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John Adams

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "John Adams", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 4 June 2020


Professor of music, singing instructor, choral conductor, composer (pupil of George Elvey)

Born Windsor, Berkshire, England, c. 1820-23
Arrived Launceston, TAS, by March 1853
Married Maria Rebecca LANDALE (1836-1919), Launceston, TAS, 31 October 1857
Died Launceston, TAS, 11 August 1861, "aged 38" (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


John Adams was born in Windsor, Berkshire, c. 1820/21. He was a chorister at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and, when George Elvey took over as organist there in 1835, Adams became his first articled pupil. At the time of the 1841 census, Adams, aged 20, described as a "musician apprentice", was living at New Windsor with his uncle, Thomas Adams (c.1788-1871), a builder and later a longserving Windsor alderman, and his family.

On completing his training with Elvey, he took the post of organist of St. Mary's church, Henley-on-Thames. In February 1843, Adams returned to Windsor as organist at a command oratorio concert that Elvey gave before queen Victoria and prince Albert on their wedding anniversary, and which included selection from Spohr's The last judgement and Mendelssohn's St. Paul. He was next organist at St. Mary's church, Wimbledon, from where, in 1849-50, he contributed three items to Jospeh Warren's The chanter's hand-guide, including two of his own composition, a Double chant in D, and a Double chant in G minor.

Suffering severely from consumption, he followed medical advice and emigrated to Australia for his health, probably leaving England in mid to late 1852. He had evidently arrived in Launceston, Tasmania, by March 1853, when he advertised that he would supply local patrons with pianos "selected by a first-rate man in London", giving as his address care of the merchant importer Arthur Marriott, who, as a leading musical amateur, would remain one of his closest friends and colleagues.

Though, according to a later report, he also spent a short time in Sydney and Melbourne, by autumn 1854 he had evidently decided on settling permanently in Launceston.

On 29 May 1854, in St. John's schoolroom, Adams gave lecture on church music, in which he addressed "the causes that had brought congregational singing to its present most degraded state". Clearly aligning himself with the high church reforms of Anglican choral revivalists, he nominated composers and hymn collectors who had particularly contributed to the malaise (William Jackson, William Matthews, John Rippon, Thomas Walker, and others), and hymn tunes that he described as "secular disgraces" (Portmsouth New, Devizes, and Shirland).


England, to 1852

England census, 1841, New Windsor, Berkshire; UK National Archives, H.O. 107/37/9 

Thos. Adams / 52 / Builder / [all born New Windsor]
Ann [Adams] 55 // Ann [Adams] / 19 // Charlotte [Adams] 18 /
John [Adams] / 20 / Musician Ap. . . .

England census, 30 March 1851; Wimbledon, Surrey; UK National Archives, H.O. 107/1603 

The Village High Street / Gilbert Love / Head / 38 / Surgeon . . .
John Adams / Visitor / 31 / Musical Professor / [born] Windsor . . .

[Windsor and Eton], Berkshire Chronicle (17 July 1841), 3

On Sunday last [11 July] a sermon was preached at the parish church by the Rev. G. A. Selwyn . . . On this occasion, by the kind permission of the Hon. and very Rev. the Dean of Windsor, the whole of the choristers of St. George's Chapel attended, and in the course of the evening sang with great taste one of Handel's beautiful hymns and an anthem, "Lord, what love have I" (Kent) in which the voices of Masters Foster and Winterbottom had a most powerful effect upon all present. Mr. Adams, the organist of Henley, and who had officiated at St. George's Chapel the same day before her Majesty and the Court, presided at the organ; and we have much pleasure in alluding to the efficient manner in which this talented pupil of Dr. Elvey conducted the musical department.

