Chieftain for the Day

The Bundanoon Highland Gathering Inc.

Bundanoon is Brigadoon



The President and Committee of the Bundanoon Highland Gathering are delighted and honoured to announce that for their 43rd Annual Brigadoon gathering the Chieftain of the Day will be:

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d)

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus (Allan) Houston was born in West Kilbride, a very small place to the south-west of Glasgow in Scotland overlooking the Firth of Clyde.

His father was a Royal Air Force officer who was shot down at a place called Handzame in 1943 and became a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, “The Great Escape” camp.

Sir Angus applied to join the Royal Air Force in 1966 and after passing all the tests was told he was too tall!  It wasn’t until he was in the Royal Australian Air Force that he realised the seat they tested him in was is in a fully up position.  Had the seat been lowered to the fully lowered position he may have passed the cockpit test and joined the Royal Air Force.

After not meeting the requirements for the Royal Air Force because of his height he applied to go to Australia.  He arrived Perth in January 1968 at 20 years of age and went to work on properties at a place called Mukinbudin about 300 kilometres from Perth.


Sir Angus joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1970. This time there was no issue with his height!

He became Chief of Air Force in June 2001.  Over four years he led an extensive change in culture to put ‘People First’.  He was also the first Chief of Air Force to achieve a zero fatal accident rate during his tenure.

Sir Angus was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal and appointed as Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) in July 2005.  During his time as CDF he oversaw the successful deployment of 65,000 defence force personnel over 58 different operations.

Sir Angus retired from the military, as Chief of the Defence Force, in July 2011 after 41 years of service.

On his retirement from the Defence Force, the Government appointed Sir Angus as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board which provided strategic advice to the Australian Government in relation to the planning and implementation of the Anzac Centenary 2014-2018.

In 2014, Sir Angus was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to lead Australia’s efforts to help recover, identify and repatriate Australians killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster. Sir Angus also led the Joint Agency Coordination Centre coordinating the Australian Government’s support for the first three months of the search into missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today, Sir Angus continues to work in a number of major roles including as Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Sir Angus is also the Patron/Ambassador for numerous not-for-profit and charitable organisations, for which he generously donates his time.

Sir Angus is married to Liz and they have three sons and three granddaughters.


1980  – Awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC) for an open sea rescue in gale force winds in 1979.

1990  – Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his work in the transfer of responsibility for Black Hawk operations.

2001  – Centenary Medal for outstanding service as Chief of Air Force.

2003  – Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Australian Air Force in senior command appointments

2008  – Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force as Chief of the Defence Force.

2015  – Knight of the Order of Australia (AK) for extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia, through distinguished service in the Australian Defence Force, continued commitment to serve the nation in leadership roles, particularly the national responses to the MH370 and MH17 disasters, and in a variety of roles in the community.


PAST CHIEFTAINS OF BRIGADOON:Past Chieftain of the Bundanoon Highland Gathering Inc.