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A chronological checklist of Australian colonial musical works 1836-1840

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "A chronological checklist of Australian colonial musical works 1836-1840", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 3 April 2020


This chronological checklist page, covering the years 1836-40, is intended to include all original Australia colonial musical works, significant arrangements, and musical editions specifically aimed at colonial audiences, documented or extant from the five years in question.

It tables musical works by Australian resident composers, in print and manuscript, lost and still existing, as well as new songs written by colonial songwriter/lyricists to existing imported tunes, and targetted colonial editions such as, for instance, popular songsters, musical albums, and hymnbooks. Also tabled are a small number of musical works composed specifically for Australian sale and use, by composers who never visited the colonies.

Not included in this page, however, are colonial manuscript copies or printed editions of the general run of imported musical works by composers or arrangers who never visited Australia, for example, local editions of internationally popular songs like Henry Bishop's Home, sweet home, or instrument music like George Osborne's waltz La plui de perles.

Where a digitised copy or electronic bibliographic record of a piece of music exists, it is live-linked to the title.

Like everything in Australharmony, the page is a work-in-progress, made available now for the use and information of interested others, but always subject to updates, corrections, and improvements.

Please contact me if you have, or know of, other relevant information, and which you are willing to share.

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31 December 1835 (first notice)

1 January 1836 (first published)

Sydney, NSW

STUBBS, Thomas (composer)

The minstrel waltz for 1836

THE MINSTREL WALTZ, for 1836, Dedicated by permission, to Mrs. E. Deas Thomson. Composed by T. Stubbs, Published for the Proprietor at Ellard's Music Warehouse, Hunter-street

([? Sydney: Francis Ellard, 1836])


Later also arranged for the Band of the 4th Regiment, by George Coleman

Later also arranged for flute and pianoforte by William Vincent Wallace


[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (31 December 1835), 1

For the Ladies. On New Year's Day will be Published, THE MINSTREL WALTZ, for 1836, Dedicated by permission, to Mrs. E. Deas Thomson. Composed by T. Stubbs, Published for the Proprietor at Ellard's Music Warehouse, Hunter-street.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (4 January 1836), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (7 January 1836), 1

[News], The Sydney Herald (4 January 1836), 2

We have received a copy of a Musical trifle just issued from the Australian Press, entitled "The Minstrel Waltz," composed by Mr. Thomas Stubbs, of Sydney, which is intended as a New Year's Gift for the Ladies of the Colony. The sheet is very well engraved and printed; and the composition appears creditable to Mr. Stubbs, who, by-the-by, is a Native of the Colony. The Waltz is set in an easy key - C major - and arranged in the most simple manner, so as to bc accessible to juveniles. Some of the passages in Mr. Stubbs' production are extremely pretty - particularly that commencing from the third double bar; the finale is not so good. The Waltz is on sale at Mr. Ellard's.

The above reprinted verbatim: "EXTRACTS FROM OTHER PAPES", The Sydney Monitor (6 January 1836), 3

[And see also The Monitor's own 6 January notice below]

"THE MINSTREL WALTZ", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(5 January 1836), 3

THE MINSTREL WALTZ. Rarely have we been more truly gratified at any literary present, than by this unique New Year's Offering to the Muses. The composer of the piece is Mr. Thomas Stubbs. The artist who engraved and printed it is Mr. Wilson, of Hunter-Street, Sydney. We do not say too much when we set down this little work as a chef d'oeuvre in its way, considered as a Colonial production, and the first thing of the kind yet published here. Did it not possess all the merit of composition and ingenuity that it does, we should still applaud it as opening a way for the fine arts into New South Wales, of which, the composer, Mr. Stubbs, is a Native, and the engraver a Colonist of some years. No lady in the Colony should be without "The Minstrel Waltz."

"MUSIC", The Sydney Monitor (6 January 1836), 2

MUSIC. Mr. Stubbs has presented us with a piece of music composed by himself, called the "Minstrel Waltz," as a New Year's Gift. It is very neatly got up, and reflects credit on the engraver as well as the composer.