ASSOCIATIONS: G. A. Selwyn (later bishop of New Zealand)

"GRAND CONCERT AT WINDSOR CASTLE", Reading Mercury (11 February 1843), 3

Friday [10 February] being the anniversary of the marriage ot Her Majesty with his Royal Highness Prince Albert . . . Her Majesty gave grand dinner party. At the conclusion of the banquet her Majesty and his Royal Highness Prince Albert, with the distinguished visiters and members of the royal household, proceeded to the splendid red drawing-room, where a grand concert of vocal and instrumental music took place. Her Majesty's private band, which was led by Mr. Anderson, and assisted by Messrs. Henry and William Blagrove, (the celebrated violin players from London,) performed several pieces selected from the works of some of the most eminent composers of the present day. The vocal department, which was conducted Dr. Elvey, private organist to her Majesty and the organist of St. George's Chapel, comprised the following members of the choir of St. George: - Messrs. Salmon, Palmer, Harris, French, Mitchell, Turner, and Lockey; and also the following choristers: - Masters Foster, Schroder, Thorburn, and Hawkins; and Mr. John Adams, the organist at Henley. The concert concluded with the National Anthem; and her Majesty and the Prince, with their distinguished guests, then retired. The vocal and instrumental performers (to the number of thirty-six) afterwards partook of elegant supper, which had been prepared for them in the steward's room . . .

"CONCERT AT WINDSOR CASTLE", Windsor and Eton Express (11 February 1843), 4

. . . when were performed a selection from Spohr's oratorio of the "Last Judgment," and Mendelssohn's oratorio of "St. Paul."

Tasmania, 1853-61:

? [Advertisement], Colonial Times (12 February 1853), 2 

Sir- We, the Cabin Passengers in a recent trip to the land of gold, beg to present you with the enclosed Silver Snuff-Box, as a small memento of our esteem and admiration of your kind, gentlemanly, and seaman-like conduct during the voyage . . . Sir, yours, Messrs. James Young, senr., William Young, Phillip Young, James Burton, John Shilton, John Adams . . .

? "LAUNCESTON, 4TH MARCH", The Courier (5 March 1853), 2 

Owing to the delay caused by the arrival of the Clarence yesterday [from Melbourne], at low water, and the consequent difficulty of getting on board, I was unable to send my letter yesterday. The following are the steamer's cabin passengers:- Rev. R. K. Ewing, Mr. J. Atkinson and Miss Atkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. Turner, Messrs. J. S. Hadfield, C. Peters, D. Dyer, J. Adams . . .

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (29 March 1853), 2

PIANOFORTES. - The undersigned having made the necessary arrangements with the most eminent London manufacturers, with whom he has been professionally connected for some years, is prepared, during his stay in the colonies, to execute commissions for the above instruments.
Any one availing himself of this opportunity will derive the advantage of having a piano selected by a first-rate professional man in London, and thus procure an instrument of the very best construction, and of far superior quality to those usually sent to the colonies.
Address to A. J. Marriott, Esq., Launceston, who will furnish all information.
JOHN ADAMS, Late of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, Windsor. March 26.

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (9 May 1854), 1 

Launceston Mechanics' Institute.
THE Committee have great pleasure in announcing that the following gentlemen have consented to deliver lectures during the present session . . .
John Adams, Esq. - One lecture, subject "The Study of Music" . . .

"LECTURE ON MUSIC", Launceston Examiner (1 June 1854), 2 

According to promise we give in this number an outline of the lecture delivered by Mr. Adams, at St. John's School-room, on Monday evening [29 May] . . .

"TO THE EDITOR . . . CHURCH MUSIC", Launceston Examiner (3 June 1854), 2-3 

SIR,- Having been present at the lecture on church music delivered by Mr. Adams, on Monday evening last I am desirous of making a few remarks on the subject . . . The apathy and indifference (not the inability), of the congregations in this town, are the causes that music is at so low an ebb, as it was obvious to any person attending the lecture that if the ladies and gentlemen who assisted Mr. Adams had united in the endeavor to improve the singing in the churches to which they individually belong, they must have succeeded. As a remedy for the present degraded state of church music, Mr. Adams suggests choral meetings . . . [3] . . . I fully agree with Mr. Adams that congregational psalmody should be as plain and simple as possible, and that fugues and intricacies of all kinds should be avoided. I also agree in great measure with his observations regarding tunes which repeat the whole, or what is far worse, a part of a line; but I cannot join him in condemning all the composers he has named, who, it must be remembered, composed for and to suit the taste of the age in which they lived, and not for the 16th century. One gentleman certainly did not merit the censures pronounced; viz., Rippon. Dr. Rippon was no composer, but a minister of religion. The book of tunes which bears his name was collected, arranged, and in part composed by Mr. Walker, whose name, with that of Jackson, Stanley and Matthews, will live as long as the science of music itself shall last. In closing this letter, I beg to subscribe myself one of a class of whom Mr. Adams has expressed a perfect horror, viz.,

