Defence's spotlight role in Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Published on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Members of the Combined Military Bands of the Australian Defence Force during the 2016 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne. (photo: LSIS Nina Fogliani)
Members of the Combined Military Bands of the Australian Defence Force during the 2016 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne.

The Australian Defence Force showcased its Combined Military Bands, Australia’s Federation Guard, and for the first time, the Pipes and Drums of the Australian Defence Force contingent during performances at the 2016 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Etihad Stadium last weekend.

Among those to attend the Tattoo over the weekend was the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, who said he was proud to see the ADF perform alongside Commonwealth and international bands as part of the inspiring military spectacle.

“The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a unique celebration of military heritage and music,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

"There is nothing quite like it. It brings together military bands and ceremonial elements from many nations in an event that is a colourful display of music and military precision.

“I am delighted the ADF can again be part of this world-class event, performing alongside armed forces from around the world.”

Over five performances, the combined military bands performed music especially crafted for the Tattoo by Leading Seaman Musician Martyn Hancock, in addition to some of Australia’s most iconic melodies.

Director, Combined Military Bands of the ADF, Lieutenant Commander Steven Stanke, said the band enjoyed playing music that had a central place in Australian and ADF memory.

“These melodies have meant so much to our members serving in conflict and on peace keeping duties during the past century of service,” LCDR Stanke said.

“It was an honour to perform them for the internationally renowned Royal Edinburgh Tattoo,” he said.

The Pipes and Drums of the ADF, comprising members from across the three Services, was formed especially for the event in a joint venture between the ADF and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. 

New kilts were produced for this occasion using the tri-service tartan of the Australian Defence Force Academy, a tartan whose design is representative of Defence holistically and as such, has been adopted as the ADF Tartan.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has previously toured to Australia, with performances in Sydney in 2005 and 2010.

Vice Admiral Griggs said this year the Tattoo provided a timely reminder of the magnitude of the First World War on Australia and the contributions and sacrifices made by Australians as we commemorate the Centenary of Anzac.

“The massed bands, the military precision of the performances, and the haunting strains of the solo piper, provided a time for attendees to reflect on a century of military service by Australians who have served in peace and in conflict, and who continue to do so today,” he said.

The Tattoo provides significant funding for benevolent organisations and charities that assist current and former serving defence personnel and their families.