"Native Dinner", The Australian (27 January 1837), 2

About one hundred and seventy natives of the Colony dined together, yesterday, at the Royal Hotel, for the purpose of celebrating the Anniversary of the foundation of the colony . . . The following is the order in which the Toasts were given.
1. The King - Royal Anthem.
2. The Queen - Adelaide Waltz.
3. The British Navy - Rule Britannia.
4. The British Army - British Grenadiers.
5. His Excellency the Governor - Garry Owen.
6. The Memory of General Macquarie - To be drank in solemn silence.
7. Our Fair Countrywomen - Currency Lasses.
8. The Fair Visitants of our Native Land - Minstrel Waltz - arranged expressly for the occasion by Mr. COLEMAN, 4th Regiment.
9. The Agricultural and Commercial Interests of the Colony - Speed the Plough, &c.
10. The Sister Colonies - Hail Australasia.
11. The Mother Country - Hearts of Oak.
12. Major England and the Officers of the Garrison - Regimental March.
13. The Civil Officers of the Colony - Money in both pockets.
14. The President - Australian Minstrel March, arranged expressly for the occasion, by Mr. COLEMAN.
15. The Vice President - Captain Piper's Fancy.
16. The Stewards - Fly not yet.
17. Civil and Religious Liberty all over the World. - The King, God bless him.

"UNITED AUSTRALIANS' DINNER", The Australian (30 January 1837), 2

"THE JUBILEE WALTZ", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (6 February 1838), 2

THE JUBILEE WALTZ. - This delightful little waltz has been composed by Mr. Thomas Stubbs, a native of the Colony, also the composer of the Minstrel Waltz, both of which were arranged by Mr. William Wallace, the Australian Paganini. We have heard both of these pieces of music lately played by that talented performer, assisted by his brother on the flute; need we say that we were much delighted, not only with the performance but with the waltzes themselves . . .

Bibliography and resources:

McGuanne 1901, 41

"This WAS Australia", The World's News (19 January 1938), 28

Hall 1951-54

Australian Encyclopaedia 1958, 8, 334

Wentzel 1962, 32

Hall 1989-91, (February 1990), 23

Neidorf 1999

CCMDA 2003, 550

Skinner 2011a


This lost print is the first composed musical work by an Australian native settler-colonist on record to be published.

16 January 1836 (first advertised, first performance)

Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW

SIMMONS, Joseph (? composer, songwriter, arranger. dancer)

A mock Italian bravura

[Sung] by Mr. Simmons

A mock minuet de la cour

[Danced] by Mrs. Jones and Mr. Simmons

NO COPIES IDENTIFIED (? lost MS, perhaps partly improvised)


[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (16 January 1836), 3

Theatre Royal, SYDNEY . . . THIS EVENING, SATURDAY, JAN. 16, 1836, . . . WILL BE PERFORMED FOR THE SECOND TIME THE ADMIRED DRAMA OF THE INKEEPER OF ABBEVILLE . . . To conclude with (for the first time this Season), the much admired and favourite Farce, called HIGH LIFE BELOW STAIRS . . . IN THE COURSE OF THE PIECE "A Mock Italian Bravura" BY MR. SIMMONS. "A Mock Minuet de la Cour" BY MRS. JONES AND MR. SIMMONS.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (14 May 1836), 3

Theatre Royal, SYDNEY . . . On MONDAY EVENING NEXT, May 16, 1836, The Theatre will OPEN for ONE NIGHT ONLY FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. SIPPE, Composer and Director of the Orchestra, On which Occasion will be produced (for the first time in three Seasons) Coleman's celebrated and admired Comedy, in five Acts, called The Heir at Law . . . The whole to conclude with the highly laughable Afterpiece, in two Acts, called HIGH LIFE BELOW STAIRS . . . In which [Mr. SIMMONS] will introduce the celebrated MOCK ITALIAN BRAVURA AND A MOCK MINUET, with Mrs. JONES . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (16 May 1836), 3


Simmons perhaps revived the bravura as the Mock Italian ariain Charles Nagel's Mock Catalani (or Sham Catalani) in 1842.


[James Townley], High life below stairs: a farce of two acts; as it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane (London: Printed for J. Newberry et al., 1759)

- Sixth edition (London: Printed for J. Newberry et al., 1760)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (7 May 1842), 2

1836-02-13 (first published)

Sydney, NSW


Lyrics original, air - Kelvin Grove



"LYRICS ORIGINAL", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (13 February 1836), 4 

Your letter I received, my dearest lassie O!
My heart is much relieved, my bonny lassie O!
Yes I'll e'en take your advice -
Get to Sydney in a trice
And his reverence ask to wed us, dearest lassie O!