[Advertisement], The Cornwall Chronicle (8 July 1854), 7

MR. JOHN ADAMS, Professor of Music,
HAVING taken up his residence in Launceston, is prepared to receive Pupils in Town or country, and give instructions in Singing, Organ and Pianoforte playing, Harmony, and the Elements of Musical composition. Mr. Adams having had much experience in England, in the regulating and conducting of choral and other musical societies for the cultivation of either sacred or secular music, will undertake similar duties here.
Schools and Musical classes attended in or near Launceston.
For terms, &c., apply to Mr. Adams, St. John's Square, July 4.

"CHAUNTING AT TRINITY CHURCH", The People's Advocate or True Friend of Tasmania (19 April 1855), 3 

Marriage register, St. John's, Launceston, 31 October 1857; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:856286; RGD37/1/16 no 569 

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (7 July 1855), 1 

THIS SOCIETY has been established for the practice and cultivation of Vocal Music.
President - The Rev. R. K. Ewing.
Committee. Messrs. Allen, Brain, Tozer, Webster, Stephens, Marriott, Hudson, Turnbull.
Musical Director - Mr. Adams.
This society will commence its meetings on Thursday evening, the 12th July.
Any person wishing to become a member is requested to apply to one of the committee, or to the Treasurer, Mr. Hudson, Brisbane-street.
July 3.

"LAUNCESTON PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", Launceston Examiner (13 October 1855), 5 

"LAUNCESTON", The Tasmanian Daily News (15 May 1856), 2 

Mr. John Adams, the talented conductor of the Philharmonic Society, has left for Sydney, to recruit his health; but during his absence the practice meetings of the society will be continued under the conduct of the president, Rev. R. K. Ewing, and the secretary, Mr. Marriott . . .

"MARRIED", The Cornwall Chronicle (4 November 1857), 4 

On the 31st Oct., at Trinity Church, Launceston, by the Rev. Thos. Reibey, John Adams, Esq., to Maria, fourth daughter of the late Dr. Landale.

"LAUNCESTON, TASMANIA", The Musical Times [UK] 8/189 (1 November 1858), 339

A Philharmonic Society has for some time past been in existence at this place, which bids fair to rival many similar societies in the mother country. It is to Mr. John Adams, formerly a professor of music at Wimbleton, Surrey, that the society owes its existence, and its present flourishing condition. This gentleman was obliged to leave England about five years ago on account of his health, and after visiting Melbourne and Sydney, he at last settled in his profession at Launceston. When arriving there, he found that choral music was quite unknown and unpractised, and he immediately set about the formation of a society. His first great difficulty seems to have been that of procuring music, at a time when the communication with England was so imperfect. It was necessary under these circumstances that he should compose, and make very many copies of, every exercise or tune that was required. He seems to have written as many as 150 lessons for beginners before he could obtain any printed music from home. His indefatigable exertions however were rewarded with the utmost success, and in a short time he was able to keep together a large body of chorus singers, whose improvement was so rapid that they were soon capable of performing the compositions of the best masters, and a knowledge of good music has been infused into all the polite society of the place. The concerts and soirées are patronized by most of the leading families and rich settlers, the Governor and his lady are frequently present, and they have a room capable of accommodating 500 persons. A concert was at one time got up by Mr. Adams for the "Indian Relief Fund," at which Mr. Farquarson assisted; the Creation was performed, and above £120 was realized for the charity. One great difficulty the conductor seems to feel is the impossibility of inducing the members, particularly the ladies, to go through the drudgery of practising exercises. They think they can at once start upon the most difficult music without learning the rudiments, and a more ridiculous mistake could not have occurred to them; this however is a very general complaint, and the more ignorant a person is, the greater difficulty there always is in making him learn; and music is not an art which can be made available without going through a great deal of labour and well directed practice. It is highly gratifying to learn the success of this enterprise, and we may say with confidence that much good must have arisen to the colony by this humanizing and delightful recreation.

"PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", Launceston Examiner (22 February 1859), 3 

Reprints article from The Musical Times (November 1858) above

Births in the district of Launceston, 28 March 1859; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:1005862; RGD33/1/37 no 971 

"MUSIC FOR THE MILLION", Launceston Examiner (9 April 1859), 2

"To the Editor . . . MUSIC FOR THE MILLION", The Cornwall Chronicle (21 May 1859), 5

"TOWN TALK AND TABLE CHAT", The Cornwall Chronicle (25 May 1859), 5

We stated in our last that we had received from Mr. Adams a piece of music composed for his class. The music itself is excellent, and well adapted for the purpose: - that is to give the time. We shall not comment upon the verses more than to observe that it is wonderful how Mr. Adams could find music for them so harsh and discordant as they are. The music is beautifully lithographed we believe by Mr. Allen, of Charles-Street, and may be had for 6d. each piece.


[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (13 October 1860), 1 

THE formal opening of the Deloraine Organ will take place on Sunday, the 21st instant, when two sermons will be preached by the Ven. the Archdeacon of Launceston, and collections made towards liquidating the debt of about 45l. still remaining on the organ.
Mr. John Adams has kindly consented to preside at the organ.
The services will commence at, 11 a.m. and 3 1/2 p.m.
October 12.

"To the Editor of the Cornwall Chronicle. LAUNCESTON MUSlCAL UNION", The Cornwall Chronicle (24 November 1860), 3 

DEAR MR. EDITOR, - I perceive by an advertisement in the local papers that a meeting has been held in Launceston for the purpose of forming a new vocal and instrumental society, to be called the Launceston Musical Union; and that Mr. Mariott has been appointed conductor. The prospectus further stated that the object of the society is to unite the scattered musical talent of the town. I presume by this is meant the amalgamation of the members of the Philharmonic, the Harmonic and the Sacred Harmonic Societies, together with such available resources the town can now produce. This object, will, I am sure meet with the hearty approval of every lover of music, and I would fain hope the co-operation of every vocalist and instrumentalist in the Town. Launceston can now well support a society with high and progressive aims, by liberally pay[ing] for the services of such each officers as may be necessary for its full and perfect development.

At any rate the present talent of the town imperatively requires a musician thoroughly qualified both by education and experience to be at the head of the society if any permanent good is to be effected, or the members brought together for a practical end. For it must be remembered the talent sought to be united will not be "handled" for the first time, as under the societies before mentioned considerable progress was made in music frequently of a complicated character requiring both skill and knowledge on the part of the conductor.

It Is only fair then to assume that this talent when united will look for further development at the hands of its Conductor, and that the new resources lately sprung up in the town should be made available as soon as time and practice will permit, so that it is not too much to expect that the mere vocal rendering of our Oratorios and concerted pieces will rapidly give way to the full Orchestral score, together with the proper Organ accompaniment and lest I should appear to exaggerate these new resources, let me mention the fine and complete Organ shortly to be erected for the public good, and the two Volunteer Bands, the members of which I presume feel bound to make every possible progress on their respective instruments.

I ask then, Mr. Editor, is Mr. Marriott the man to "handle" or develop these resources? Is he capable of holding together by means of his "baton," either voices, or instruments, or both combined, in music of the least intricacy or when the performers have not been previously well trained together? Is he capable of reading, or playing the most simple vocal score? Or could he realise in the slightest degree a full vocal and instrumental score? To all and each of these queries, I answer unhesitatingly - no! Neither I am persuaded does he profess to anything of the kind. He never bestowed one hour upon such studies, and is therefore profoundly ignorant of them. So far then as concerns the duties of conductor, he can only be a puppet in his orchestra, liable to every variety of influence, when he alone should exercise the master mind, and the authoritative movement of the hand.

