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Malcolm McLaren writes from Brisbane (having recently moved there from Tasmania),


I did have a look at the old set of pipes I mentioned to you some time ago - they are very impressive.

They were “presented to Mr. James Fraser by the inhabitants of FORTINGALL as a token of their esteem     Oct 1878”

On the box in which they came is the inscription “James Fraser, Swinstead Hall, Lincolnshire”.

As well there is a really good photo of what I think is James playing the pipes [front cover

— Ed] photographed by “W.H. Redshaw & Son, Bourne”

There are 2 chanters with the set. 1..Dn McDougall Breadalbane; 2..Jn McK (I think this is the original one).

The current owner of this set is Andrew, who told me that the pipes were left under the bed in the residence of his Grandfather (a Mr Jack) who lived in Dalby, about 150 km west of Brisbane, here in Queensland. Some pieces of the original uniform, the hose, kiltpin etc were with the pipes in the original box under the bed. The sad thing is that nobody knew (or had forgotten) about them until after Mr Jack died, and by then most of the older members of the family who may have been able to shed some light on the origin of these pipes were also dead. The only clue is that Mr Jack’s father came from Perth in Scotland, but nothing is known of how he might have acquired the set.

Also, remembering that one of the chanters is “McDougall”, I have a copy (from Piping Times?) of a price list (c.1880) for bagpipes manufactured by Pipe-major Duncan M’Dougall, Breadalbane, Aberfeldy, Perthshire for:

Great Highland or Military bagpipes; Half-size of Reel Pipes (inc. bellows); Miniature or chamber pipes.


I will measure the pipes accurately and do a write-up after I get to Brisbane. Can you throw any light on James Fraser, or who was Jn McK?