LAST MODIFIED Friday 26 June 2020 10:11

Aldis family

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Aldis family", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 6 July 2020

ALDIS, William Henry (William ALDIS; William Henry ALDIS; W. H. ALDIS)

Salaried vocalist (St. James's Church, Sydney), amateur vocalist, convict, compositor, tobacconist

Born Middlesex, England, c. 1804/05
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 11 August 1827 (convict per Manlius (1), from London, 11 April)
Married Mary Ann LENNOX (1815-1896), St. Philip's, Sydney, NSW, 1834
Died Sydney, 21 January 1872, aged 67 years ("68 years" on gravestone) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (shareable link to this entry)

Chrildren of William Henry Aldis and Mary Ann Lennox)

ALDIS, Edwin Charles (see main entry below)

ALDIS, Hannah Hay (see main entry below)

ALDIS, Mary Louisa (after 1865, Miss ALDIS)


Born Sydney, NSW, 19 July 1843
Died Manly, NSW, 8 August 1927

ALDIS, Edith (Miss Edith ALDIS)


Born Sydney, NSW, 20 December 1853
Died NZ, 18 September 1923

W. H. Aldis, Tobacconist, George-street, east side, with corner of Hunter-street at right; from Fowles's Sydney in 1848 (DIGITISED)


Aldis, having been convicted of a petty theft in London in January 1826, was sentenced to be transported for seven years.

He arrived in Sydney on the Manlius in August 1827, and by May 1828 he was collector of monies for Robert Howe's The Sydney Gazette. In 1832 he was fulfilling a similar role for Ward Stephens and Frederick Stokes at the The Sydney Herald, and afterwards also as a town collector.

In 1829, Aldis, along with several other convicts, was also employed as a singer in the choir of St. James's Church, Sydney, on a small retainer. However, after appearing as a vocalist in a public concert for Barnett Levey in September that year, he and fellow chorister, Harriet Edmonds, were dismissed from the church choir by the chaplain, Richard Hill.

"Mr. Aldis" sang a glee with Maria Taylor and Conrad Knowles in George Gordonovitch's concert in January 1835, and he took over Gordonovitch's tobacco business in 1837.

He was one of the principal vocalists in John Philip Deane's first Sydney concert in May 1836, and in William Vincent Wallace's oratorio at St. Mary's cathedral in September that year.

During the 1840s, Aldis regularly sold concert and theatre tickets from his shop. He was a friend of Ludwig Leichhardt, and, by Leichhardt's own account, the first to recognise the explorer on his unexpected return to Sydney in 1846.

Aldis was an early member of Sydney Philharmonic Society, and a committee member from 1856. The society's business meeting were regularly held at his George-street premises.

He was declared insolvent in 1867, but was able to resume trading briefly the following year. In 1870 he was appointed manager of Masonic Hall, in York Street. He died in January 1872 "an old and much respected colonist".

In 1845, Aldis commissioned a 3-rank chamber organ for his residence from William Johnson.

His daughter Hannah Aldis (Mrs. W. H. Palmer) and granddaughter, Gertrude Palmer, were both professional musicians, and his son, Edwin Aldis, a musical amateur.


Old Bailey Proceedings Online, 12 January 1826, trial of WILLIAM ALDIS, t18260112-11 

192. WILLIAM ALDIS was indicted for stealing, on the 4th of January, 1 ream of writing paper, called demy, value 18s., the goods of Christopher Magnay and others, his partners. JOHN ELL: I am in the employ of Messrs. Christopher Magnay and Sons, of College-hill, Thames-street. I saw the prisoner come out of the warehouse with this ream of paper - he was a stranger - I said I thought he was not right; he said he was perfectly right - that he came from Mr. Hartnell, of Wine-office-court; EVAN WILLIAMS: On the 4th of January I was on Garlick-hill, I heard the cry of Stop thief! and saw the prisoner running without his hat; I stopped him - the paper laid in Maiden-lane; WILLIAM JOYCE: I took charge of him. GUILTY. Aged 22. Transported for Seven Years.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (14 May 1828), 1

THE Attention of the Subscribers and Advertisers to this Journal (the Sydney Gazette) is earnestly requested to the Defrayment of their Accounts, which are either furnished, or are now furnishing. * * * William Aldis is the Collector in Sydney.

Colonial Secretary LC, Cash vouchers 1829, State Archives NSW, 4/296 (transcr. Rushworth 1988, 363)

[St. James's Church], Chaplain Hill, £250 [per annum]; Clerk, 20; Collector of Pew Rents, 5; Sexton, 20; Beadles (2), 15 each; Pew openers (2), 10 each; Teacher of the Choir and Organist, Mr. Pearson, £26 ; ditto, for tuning the organ, 8; Singers, Harriet Edmonds, 10; Ann Lancaster, 5; E. Hoare, J. Parton, G. Shepherd, Wm. Aldis, R. Cooper, S. Pawsey, 5 each; Organ blower, Geo. Mills, 4 6s 8d; Watchman, 13; Grave Digger, 13.

"Wednesday's Concert", The Sydney Monitor (19 September 1829), 3 

. . . The glee of "The Bells of St Michael's Tower" went off remarkably well, and gave much satisfaction - it was sung by Messrs. Clarke, Aldis and Edwards (bass) . . . "Two different passions sway my mind" by Mr. Aldis was well received. The glee of "Lightly tread" however called for much louder plaudits; it was sung by Messrs. Aldis, Clarke and Edwards . . .

MUSIC: The bells of St. Michael's tower (Knyvett); Two different passions sway my mind (song, by Gesualdo Lanza, for Charles Incledon, in The deserts of Arabia, London, 1807); Lightly tread (Berg)

[News], The Australian (23 September 1829), 3 

. . . What shall be said when it is known that two persons, a man and female, who gained a livelihood by singing in the choir at St. James's Church, have been discharged from their situation within this week past by the officiating Minister, for assisting as performers at the late concert? . . .

