Like so many Scots before, Ruthven's family immigrated from Huntly in Aberdeenshire to Australia to seek better opportunities and make a new life for themselves. The thriving Scottish community of New South Wales during those pre-war years ensured that memories of Alba were kept alive; Highland Games, Scottish Country Dancing, Bagpipe Competitions, and, of course, the Gaelic being spoken. It was into this culturally rich environment that Ruthven Milne was raised and ignited a long-term goal for Ruthven - to manufacture all forms of Highland Dress wear, kilts, bagpipes and regalia to the highest degree of craftsmanship possible. A Scots woman, named Mrs. McArthur, passed on her considerable skills in making traditional hand made kilts to Ruthven during this time.
After joining a Pipe Band in Sydney, Ruthven met his wife Gwen, herself an Australian Champion Highland Dancer. Together they forged a small business creating the quality garments today associated with Piob Mhor; Piob Mhor is Gaelic for Great Pipes.
Scotland, as always, calls us home. Ruthven and Gwen were no exception when they heeded the call and decided to return to their ancestral roots at the edge of the Highlands with their young family. A chance meeting with a local shoemaker accorded Ruthven the opportunity to buy 39-43 High Street in Blairgowrie and Piob Mhor was born.
Piob Mhor is decidedly a family affair. Gwen, a trained bookkeeper became the office administrator, Ruthven's daughters in turn each became involved and then their husbands. Piob Mhor now employs 11 and the skills gained over 50 years ago are being passed onto the third generation of the family.
A member of the Kilt Makers Association of Scotland, the firm prides itself in using only the highest quality cloth, threads and linings in its manufacturing processes. Piob Mhor supplies Highland Dress and accessories to customers the world over including Vivienne Westwood, the film industry and wholesale operations that include making kilts the Ministry of Defence for wear at both home and abroad.
In 2001, ownership and management of the retail side of the business was transferred to Ruthven's daughter, Dianne and son-in-law Sandy Tulloch. The new company, Piob Mhor of Scotland Limited, provides a world-wide service offering the best in Highland Dress wear, dancers outfits, Pipe Band supplies, bagpipes, Scottish gifts and antiques while the parent business of Piob Mhor continues to be recognised as one of the finest kilt makers in the world.