Of the oldest friend I have in the colony, and of one who has labored hard by my side on all occasions when he could be of the slightest use, I am greatly grieved thus to speak; but I love my Art too well to see it made a plaything of, and have worked too hard, to see in silence what little good I may have accomplished, in the town in danger of being either dissipated, or obstructed by an injudicious attempt to fill an office which should in justice to the scattered talent of the town, either be declared open to professional competition, or offered to some qualified musician of acknowledged standing.

My past exertions in connection with the Philharmonic Society, and the formation of "Million Classes," will, I trust be a sufficient excuse for thus publicly questioning the policy of the present arrangement on the part of the "Musical Union," and bringing my views before the scattered talent of the town; and though through failing health, my professional connection with Launceston, has for some time been suspended, I still have a deep interest in its musical prosperity, and should rejoice to hear of the successful formation of a society for the study of vocal and instrumental music, conducted by a gentleman of undoubted musical ability.
I have the honor to remain,
Dear Mr. Editor, obediently yours,
George Town, Nov. 22.

"LAUNCESTON MUSICAL UNION. [TO THE] EDITOR OF THE . . .", Launceston Examiner (27 November 1860), 3 

"RIFLEMEN FORM", Launceston Examiner (15 January 1861), 3 

We have to acknowledge the receipt of a "Volunteer song, Riflemen, form!" composed and dedicated to the officers and volunteers of Tasmania by John Adams. It is printed in Melbourne, and published by Messrs. Walch and Sons.

[Advertisement], The Mercury (18 January 1861), 3 

NOW READY. SUNG amidst enthusiastic applause by C. J. BRAMMALL, ESQ., at the GLEE CLUB CONCERT.
Composed and Dictated [dedicated] to the Officers and Volunteers of Tasmania,
Price 2s. 6d.; freely post to any part of the Colony, 3s.
J. WALCH & SONS, Hobart Town and Launceston.

ASSOCIATIONS: Charles Joseph Brammell (vocalist); Joseph Walch (publisher)

"HAGLEY", Launceston Examiner (26 February 1861), 5 

The harvest is nearly over; carting home is progressing rapidly. Several farmers have already their crops safely in barn or stack, and some have commenced threshing . . . the district are invited next Sunday to the little Church at Hagely to return thanks to Providence for mercies received. On this occasion suitable hymns are to be sung, Mr. J. Adams having kindly composed to them admirable tunes, which have been practised at the singing meetings . . .

1861, deaths in the district of Launceston; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:1202378; RGD35/1/30 no 200

1591/200 / 11 August / John Adams / 38 years / Gentleman / Consumption . . .

"DEATHS", Launceston Examiner (13 August 1861), 4 

At Fair Place, Launceston, on Sunday, August, 11th, John Adams, Esq., aged 38 years. The funeral will leave Trinity Church on Wednesday, the 14th instant, at half-past 3 o'clock. - JOHN RICHARDS, Undertaker.

"TOWN TALK AND TABLE CHAT", The Cornwall Chronicle (14 August 1861), 5 

We regret to record the death of John Adams, Esq., which occurred at Fair Place, on Sunday last. Mr. Adams has been a long while a sufferer, having been a prey to the fell disease Consumption, under which he lingered. Still however, although an invalid, he exerted himself much for the people of this town, until he was unable to do so longer, by endeavoring to carry out institutions for their advancement in the science he dearly loved. He was a musician of the highest order, and many are indebted to him for the knowledge they have attained in the most delightful of the finer accomplishments. Mr. Adams was the conductor of the Philharmonic Society, and to his exertions the formation of the Million Classes, which promised the greatest success, but which failed in consequence of his sinking health was attributable. Mr. Adams has left a widow, the daughter of the late esteemed Dr. Landale, and grand-daughter of the late Richard Dry, Esq., and several children, to lament their loss.