[News], The Australian (25 September 1829), 3 

The two choristers dismissed a few days since by the officiating Chaplain at St. James's Church, from their places, for the crime of singing at the late Public Concert, which the Venerable Archdeacon Broughton, it was expected, would have favoured with his presence, have not forfeited their means of obtaining a livelihood, as inferred by a paragraph in our last publication, we are glad to hear; the compensation allowed these singers amounting annually to but a trifle. Still the singularity of their abrupt dismissal remains unaltered. We hear the puritanical Pastor being too good and evangelical to live among the worldly going folk here, who can discover no sort of moral harm in a little innocent recreation betimes, will be treated with a rustication shortly.

"CHIT-CHAT", The Sydney Monitor (28 September 1829), 3 

. . . The Reverend Mr. Hill has dismissed two of the choir singers at St. James' Church, for contaminating their voice and persons, by being present at Mr. Levey's last Concert, at which the Judges were present. The public are in ardent expectation, that this Reverend Gentleman will be invited to give way to some Universty-bred Clergyman, whose model of preaching will be equally plain and a little more connected . . .

"THE CONCERT", The Australian (21 October 1829), 3 

. . . Webb's Glee - "Glorious Apollo from on high beheld us" - followed next - the three parts being well taken among Messrs. Aldis, Hall, and Davis - the thunder which now rumbled hoarsely outside, amid torrents of rain, mingling in with the trio - "in concert and rude harmony" and making no indifferent thorough-bass. "In gaudy courts with aching hearts" was next sung, by Mrs. Edmonds and Mr. Aldis, with good effect; and at the conclusion there rung through the house the cry encore - encore . . .

MUSIC: Glorious Apollo (Webbe); In gaudy courts with aching hearts (Shield, from Rosina)

"Public Notice. Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, September 21, 1831", The Sydney Herald (10 October 1831), 1 supplement 

THE following Prisoners of the Crown have obtained Tickets of Leave since the last day of publication, viz. . . .
SYDNEY. Aldis William, Manlius . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (24 December 1831), 1 

WILLIAM ALDIS, Collector for the Sydney Herald (formerly in the same capacity at the Gazette Office), respectfully begs leave to present himself to the Public, at the commencement of the New Year, as GENERAL COLLECTOR FOR THE TOWN OF SYDNEY . . . Argyle-street, 16 Dec. 1831.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (16 July 1832), 4 

NOTICE. MESSRS. STEPHENS and STOKES of the "Sydney Herald," beg to inform the Public, that no Person is authorised to receive Money on their account, without giving a Printed Receipt, with the signature of the Firm. And they further beg to notify that Mr. William Aldis is the Collector for Sydney . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (21 July 1832), 1 

"Australian Chronicle." THE Inhahitants of Sydney are respectfully informed, that Mr. William Aldis, No. 56, Castlereagh-street, (nearly opposite the Waggon and Horses), has been appointod Collector and General Agent for the "Australian Chronicle" and will immediately wait upon them with copies of the Prospectus, and to solicit the honour of their patronage . . . Sydney, 14th July, 1832.

"MR. GORDONOVITCH'S CONCERT", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (22 January 1835), 2

On Tuesday evening [20 January] one of the most brilliant and fashionable assemblages that New South Wales can produce, assembled at the Pulteney Hotel for the purpose of hearing (as it turned out to be) some of the finest specimens of vocal and instrumental music ever before heard in this colony. The arrangements made by Mr. Cavendish, under whose superintendence the concert was got up, reflect infinite credit, on that gentleman . . . a glee by Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Aldis and Mr. Knowles gave entire satisfaction . . . glee, "Dame Durden," by Mr. Aldis, Mr. Knowles, and Master Horn, was middling . . . a glee by Messrs. Aldis and Knowles and Mrs. Taylor, went off very gaily . . . A trio, "Lady fair," by Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Aldis, and Mr. Knowles, was finely executed, Mr. Knowles's bass, fine in the extreme. Solo and grand double chorus (Purcell), Knowles, in his first part, was greatly at fault, not being able to reach the high notes. Finale, "Figaro" (Mozart), by the whole band, was brilliant, and the company departed well pleased with the evening's entertainment . . .

"CONCERT", The Australian (23 January 1835), 2

. . . The principal singers were Mrs. Taylor, a young lady, Master Horne, Mr. Aldis, Mr. Ellis, and Mr. Knowles. The choruses were by the choir of the Roman Catholic Chapel. In all there were twenty-seven singers, and the incomparable band of the 17th Regt. There were upwards of three hundred persons present . . . Messrs. Aldis and Knowles, and Mrs. Taylor sung the glee "Shepherds tell me have you seen", accurately, and with taste . . . A duett from the Bride of Abydos was very successfully executed by Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Aldis. This gentleman has a pretty voice, and seems to have some musical skill; but as the pitch at which Mrs. Taylor sings, is beyond his relative calibre - the result of the two voices is not so harmonious and effective as it might be . . . A glee by Messrs. Aldis and Knowles, and a young gentleman, and the overture to Faustus, closed the first part of the concert . . . Glee, "Oh why to be happy," by Mrs. Taylor and Messrs. Knowles and Aldis . . . "Oh, lady fair," by Mrs. Taylor and Messrs. Knowles and Aldis, was weak, and somewhat out of tune in the chorus, occasioned by Mrs. T's maintaining too high a pitch for the contr'alto with which she had to unite . . .

