Lewis Lloyd Zilles OAM

Born 17th February 1904 in Ballarat. Died 6th July 1998 int Ballarat at the age of 94.

On leaving school at Intermediate Certificate level Lew was apprenticed to the printing trade. On completing his apprenticeship he worked as a printer with the “Ballarat Courier” before finding a place at Horsham with the Wimmera Star print shop. During that time he became associated with the Horsham Pipe Band, the Swimming and Rowing Clubs and founded the Horsham Harriers Club.

Lew developed his own printing business in Ballarat where he installed the first “off set” machine in the town and, a trait which was evident throughout his life, he produced consistent work of better than average design and craftsmanship.

In 1920 at age 16 years, Lew was appointed Drum Major of Ballarat Highland Pipe Band, a position he held with distinction for fifty years. Over seventy-five years Lew attended almost every Pipe Band Contest in Victoria, and many interstate, either as a competitor, judge or as an onlooker.

Lew was a Drill Adjudicator for both the Highland Pipe Bands Association and the Victorian Bands’ League for both State and National Championships. He has been involved in the production of Drill Instruction Books for both organisations.

Lew’s association with Brass Bands began in 1945 when he became Drum Major of the City of Ballarat Band, a position he held for 25 years. He won at least seventeen first and several second prizes in the quickstep with Ballarat, Maryborough, Beaufort and Daylesford Brass Bands at South Street Competitions. Lew was Secretary of Ballarat Brass Band for eleven years; President, Secretary, Delegate to VBL and Life Member of Creswick Brass Band.

In the mid fifties Lew was invited to judge a marching girls’ competition. This led to a twenty-nine year commitment to the movement. He was Chief Instructor, President, Judge and Delegate to the State Body (V.M.G.A.). He became Club Captain and President of the Ballarat Harriers, and was Captain of the Ballarat Rowing Club for several years where he became a member of the Victorian Crew to contest the King’s Cup in W.A. in 1929.

Lew’s military interest began at age 14 in 70th Cadet Battalion and the Cadet Drum and Bugle Band. After many years of service in the AMF and CMF, the 8th Battalion and as Brigade Staff Officer in Australia and New Guinea, Lew retired with the rank of Major in 1961 just prior to his 57th birthday.

In his retirement, Lew became a convert to domestic and industrial technology. He was noted for his cooking – especially the delicious scones and home-made jam which he regularly provided for Drill Advisory Board Meetings, and he continued to produce professional quality publications at home on his P.C.

Lew was named Ballarat’s Citizen of the Year and State Chieftain of V.H.P.B.A. in 1997 and he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal on Australia Day, 1998. Lew was a Life Member of the Victorian Bands’ League for twenty years.

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