. . . [10 stanzas in all]

And see also, possibly by the same author, or partly adapted from the above:

"A NEW SONG", Bell's Life in Sydney (22 May 1847), 4

25 February 1836

Sydney, NSW

ANONYMOUS (author)

LANG, John Dunmore

"Old and young attended the corrobory"



"AUSTRALIAN LATINITY", The Colonist (25 February 1836), 3 

. . . We confess we should have been in error indeed, if we had been caught contradicting Dr. Parr in a question of Latinity; but the fact is we have only been contradicting The Australian or his unknown correspondent. This squeamish gentleman has turned sick, it seems, at the phrase Juventus Australiana, which appears to have been used on some occasion by Dr. Lang. If it is the word "juventus" that is supposed to be wrong, we have Caesar writing as follows: "Omnis juventus, ornnes gravioris statis eo convenerant," or in Anglo-Australian, "Old and young attended the corrobory" . . .

26 February 1836 (first performance)

Saloon, Royal Hotel, Sydney, NSW

PAUL, Tempest Margaret (composer)

WALLACE, William Vincent (composer, arranger, pianist)

Currency lasses

[Song] as composed by our talented towns lady, Mrs. John Paul senior

This is the earliest certain Australian notice of the c. 1830 London printed edition, of the work dating originally from 1825:

Currency lasses, an admired Australian quadrille

Extemporaneous performance on the pianoforte on Currency lasses



[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (23 February 1836), 3

Mr. W. Wallace, LEADER of the Anacreontic Society and Professor of Music, (Royal Academy), begs to announce that his Second Concert Of Vocal and Instrumental Music, will take place IN THE SALOON OF THE Royal Hotel On Friday Evening, 26th FEBRUARY, 1836, On which occasion Mr. Wallace will be assisted by MRS. CHESTER, MRS. TAYLOR, MR. JOSEPHSON, MR. WILSON, AND MR. SIPPE. PROGRAMME-CONCERT.
1. Overture - Gaza ladra. Rossini.
2. Song -Kate Kearney, Irish Melody. Mrs. Taylor
3. Concerto - Pianoforte, Mr. Wallace
4. Song - (by desire) Glory from the Plain. Rossini. Mrs. Chester
5. Grand Fantasia - Flute - Drouet. Mr. Josephson
6. Duet- My Pretty Page. Bishop. Mrs. Chester and Mrs. Taylor
7. Paganini's Grand Concerto (ON ONE STRING) for the Violin, MR. WALLACE.
8. Overture - Semiramide, Rossini.
9. Song - Kathleen O'Moore, Irish Melody. Mrs. Chester
10. Extemporaneous Performance on the Pianoforte on any subject or subjects which may be presented (written). Mr Wallace.
11. Song - Canst thou ask me to forget. A . Lee. Mrs. Taylor
12. Song. - She sat within the Abbey Walls. Barnett. Mrs. Chester
13. Fantasia di Bravura, Violin, dedicated to Paganini, in which will be introduced "'Tis the last Rose of Summer," MR. WALLACE.
By the kind permission of COL. FRENCH, Mr. Wallace will be allowed the valuable aid of the Band of the 28th REGIMENT. Tickets 7s. 6d each, to be had at Mr. Ellard's Music Warehouse, and at the Royal Hotel. Concert to commence at 8 o'Clock.

"NOVEL ENTERTAINMENT", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (25 February 1836), 2

We perceive by the programme of Mr. Wallace's second Concert, that that gentleman possesses, in addition to his other musical attainments, the peculiar facility of composition hitherto exclusively ascribed to the Italian Improvisatores. We doubt not he will be abundantly furnished with "tender themes" for the exercise of this rare talent, therefore beg to suggest to the fair competitors who may feel desirous of hearing their love lorne tales "descoursed in excellent music," the necessity of providing themselves, prior to their attendance at the Concert Room, with manuscript descriptions of their respective "ditties".

"LAST FRIDAY EVENING'S CONCERT", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (1 March 1836), 3

. . . He ended that performance with "Currency Lasses" (as composed by our talented towns lady, Mrs. John Paul senior,) adding to it some extemporaneous variations [ - ] many ladies and gentlemen were to be seen with scraps of music in their hands ready to present them, but being so well satisfied, no doubt did not wish to trouble him . . .