MUSIC: Dame Durden (Harrington); Flowers in the east (from The bride of Abydos, Michael Kelly); Oh lady fair (Moore)

[Editorial], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (21 July 1835), 2 

. . . From them the conduct of the Herald has descended from dire necessity, to two emancipated convicts, William Henry Aldis and Henry Murray, who have been the open advocates of an intolerant and tantalising exclusion against the party to which they belong - and this elevation and association of object has in the scale of society, induced these fellows to assume a position unauthorised, and, in our opinion, dangerous. The establishment of the Herald was a speculation in which the worthies now at its head were the mere instruments used in its accomplishment. Both were employed as clerks in the Gazette Office, and Mr. Ward Stephens in a very subordinate situation. While here he was particularly accommodating to the poor convict servants of the house whose necessities he frequently relieved, during the week with a few shillings, on condition that on Saturday evening, the principal and interest were to be repaid . . . Here therefore is the young gentleman - the leading pink of pride in talent and propriety, who lends his weapons - the columns of the Sydney Herald - to the more adept management of his old companions, Aldis and Murray - and who is Aldis? This fashionable was under Stephens, a convict in the Gazette Office, and held one of the most menial situations for a considerable time in the service. He is now, reputed part editor of that delectable and pure sheet, with Mr. Murray . . .

[Advertisement], Commercial Journal and Advertiser (18 May 1836), 1 

CONCERT. MR. JOHN PHILLIP DEANE, Member of the Philharmonic Society, and Professor of Music, BEGS to announce to his Friends and the Public generally of Sydney, and its vicinity, that he will give a CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music, at the Royal Hotel,
THIS EVENING, May 18, 1836, on which occasion the following talent will render their valuable assistance:
PRINCIPAL PERFORMERS - Mr. Cavendish, Mr. Allen, Mr. Stubbs, Mr. Sippe, Mr. Wilson, Masters John & Edward Deane, Miss Deane, several Gentlemen Amateurs, Mr. Aldis, and Mrs. Chester.
PART I . . . Glee & Chorus - Bragela, Mrs. Chester, Master Deane, Mr. Aldis, &c - Stevens . . .
PART II . . . Duetto - Dear Maid, Mrs. Chester and Mr. Aldis - Bishop . . .
Glee and Chorus - Away, away, the morning freshly breaking, by all the Vocalists - Auber
By the kind permission of Major England, the Band of the 4th or King's Own will attend . . .

"MR. DEANE'S CONCERT", The Australian (20 May 1836), 2 

. . . The duet Dear Maid, by Mrs. Chester and Mr. Aldis would have been much more effective had the gentleman's voice been strong in proportion to that possessed by Mrs. Chester. It however went off well . . .

MUSIC: O strike the harp in praise of Bragela (Stevens); Dear maid, I love thee (Bishop)

[Advertisement], Commercial Journal and Advertiser (6 July 1836), 2 

. . . MR. J. P. DEANE, Member of the Philharmonic Society, London, and Professor of Music.
RESPECTFULLY informs his Friends and the Public, that his next CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music will take place
THIS EVENING, July 6th, 1836, in the Saloon of the Royal Hotel . . .
PART I . . . Chorus - The Chough, and Crow - Bishop.
PART II . . . Duett - Tell me where is fancy bred, Mrs. Chester and Mr. Aldis - Bishop . . .
Chorus - Of Huntsmen, C. M Von Weber . . .

MUSIC: Tell me where is fancy bred (Stevenson, arr. Bishop)

"THE ORATORIO", The Australian (23 September 1836), 2 

. . . An Amateur, Mr. Aldis followed Mrs. Rust - we thought him injudicious in doing so - we do not say this for the sake of any invidious comparison, but for our own sakes, and partly for his sake, and not a little for the sake of the public . . .

"The Oratorio . . . PART FIRST. Seleclions from Handel's Sacred Oratorio, THE MESSIAH", The Sydney Monitor (24 September 1836), 2 

Recit - MR. ALDIS. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened . . .
AIR. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd . . . Come unto him, all ye that labour . . .

"THE ORATORIO", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (24 September 1836), 2 

. . . Mr. Aldis did not come up to our expectations in He shall feed his flock; his voice, though sweet, is too weak, and the circumstances of his following Mrs. Rust was quite sufficient to shew him in the greatest possible disadvantage . . .

"THE ORATORIO" [satirical correspondence], The Colonist (29 September 1836), 2-3 

WE insert the following critique on the performances, at the Oratorio in the Roman Catholic chapel, from the pen of a talented correspondent . . .
[3] . . . Mrs. M.: What think you of the Amateur? I mean Mr. Aldis.
Mr. T.: Why, I think he was out of tune, out of time, out in point of taste, and, in fact, out in every way, but where he should have been, that is out of the performance. He might have been prompted by charitable motives to render his assistance, but I doubt very much whether the taking of a few tickets would not have much more benefitted the Committee, and would certainly have been more charitable to his hearers. I do most cordially hate to see a man thrust himself forward without the shadow of a pretension to excellence, or even to passing ability, struggling as it were for notoriety, heedless of its being obtained by superiority, or the reverse. In fact, my dear Madam, not that I mean to compare a theatrical representation to an Oratorio, but if ever an actor was accused of murder, surely Mr. A. ought to be accused and decidedly found guilty of sacrilege.
Mrs. M.: You are very severe, Mr. T.; Pray, what think you of Mrs. Chester's abilities? . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (13 March 1837), 3 

NOTICE. THE undersigned returns his grateful acknowledgments for the patronage he has received for the last two years and in so doing begs to recommend to his old Friends his Successor in Business MR. ALDIS, who has this day taken possession af the Stock in Trade, &c., and with whom all Parties indebted to the undersigned are requested to settle their Accounts. G. GORDONOVITCH, Snuff and Tobacco Warehouse, No. 5, George-street, March 11, 1837.

[News], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (14 March 1837), 3

The tobacco and snuff establishment lately carried on by Mr. Gordonovitch, in George-street, has been lately taken by Mr. Aldis.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (9 August 1839), 3 

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (10 September 1842), 3

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. GRAND CONCERT . . . MR. DEANE begs to inform his friends and the public that . . . his Concert of vocal and instrumental music, on a very extensive scale, will take place at the Royal Victoria Theatre, on Wednesday, September 14, 1842 . . .
Tickets to be had of Mr. Ellard, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Aldis, George-street;
Mr. Turner, King-street; Mr. Wright, Victoria Hotel; and Mr. Deane, O'Connell-street . . .

