborough Community, where the community wasn’t invited”  

The Maryborough Highland Society is yet to decide on whether the 60th Jubilee of the Australian Pipe Band Championships will proceed.  The Australian Pipe Band Championships were originally scheduled to be held in April this year but due to Covid restrictions were rescheduled until the 10th and 11th April in 2021.

Any future decision on the Australian Pipe Band Championships will be made in consultation with Pipe Bands Australia and in accordance with any restriction(s) that may be in place.

The Maryborough Highland Gathering is Australia's oldest continuous running sporting event.

Now into its 160th Year

Programme - 159th Highland Gathering

1st January 2020- Princes Park, Maryborough

Adults $16 | Seniors $8 | Kids Under 16 – Free


 10:45am Maryborough First National Open 70m Final
 12:00pm Blue Ribbon Restricted 120m Final
 12:10pm Lyal Eales Masters 120m Final
 1:45pm Maryborough Toyota & JM Leech Womens Sprint 120m Final
 1:55pm Phelan’s Funeral Open 800m Final
 2:05pm Bendigo Bank Womens & Masters 1600m Final
 3:25pm Maryborough KFC 1600m Final
 3:35pm Max Martin Memorial Maryborough Highland Gift Final
 5:50pm Maryborough Advertiser 200m Final
 5:55pm Fortify Insurance 300m Masters Final
 6:00pm Sportsbiz Restricted 400m Final
 6:05pm Maryborough Transport Services Womens 400m Final
 6:15pm Maryborough Sports and Leisure Open 400m Final

Other Events

10:00am Gates Open
 11:00am Graham Jacka Holden Street Parade – High Street Maryborough
 11:30am Earls Gym Heavy Games Commence
 12:00pm Carnival Opens
 12:15pm McDonalds VSDMA and VSU Highland Dancers Competition
 12:30pm 158th Highland Gathering Official Opening
 12:45pm Carmeri’s Mite 10 – Littlle Athletics Boys and Girls Sprint
 12:50pm Superhero Entrance
 2:15pm Pipe Band Performances on Oval
 2:45pm Drum Major Championships
 3:50pm Massed Bands on Oval
 4:40pm Earls Gym Heavy Stones Final
 5:35pm Girl on the Drum Spectacular
 7:00pm Evening Concert with Shane Harman
10:00pm Bull and Mouth Evening Fireworks Display

History of the Highland Gathering

The Maryborough Highland Gathering has been conducted each New Year since its formation in 1857 with the enforced exception of the years of 1942-45 when the Australian Commonwealth was at war and the Highland Gathering went into recess for the duration of this national crisis.

The Highland Gathering was originally formed by gold prospectors, Scottish squatters and businessmen who had arrived in the goldfields and central Victoria from Scotland. They organised an event to re create their traditional New Year Highland celebrations in their adopted land.
Combined and melded with Australian sports, recreation and athletics this tradition has survived and thrived for over 150 years and is as popular now as in its inception in 1857.

The Maryborough Highland Gathering has a proven long and proud History and is now into its 158th year.

Highland Gathering Images

Photos Courtesy of the Maryborough Advertiser banner

Highlights from Goldfields FM

Listen Below to the all the highlights of the 2016 Highland Gathering thanks to Goldfields FM 99.1 – The Voice of Central Victoria

Goldfields FM