"OBITUARY NOTICE", Launceston Examiner (15 August 1861), 5 

Yesterday afternoon the mortal remains of the late Mr. John Adams were interred in the Church of England burying ground. He had long been in declining health. An accomplished musician himself, he has done much to create, cultivate, and refine the musical taste of this town, and his memory will long be cherished by a wide circle of sorrowing friends.

Will, John Adams; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:632255; AD960/1/5 

"DEATH OF MR. JOHN ADAMS, OF AUSTRALIA", Windsor and Eton Express (26 October 1861), 4

This gentleman, nephew of our respected townsman, Alderman Adams, died at Fair Place, Launceston, on the 11th of August last, aged 30 [sic]. He was a native of Windsor, and was well known as one of the choristers of St. George’s Chapel, and as Dr. Elvey’s first pupil, about twenty-two years since. He also officiated for the Doctor as organist at the parish church of John's for some length of time, and was much respected in the town. On completing the term of his engagement with Dr. Elvey, Mr. Adams became organist of Henley, where he remained about three years. He then went and engaged himself as organist at Wimbledon, and remained there for about five years, when, acting on the advice of his medical attendant, for was then in a precarious state of health, he proceeded to Australia, where he followed his profession with the greatest success, and where he married. The following notice, from the Launceston paper, will show the esteem in which the deceased was held in Australia; - "We regret to record the death of John Adams, Esq. . . . [whole article as above]."

After 1861:

"ST. ANDREW'S YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION", Launceston Examiner (1 November 1862), 4 

. . . The entertainment commenced with the performance on the organ of "The Tasmanian Anthem", by the late Mr. John Adams . . .

"THE OLD PHILHARMONIC AND LUCY CHAMBERS. To the Editor of . . .", Launceston Examiner (16 February 1871), 5 

SIR, - Perhaps, it may be unnecessary to remind the old members of the Philharmonic and other musical societies (all but the pleasant memories of which have now passed away) of the claims of Lucy Chambers of her former kind association with them, under the late John Adams, and subsequently to his death of her unselfish efforts to make their meetings agreeable as well as instructive; and her readiness at all times to render their benevolent efforts for our local charities successes. All will remember, too, her most successful appearance in the old Cornwall room, in aid of the Indian Fund, in which concert, with old Farquharson, she delighted her audience in the grand "Creation" of Haydn . . .

"THE OPERA", The Tasmanian (13 January 1872), 9 

. . . Launceston, in its olden days, gained no small reputation for its musical taste and amateur talent. The late John Adams, who was a master in his art, by instituting and keeping up for some years the Philharmonic Society, imbued the public with a correct taste and a love for music, which has borne fruit even to the present time . . .

"A CORRESPONDENT writing to us from Hobart Town . . .", The Musical Times (1 January 1873), 724 

. . . with reference to an article which appeared in this journal, entitled "Distant Music," - gives a glowing account of the state of the art in that Colony; and, as in the paper mentioned, but little was said of music in Tasmania, we willingly make the following extract from his letter: . . . we have had professors of very great experience resident in the Colony. In the northern part of the island, Mr. John Adams (a pupil of Sir George Elvey), Mr. Robert Sharpe, now at Southampton; and in the south (Hobart Town) Mr. C. S. Packer, the late Mr. F. A. Packer, both Royal Academicians, Mr. Buddee, a very fine pianist, several excellent violinists, &c. . . ."

"PUBLIC WORSHIP AND MUSIC", Daily Telegraph (16 July 1888), 3

. . . If the whole congregation could be induced to prepare their part of the musical service, the result would be wonderful. The late John Adams used to hold such practices in Trinity School-room, and they were much enjoyed by large gatherings of the people . . .

"REMINISCENCES", The Tasmanian (12 November 1892), 28 

. . . About 1856 or 1857 [sic, earlier] Mr. John Adams arrived. I speak advisedly when I say that he was the most able musician who ever settled in the colony, whether he is regarded as a composer, a trainer of voices en masse, or an organist. Who can forget the Philharmonic in its palmy days under his leadership. Tasmania has never before or since seen such a society. Mr. Adams was organist at Trinity, for which an excellent organ had been procured, chiefly through the exertions of the late Mr. A. J. Marriott . . .