"ORGAN BUILDING", The Australian (18 October 1845), 3 

We were much gratified yesterday by an inspection of a beautiful chamber finger-organ which has just been completed by Mr. W. J. Johnson for Mr. Aldis, the tobacco merchant. Its compass is from CC to F in alt, and it has four stops, viz., diapason treble, diapason bass, principal, and dulciana, and is furnished with Venetian swell. The case is made of cedar, with handsomely ornamented gilt, pipe front - altogether forming an elegant construction, highly creditable to the builder. We understand this is the third instrument built by Mr. Johnson in the colony: the first was for the temporary Cathedral Church, George-street; the second for St. Matthew's, Windsor; and two more of larger dimensions are in progress, viz., one for the Independent Chapel, Pitt-street, and one for the Church Society . . .

[Advertisement], Empire (15 April 1856), 1 


"SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", Empire (19 June 1860), 5 

The annual meeting of the Sydney Philharmonic Society waa held at Mr. Aldis's, tobacconist, George-street, yesterday evening. There were about 30 persons present . . .

"LEICHHARDT'S LAST HOME CORRESPONDENCE", The Argus (13 September 1865), 5

. . . An intelligent, much-liked tobacco merchant, named Aldis, had assisted me when I started before most friendly and strongly, and he was the first whom I met when I landed. When he had recollected me (and this took a pretty long time) he gave vent to his feelings in such a glorifying welcome that I did not know what to think of it. And when he accompanied me to Lynd's house, and called out to everybody in the street. "There is Leichardt, whom we buried long ago, about whom we sang songs of death; he comes from Port Essington, and has conquered the wilderness."

"INSOLVENCY COURT, SYDNEY. SURRENDERS", Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (12 March 1867), 2 

William Henry Aldis, of George-strect, Sydney, tobacconist. Liabilities, £1862 1s. 10d., of which £100 is secured. Assets, £1180 13s. 1Od. Mr. Sempill, official assignee.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (15 March 1867), 1 

IN THE INSOLVENT ESTATE OF W. H. ALDIS, Tobacconist, of 308, George-street, Sydney.
Offers, in writing, will be received by the nnderiigned until 12 o'clock on FRIDAY, the 15th day of March, 1867, in the above estate, for the following lots, either together or separately:
Lot 1. - Stock-in-trade as per stocklist.
Lot 2. - The Official Assignees' right, title, and interest in the lease, which expires on 1st January, 1870, and the fittings and fixtures.
The premises form the corner of Georgo and Hunter streets, and occupy one of the best business positions in the city . . .

ATTEMPTED MURDER OF THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH. TRIAL OF HENRY JAMES O'FARRELL, CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT, SYDNEY. Monday", Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (7 April 1868), 2 

. . . For the prosecution, and to endeavour to show that the prisoner during his sojourn in Sydney had not displayed any symptoms of insanity, the following witnesses were examined . . . W. H. Aldis, who had conversed with the prisoner almost daily for the last three months . . . who stated that he considered him to be a clever, highly intellectual, well-educated man, and that he had not seen anything strange or incoherent in his manner . . .

"DIED", The Sydney Morning Herald (27 January 1872), 1

On the 21st instant, at his residence, No. 1 William-terrace, Bourke-street, Woolloomooloo, WILLIAM HENRY ALDIS, aged 67 years, an old and much respected colonist.

"IN MEMORIAM", The Sydney Morning Herald (31 January 1888), 1 

ALDIS - In affectionate memory of my father, the late W. H. Aldis, who (in his days of prosperity) contributed liberally to the progress of our public charities, and also to the advancement of the fine arts. Died January, 1872.

Bibliography and resources:

Francis Campbell Brewer, The drama and music in New South Wales, published by authority of the New South Wales Commissioners for the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), 56, also 59, 90, 94 (DIGITISED)

. . . It may be of interest to mention here that the late Mr. W. H. Aldis was a frequent vocalist at concerts given by Mr. Deane . . .

Graeme Rushworth, Historic organs of New South Wales (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1988), 46, 71, 74-75, 363

"William Henry Aldis", Design & Art Australia Online (DAAO)

ALDIS, Edwin Charles (Edwin Charles ALDIS; E. C. ALDIS)

Journalist, musical amateur

Born Sydney, NSW, 17 September 1835; son of William Henry ALDIS and Mary Ann LENNOX
Died Sydney, NSW, 28 December 1879 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (shareable link to this entry)


[Advertisement], Empire (23 October 1856), 1 

FAREWELL CONCERT TO MISKA HAUSER. (His last appearance in Sydney.) -
THIS DAY, Thursday, October 23, 1850, at the Royal Hotel . . .
PROGRAMME. PART I . . . 3. Grand Trio for piano, violin, and violoncello, Andante and Finale Movements. Young Lady Amateur, Miska Hauser, and Mr. E. Deane. - Mendelssohn
PART II . . . 3. La Gazelle (grand solo piano), Young Lady Amateur - Kullak . . .
EDWIN C. ALDIS, Honorary Secretary.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (6 August 1862), 2 

TO EDWIN C. ALDIS, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Dear Sir, - On the eve of your departure from this district we wish to convey to you the general regret your resignation has occasioned. It, however, affords us the pleasing opportunity of briefly expressing the compliment we are called upon to pay you. Since your residence amongst us we have, on all occasions, in our intercourse with you received the most courteous attention; and your general affability and obliging deportment have secured you the respect and esteem of all parties.

But such of us who are members of the Church of England cannot pass over in silence your successful efforts in obtaining an "Harmonium" in our church, and it is mainly due to your praiseworthy and laudable exertions which have thus promoted and established a "Choir," which has rendered our Church Service so beautifully complete.

We must also convey to you our sincere thanks for your considerate attention to our convenience in affording us regularly the daily Sydney time. But last, though not least, jour vnluablo contributions to the Sydney press deserve public recognition, as on all occasions we have observed your articles have not only borne the testimony of facts, but have had for their object the welfare of the district.

In bidding you "Farewell," permit us to express our best wishes for your future happiness and success, and a rapid realisation of those honourable aspiratisns which are so vividly conspicuous in your many excellent qualities, which have so warmly endeared you to all during your residence amongst us.

(Signed) DAVID DUNLOP, J. P.; WILLIAM JOHN COBCROFT, J. P.; HUGH C. CLAUGHTON, Clerk; JOHN MAHER, C.C. (Here follow 50 signatures)

To David Dunlop, Esq., J.P., William J. Cobcroft, Esq., J.P., Rev. Hugh C. Claughton, and Rev. John Maher, and the ether gentlemen signing the above address.

Gentlemen, - No one can value more highly than I do the unexpected and flattering address you have been pleased to make me. I am aware from this how fully you sympathise with my wishes, but at this moment I am at a loss for words sufficiently to express the gratification it will ever afford me to conceive myseld worthy of your esteem . . . I remain, gentlemen, Your obedient humble servant, EDWIN C. ALDIS.

ALDIS, Hannah Hay (Hannah ALDIS; Miss ALDIS; Mrs. W. H. PALMER)

Pianist (pupil of Edward Boulanger)

Born Sydney, NSW, 11 December 1838; baptised St. Philip's church, Sydney, 17 January 1839, daughter of William Henry ALDIS and Mary Ann LENNOX
Married William Henry PALMER, St. James's church, Sydney, 19 November 1863
Died Sydney, NSW, 25 November 1912, aged 73 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (shareable link to this entry)


Daughter of W. H. Aldis

Pupil of Edward Boulanger

Two published prints were dedicated to her, Miska Hauser's impromptu Australian flowers in December 1856, and the Rosalind schottische by Douglas Callen in 1859.

Wife of William Henry Palmer

Her daughter was the pianist Gertrude Palmer. According to Gertrude's obituary, she was a cousin of Charles Stegall and Karl Straube.


"REVIEW: THE AUSTRALIAN ALBUM, for 1857. J. R. CLARKE: Sydney, Music Publisher", The Sydney Morning Herald (24 December 1856), 5

A quiet look over this very interesting publication has fully confirmed us in the strong opinion expressed at a first sight of the work - that it is the best drawing room annual ever published in the colony. The contents comprise eight morceaux, all of which may be said to be Australian productions . . . Miska Hauser's "Bird on the Tree," dedicated to Lady Macdonald, and arranged for the Piano; and his "Australian Flowers," dedicated to Miss Aldis, would alone have been sufficient to have led those, who have heard this prince of violinists execute these morceaux, to secure the notes, almost at any price . . .

[Advertisement], Empire (4 August 1856), 1 

- Patron, His Excellency the GOVERNOR-GENERAL; Patroness, LADY DENISON, who have signified their intention of being present.
MISKA HAUSER, has the honour to announce that his Last Concert will take place
THIS (Monday) EVENING, 4th August, at the CONCERT HALL, ROYAL HOTEL.
PROGRAMME . . . PART II . . . Grand Duetto, from "Guillaume Tell," for Piano and Violin, by Osborne and De Beriot - performed by a Young Lady Amateur and MISKA HAUSER
PART III . . . Piano Solo - "La Cracovienne," composed by Wallace, - Performed by a young Lady Amateur . . .

"MISKA HAUSER'S LAST CONCERT", Freeman's Journal (9 August 1856), 3 

. . . A crowded and brilliant house evidenced the appreciation in which this prince of performers on the violin is held by the elite of Sydney . . . The performance of a young lady amateur on the piano was one of the richest treats of the evening. Her brilliant style of execution pleasingly surprised the audience. We regret our space does not permit us to point out a few of her many excellencies. Wo hope, however, to feast once again on the divine ambrosia of her music, and do her more ample justice. There was a general feeling of satisfaction manifested by the audience.

'MUSIC AND THEATRICALS.', The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (16 August 1856), 5 

. . . Returning to Sydney from this tour, he [Hauser] announced a concert, the programme of which included selections of the highest class of music. There were scarcely thirty persons present, amongst whom there were but three members of the Philharmonic Society, whose concerts he had, on his former visit so often played gratuitously! His second concert was even worse. It is true that, at last, the society seemed to have become ashamed of their unpardonable apathy and neglect, and condescended to offer their patronage at a concert which was given last Monday week. But full as was the Concert Hall on that evening, there is no disguising the fact, that this arose from the active exertions of the influential friends of the "Young Lady Amateur," who were naturally desirous to give her a flattering reception.

[Advertisement], Empire (13 October 1856), 1 

SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY. - The next Concert of the Season will take place
THIS (Monday) EVENING, 13th instant, at the Concert Room, Royal Hotel. PROGRAMME. PART I. . . . Duet, Piano and Violin - "Benedict and De Beriot" - Lady Amateur and MISKA HAUSER . . .
PART II . . . Solo, Piano - Lady Amateur . . .

"THE PHILHARMONIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (13 October 1856), 5 

The Sydney Philharmonic Society gives its subscribers and friends a musical treat this evening . . . Thalberg's splendid fantasia for the piano, from Rossini's opera of "Moses in Egypt," by an Australian amateur, and a spirited duo of De Beriot and Benedict for the piano and violin, by Miska Hauser and a lady amateur, are amongst the attractions of the programme.

"SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", Empire (14 October 1856), 5 

This society gave the second concert of the season last evening at the Royal Hotel. The programme of the entertainment included among other pieces on allegro and scherzo by Mayseder - very finely executed by Miska Hauser, J. Deane, E. Deane and amateurs - the G minor (Op. No. 3) of Mozart, and a duet for piano and violin by De Beriot and Benedict. This last piece was most beautifally given by Miska Hauser and a lady amateur, and elicited the warmest applause from the audience. Beside Madame Pleyel we have heard few pianistes who for dexterity and brilliancy of touch - originality of reading - and fine perception of light and shade - have outrivalled this "lady amateur." We trust very shortly to hear her again . . .

MUSIC: See here for Julius Benedict's collaborations with De Beriot, op. 18 (on La sonnambula) op. 19, op. 28 (on Norma)

[Advertisement], Empire (23 October 1856), 1 

FAREWELL CONCERT TO MISKA HAUSER. (His last appearance in Sydney.) -
THIS DAY, Thursday, October 23, 1850, at the Royal Hotel . . .
PROGRAMME. PART I . . . 3. Grand Trio for piano, violin, and violoncello, Andante and Finale Movements. Young Lady Amateur, Miska Hauser, and Mr. E. Deane. - Mendelssohn
PART II . . . 3. La Gazelle (grand solo piano), Young Lady Amateur - Kullak . . .
EDWIN C. ALDIS, Honorary Secretary.

"MISKA HAUSER'S FAREWELL CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (24 October 1856), 5 

This talented violinist Miaka Hauler made his last appearance before a Sydney audience last evening, in a grand complimentary concert, got up and conducted, as we believe, by several gentlemen residents of Sydney - admirers of the musician . . . Miska Hauser took part in the trio of Mendelsshonn the first, and in the quartette of Onslow's, in the second part. In the first of these - the trio - the young lady amateur, whose brilliant debut at a former concert we had the pleasure of recording, took a part, and by her delicacy of touch and brilliancy of execution fully bore out the sanguine anticipations we then formed of her talent. A brilliant and exceedingly difficult solo of Kullak's, "La Gazelle," showed to complete advantage the finished style and rapid but correct execution of this very talented young lady, and may be said to have finally stamped her reputation as a pianist. Under such circumstances, we almost conceive that the musical public has a right to the name of a lady who has already made herself famous, but gallantry forbids us to raise the veil in which this young Australian artiste has thought proper to enshroud herself . . .

"MISKA HAUSER'S LAST APPEARANCE IN SYDNEY", Empire (25 October 1856), 4 

. . . one of the most brilliant audiences ever assembled in this metropolis met to take a farewell of the highly gifted artiste. Among those present we noticed his Honor the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Therry, Mr. Broadhurst, M.L.C., Dr. Bland, Mr. Plunkett, M.P., Dr. Woolley, Mr. Gordon, M.P., and many gentlemen belonging to the literary and musical circles of this city . . . to the Messrs. Deane, Mr. Stanley. Mr. Ellard, the lady amateur pianiste, and Madame Cailly, the greatest praise is due for their combined efforts to render the concert worthy of the graceful and gracions effort of those gentlemen who gave it, and of the great musician in honour of whom it took place . . .

"MISKA HAUSER'S FAREWELL CONCERT", Freeman's Journal (25 October 1856), 2 

. . . The lady amateur on whom we made some complimentary comments on a former occasion, again treated us, on the same evening, to a brilliant solo ("La Gazelle") of KULLAK'S. We concur with a contemporary critic in his wish to give this fair lady's name to the world, now that rigid criticism has awarded her its brightest crown. She is graceful, unaffected, and a most accomplished artiste . . .

"FAREWELL CONCERT OF MISKA HAUSER", The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (25 October 1856), 2 

. . . The selection of music was liberal, and various, and so chosen as to display his wonderful powers. He opened with a Rondo arranged by himself. This was succeeded by a grand trio for piano, violin, and violincello - "Andante and finale - Mendelsohn," which was brilliantly executed by an Australian lady amateur, Miska Hauser; and Mr. E. Deane. This young lady's solo on the piano, "La Gazelle - Kullak," in a subsequent part of the evening, was a really choice gem, and received the warmest applause . . .

MUSIC: Piano trio in D minor (Mendelssohn), 2nd and 4th movements; La gazelle (Kullak)

"To the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald", Empire (27 February 1857), 3 

SIR . . . I believe that there is scarcely any possibility for an amateur, taught only in this city, to delight the cool reflecting critic, who little cares for the youth or age of the performor, but whoso only desire is to hear real good music. Much as he has reason to admire another extraordinary talent of a young lady of this city, who appeared on a former occasion at the Philharmonic Concerrt, and who, if she were to continue assiduously her studies at the conservatoires af Paris, or Leipsic, might in some years bring lustre to her native place . . .
I am, sir, your obedient servant, ---.

"SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", The Sydney Morning Herald (18 April 1857), 4

The annual meeting of the Sydney Philharmonic Society was held on Thursday evening, at the Society's Practice Rooms, in Jamison-street, Mr. Plunkett, M.L.C., the President of the Society, took the chair; after which, the Secretary read the report for the past year . . . During the past year, six concerts have been given, at all of which the best music of the masters has been performed by the orchestra, now numbering 90 performers. Solos have been performed by M. Hauser, E. Boulanger, E. Deane, Herr Prost, Mr. Sloper, and Mr. Wheeler, with eminent success. The society has been successful in inducing lady amateurs to assist at the concert, and have tendered their thanks to Mrs. Jaffa and Miss Aldis for their kind and efficient services . . . After the reading of the report . . . the honorable J. H. Plunkett, Esq., Q.C., was elected President of the society . . . and the following gentlemen members of the committee . . . Boesen, Aldis, McDowell, Richardson, Mountcastle, E. Deane, and Younger . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (20 July 1857), 1 

SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY . . . the Second Concert of the Season will take place, at the Concert Hall, Royal Hotel, THIS EVENING, July 20th.
PROGRAMME. PART I. . . . 3. Grand Quartette - No. 3 from Op. 108, for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Violoncello, by a Lady Amateur and the Messrs. Deane - Reissiger . . .
PART II. . . . 2. Solo - Pianoforte, "AEolian Harp," by a Lady Amateur - Kruger . . .

"SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", The Sydney Morning Herald (22 July 1857), 5 

. . . The quartette No. 3, by Reissigor, celebrated for his purely classical music, whether in his duets for flutes, his trios for stringed instruments, or his concerted music generally, was, we think, the gem of the evening. To the young lady who so kindly assisted in this brilliant selection is to be attributed its success, for to her share fell the largest proportion, and we feel certain that the gentlemen who took part in the quartette will not take umbrage at what we say, for we readily admit their well-known talent; they will agree with us that the piano had the hard work, and admirably was it executed. It is for the performance of such music as this, together with more extended classical music, that the Society most properly strives, and so long as the "Lady Amateur" so unassumingly and kindly consents to aid the Society we have no fear that this elevated style of composition will be forgotten. We wish the executants had played, the whole of it, but then some people are never satisfied. But we must not omit to point out that this quartette was executed by four natives of Australia, and most creditable is it to them . . . Kruger's piano solo "AEolian Harp" was most exquisitely given by the Lady Amateur, and well deserved the encore unanimously called for and most good humouredly granted, a sparkling comic piece by Gortchkoff (we believe) being substituted by way of variety. We cannot help remarking here it is somewhat extraordinary that with all the talent any person on the platform must have looked upon in the hall, only one lady could be found willing to assist the Society when so excellent an example has been shown. We throw this out as a hint, for we cannot but believe, nay, we know, there were ladies present who could have played, if not solos, at least some brilliant duets, before their friends on such an occasion . . .

MUSIC: Excerpt from Piano quartet no. 3, op. 108 (Reissiger); La harpe éolienne (rêverie pour le piano, op. 25, Wilhelm Krüger); [encore] ("Gortchkoff", probably Gottschalk's Le bananier)

"SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", The Sydney Morning Herald (29 April 1858), 8 

THE Fourth Annual Meeting of this Society was held at the Practice Room, Jamison-street, on Monday evening last, the Hon. J. H. Plunkett, Esq., the President, in the chair . . . the Secretary read the report, of which the following is a copy: . . . Your Committee most gladly tender their acknowledgments to Madame Jaffa, and to Miss Aldis, for their ready acquiescence in the desire of the Society to avail of their services, regretting that their excellent examples have not, as yet, been more generally followed . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (30 July 1859), 10 

The Rosalind Sohottishe, by Douglas Callen, Esq., and dedicated to Miss Aldis, 2s. 6d. (published this day) . . . J. R. CLARKE, Music-seller and Publisher, 356, George-street, Sydney.

[Advertisement], Empire (20 July 1859), 8 

SYDNEY UNIVERSITY MUSICAL FESTIVAL, On WEDNESDAY (THIS DAY) . . . THIS EVENING, at 8 o'clook, there will be performed, ai GRAND MISCELLANEOUS CONCERT of Secular Music. PROGRAMME. PART THE FIRST . . . Solo, Pianoforte - Lady Amateur. - (Belisario). - Goria . . .

"UNIVERSITY MUSICAL FESTVAL", Empire (21 July 1859), 4 

. . . Amongst the other encores were a lady amateur's (Miss A----) piano solo . . .


THE Festival which was so worthily ushered in on Monday the 18th of July, by the University Commemoration, and the daily progress of which we duly chronicled, is of so important a character, - let us hope so beneficial in its results, that it demands a prominent place in our European Summary . . . Of instrumental soloists there were but two, - Mr. Kohler, of Melbourne, on the flageolet and cornet-à-piston; the second was a well-known young lady Amateur . . .

MUSIC: Fantaisie de concert sur Belisario [Donizetti] (Goria)

"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 August 1859), 5 

An addition to our musical repertoire has been made by Mr. D. Callen, in a very graceful composition, bearing the title of the "Rosalind Schottische". The introduction is short and effective, and the schottishe itself very pleasing, particularly the trio. That it will become a favourite there is no doubt, from the absence of those difficulties of extreme ornamentation which render some dance compositions "studies" rather for the proficient than pieces for the ordinary musician. It is appropriately dedicated to Miss Aldis. Mr. J. R. Clarke is the publisher.

"MARRIAGES", Empire (24 November 1863), 1

PALMER - ALDIS - On the 19th November, by special license, at St. James' Church, by the Rev. Canon Alwood, William Henry Palmer, Esq., of Brisbane, Queensland, to Hannah Hay, eldest daughter of W. H. Aldis, Esq., of Sydney.

"BIRTHS", Illustrated Sydney News (16 February 1866), 14 

PALMER - Feb. 1, at Newtown, Mrs. W. H. Palmer, a daughter.

NOTE: Birth of her daughter, the pianist Gertrude Palmer

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (22 June 1868), 8 

PROGRAMME. PART I . . . 3. Solo, Pianoforte - "Sonate Pathétique" - (Beethoven) - Mrs. W. H. PALMER (amateur) . . .
PART II . . . 9. Solo pianoforte - "Norma" - (Boulanger) Mrs. W. H. PALMER (amateur) . . .

"PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY'S CONCERT", Sydney Mail (27 June 1868), 12 

. . . The chief attraction in the concert was the appearance of Mrs. W. H. Palmer, who, as Miss Aldis, will be remembered as a distinguished amateur pianiste, having been a pupil of Boulanger, and played in public once or twice with Miska Hauser. She is now leaving the rank of amateurs to engage in tuition, and this, do doubt, operated as a stimulant to those efforts which resulted in her brilliant instrumentation this evening. She had the advantage of a magnificent full concert grand piano just imported by Mr. Paling, and the pieces set down for her were fairly calculated to afford scope for her ability. The first was Beethoven's "Sonate Pathetique." The varied and exquisite expressiveness of which she seemed fully to appreciate, and she exhibited that freedom, yet delicacy, of fingering necessary for its realisation. In the second part she gave Boulanger's pianoforte solo "Norma," with such brilliant effect as to lead to a recall . . .

"PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY'S CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (23 June 1868), 4 

. . . The chief attraction in the concert was the appearance of Mrs. W. H. Palmer, who, as Miss Aldis, will be remembered aa a distinguished amateur pianists, having been a pupil of Boulanger, and played in public once or twice with Miska Hauser. She is now leaving the rank of amateurs to engage in tuition, and this, do doubt, operated as a stimulant to those efforts which resulted in her brilliant instrumentation this evening. She had the advantage of a magnificent full concert grand piano just imported by Mr. Paling, and the pieces set down for her were fairly calculated to afford scope for her ability. The first was Beethoven's "Sonate Pathetique." The varied and exquisite expressiveness of which she seemed folly to appreciate, and she exhibited that freedom, yet delicacy, of fingering necessary for its realisation. In the second part she gave Boulanger's pianoforte solo "Norma," with such brilliant effect as to lead to a recall, when she played a ballad air (a favourite with H. R. H. Prince Alfred) by the American composer, Gortzchalk entitled "Benanier." This sparkling little piece was also given with great taste and accuracy . . .

MUSIC: Caprice sur Norma (Boulanger); Le bananier (Gottschalk)

[Advertisement], Empire (12 December 1868), 1 

PRINCE OF WALES OPERA HOUSE. COMPLIMENTARY BENEFIT, to Madama ANNA BISHOP . . . Madame ANNA BISHOP will bo assisted on this occasion by Mrs. W. H. PALMER . . . PROGRAMME. PART I. . . . Solo, Pianoforte - Don Pasquale - Boulanger - Mrs. W. H. PALMER . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (13 January 1869), 1 

MRS. W. H. PALMER, Pianoforte and Singing Lessons. Address W. H. Paling, Wynyard-square.

"MRS. W. H. PALMER'S CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (1 May 1869), 4

Mrs. Palmer, better known in musical circles as Miss Aldis, will give a concert at the Masonic Hall on Monday evening next, the 3rd instant, under the immediate patronage of his Excellency the Earl of Belmore and the Countess of Belmore. Before directing attention to the programme, it may interest many to know that the lady who will be the principal performer at the concert was, years ago, in the days of Boulanger and Rawack, recognised as the most talented amateur pianist in tho colony, and made her debut with the celebrated violinist, Miska Hauser, in a classical chamber concert, when she received a most flattering acknowledgment of her musical talent. Mrs. Palmer atterwards performed as an amateur at the concerts of the Philharmonic Society, of which she was made an honorary member when only sixteen years of age; and many will remember the ovation she received at the Sydney University Festival, notwithstanding that her playing was tested by that of the two great artists mentioned above. Bearing these facts in mind, it will be readily seen that the concert on Monday evening will partake more of legitimate instrumentation than those usually given, as the programme includes two exquisite quartettes (op. 106 and op. 108) of Reissiger, for piano, violin, viola, and violoncollo, besides a fantasia by Goria, and Thalberg's magnificent arrangement for the "National Anthem." The programme is interspersed with vocal selections. It may be presumed that the concert will be a treat to all those who prefer good to meretricious music.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (3 May 1869), 8 

"MRS. W. H. PALMER'S CONCERT", Sydney Mail (8 May 1869), 9 

. . . The solos played by Mrs. Palmer were the "Fantasie de Belisario (Gorio), a fantasia on "Rule Britannia," and "God save the Queen" (both by Thalberg), and being enthusiastically encored in the first, she substituted Boulanger's "Don Pasquale." Each of those pieces was performed with the sparkling effect and refined expression which characterises her pianoforte playing, and all the music assigned to her was well calculated to exhibit her accomplishments as an executant.

St. Peter's, Woolloomooloo", Evening News (11 September 1876), 2

To-morrow, Tuesday evening, a concert will be given at the schoolroom, by Mrs. W H. Palmer, one of the ablest amateur pianistes in Sydney. Mrs. Palmer will be assisted by several amateurs, and by Miss Gertrude Palmer a young lady but ten years of age, who already exhibits great musical talent, and will play a solo on the piano by Leybach, and a duet with Mrs. Palmer, by De Vibac, from the opera L'Elisir D'Amore. The programme contains several beautiful glees, duets (both vocal and instrumental), and a solo for Mrs. Palmer, who will thus exhibit her great command over the piano, and knowledge of the art she adorns.

"Mrs. Palmer's concert", The Sydney Morning Herald (23 October 1884), 10

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (26 November 1912), 8

PALMER. - November 25, 1912, at Ocean-street, Woollahra, Hannah Hay Palmer, relict of the late W. H. Palmer, of Sydney, aged 73 years.

"PERSONAL", The Sydney Morning Herald (27 November 1912), 18

The death took place on Monday at her residence, Ocean street, Woollahra, of Mrs. Hannah Hay Palmer, at the age of 73 years. Mrs. Palmer was a native of Sydney. Her father was Mr. W. H. Aldis, a merchant of this city in the early days. Old colonists will recollect Mrs. Palmer as a lady of high musical talent. There is a link connecting her with Chopin. She was a pupil of Boulanger, and he, in turn, was a pupil of the great composer. Miss Aldis was a brilliant pianist, and when a girl of 14 she gained distinction by her playing at the opening of the Sydney University. For many years Miss Aldis (afterwards Mrs. Palmer) took part in the leading concerts of Sydney, and was a prominent figure in the musical world. Her husband, the late Mr W. H. Palmer, was for many years connected with the firm of Robert Towns and Co. Her daughter is Miss Gertrude Palmer, who is a well-known solo pianist and accompanist. There are also two other daughters, Mrs. Debenham, of Melbourne, and Mrs. Freeman, wife of Mr. Freeman, solicitor, of this city.

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