"MUSIC IN OLD LAUNCESTON", Daily Telegraph (22 January 1903), 4 

. . . Just about the same time Mr. John Adams, a recent arrival in the town, and the organist of Trinity Church, a gentleman of considerable musical attainments, also contributed by his enthusiasm and general work a good deal of help in musical matters. He started the first Philharmonic Society, with the object of promoting the study of vocal music; his health, however, unfortunately failed, but the work he had started was taken up with varying success by Mr. A. J. Marriott . . .

"THE BROOKE WILL CASE", Daily Telegraph [Launceston, TAS] (24 July 1903), 4 

. . . Mrs. Brooke died on the 31st of May, 1886. There was no issue of her marriage with Mr. Brooke. By a former marriage with a Mr. Landale she had seven children, who survived her. There were three sons . . . besides four daughters, each of whom was married in Mrs. Brooke's lifetime and had issue. One of the four, Maria Rebecca Adams, now a widow, had two children Jessie Harriett, the wife of William Henry Edyvean, and John Garibaldi Marriott Adams. The appellants are Mrs. Edyvean, her brother, Mr. J. G. M. Adams, the trustees of Mrs. Edyvean's marriage settlement, of whom Mr. J. G. M. Adams is one, and an incumbrancer on his share . . .

"DEATHS", The Argus (21 November 1919), 1 

ADAMS. - On the 19th November, at "Elphin," 82 Orrong road, Elsternwick, Maria Rebecca, wife of late John Adams, organist, of Windsor Chapel, Wimbleton Church, and Holy Trinity, Launceston, mother of Garibaldi Adams, Elsternwick, aged 81 years, native of Tasmania. (Private interment, 20th inst.)

Musical works (music extant in red bold; non-extant in black bold):

2 double chants (in D, and G minor) (by 1850)

The chanter's hand-guide . . . containing the psalter . . . with 373 cathedral chants, very many of which (written by the most eminent composers and organists in this country expressly for this work) are now first published; edited by Joseph Warren, organist and director of the choir at St, Mary's chapel, Chelsea (London: R. Cocks and Co., [1850]), viii, 61 (chant by Joiah Freund), 113, 137 

[PREFACE] . . . I beg to express my warmest thanks to the following Gentlemen and the two Ladies for their kind assistance in supplying me with so many Chants for publication, either of their own composition or from the choir-books of the various Cathedrals, all of which, with one or two exceptions, are now first published:-

[viii] Adams, John, Esq., Organist of St. Mary's, Wimbledon . . . (double chant by Josiah Freund) (double chant in D by Adams) (double chant in G minor by Adams

No jewelled beauty is my love (1854)

No jewelled beauty is my love, ballad (as sung by Miss Catherine Hayes in Tasmania), words by Gerald Massey, composed and dedicated to Miss Catherine Hayes, by John Adams (Sydney: Woolcott & Clarke, [1854]) (DIGITISED)

I'm thinking o'er the short sweet hour (1856)

I'm thinking o'er the short sweet hour, a night song, words by Gerald Massey, music by the composer of "No jewelled beauty is my love", new ballad composed expressly for, and dedicated to Miss Catherine Hayes by John Adams (Sydney: Woolcott & Clarke, [1856]) (DIGITISED)

Tasmanian anthem ("All hail to thee our island home"; words by R. K. Ewing) (1856)


Lo! the desert depths are stirred (chorale; ancient hymn) (1857)


Riflemen form (by 1860)

Volunteer song [Riflemen form], manuscript copy, ? composer's autograph, 8 October 1860; State Library of Tasmania (DIGITISED)

Riflemen, form! colunteer song, composed, and dedicated to the officers and volunteers of Tasmania, by John Adams (Hobart Town: J. Walch & Sons, [1861]) (DIGITISED)

Bibliography and resources:

Graeme Skinner, Toward a general history of Australian musical composition: first national music, 1788-c. 1860 (Ph.D thesis, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, 2011), 304-306 (DIGITISED)

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2020