Bibliography and resources:

Skinner 2011

Lamb 2012, 16-17

Skinner, [this site], "Tempest Paul and Currency lasses" 

6-8 March 1836 (date of event/performance)

Albany, King George's Sound, WA


DARWIN, Charles (reporter)

Albany, St. George's Sound, Syms Covington, March 1836 [detail]; State Library of New South Wales, ML PXD 41

Corrobery . . . kangaroo dance . . . emu dance



Darwin's Beagle diary (1831-1836), MS, English Heritage 88202366, Down House, Kent, ed. Roomaaker 2009 (modern edition online)

K. George's Sound. 1836. March 6th - 10th . . . During the two first days after our arrival, there happened to be a large tribe called the White Coccatoo men, who come from a distance paying the town a visit. - Both these men & the K. George's Sound men were asked to hold a "Corrobery" or dancing party near one of the Residents houses. - They were tempted with the offer of some tubs of boiled [711] rice or sugar. As soon as it grew dark they lighted small fires & commenced their toilet, which consisted in painting themselves in spots & lines with a white colour. - As soon as all was ready, large fires were kept blazing, round which the women & children were collected as spectators. - The Cockatoo and King George's men formed two distinct parties & danced generally in answer to each other. The dancing consisted in the whole set running either sideways or in Indian file into an open space & stamping the ground as they marched all together & with great force. - Their heavy footsteps were accompanied each time with a by a kind of grunt, & by beating their clubs & weapons, & various other gesticulations, such as extending their arms or & wriggling their bodies. It was a most rude barbarous scene, & to our ideas without any sort of meaning; but we observed that the women & children watched the whole proceeding with the greatest pleasure. - Perhaps these dances originally represented some scenes such as wars & victories; there was one called the Emu dance in which each man extended one his arm in a bent manner, so as to imitate movement of the neck of one of those birds. In another dance, a one man took off all the motions of a Kangaroo grazing in the woods, whilst a second crawled up & pretended to spear it him. - When both tribes mingled in one dance, the ground trembled with the heaviness of their steps & the air resounded with their wild crys. - Every one appeared in high [712] spirits; & the group of nearly naked figures viewed by the light of the blazing fires, all moving in hideous harmony, formed a perfect representation of a festival amongst the lowest barbarians. - I imagine from what I have read that similar scenes may be seen amongst the same coloured people, who inhabit the Southern extremity of Africa. In T. del Fuego we have beheld many curious scenes in savage life, but I think never one where the natives were in such high spirits & so perfectly at their ease. - After the dancing was over, the whole party formed a great circle on the ground & the boiled rice & sugar was distributed to each in succession to the delight of all.

Darwin 1839, 537-38

Darwin 1840, 537-38

A large tribe of natives, called the White Cockatoo men, happened to pay the town a visit while we were there. These men, as well as those of the tribe belonging to King George's Sound, being tempted by the offer of some tubs of rice and sugar, were persuaded to hold a "corrobery," or great dancing-party. As soon as it grew dark, small fires were lighted, and the men commenced their toilet, which consisted in painting themselves white in spots and lines. As soon as all was ready, large fires were kept blazing, [538] round which the women and children were collected as spectators; the Cockatoo and King George's men formed two distinct parties, and danced generally in answer to each other. The dancing consisted in the whole set running either sideways or in Indian file, into an open space, and stamping the ground with great force as they marched together. Their heavy footsteps were accompanied by a kind of grunt, and, by beating their clubs and weapons, and various other gesticulations, such as extending their arms, and wriggling their bodies. It was a most rude, barbarous scene, and, to our ideas, without any sort of meaning; but we observed that the women and children watched the whole proceeding with the greatest pleasure. Perhaps these dances originally represented some scenes, such as wars and victories; there was one called the Emu dance, in which each man extended his arm in a bent manner, so as to imitate the neck of that bird. In another dance, one man took off the movements of a kangaroo grazing in the woods, whilst a second crawled up, and pretended to spear him. When both tribes mingled in the dance, the ground trembled with the heaviness of their steps, and the air resounded with their wild cries. Every one appeared in high spirits, and the group of nearly naked figures, viewed by the light of the blazing fires, all moving in hideous harmony, formed a perfect representation of a festival amongst the lowest barbarians. In Tierra del Fuego, we have beheld many curious scenes in savage life, but never, I think, one where the natives were in such high spirits, and so perfectly at their ease. After the dancing was over, the whole party formed a great circle on the ground, and the boiled rice and sugar was distributed, to the delight of all.

Bibliography and resources:

"THE WEST AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY", The West Australian (6 October 1892), 2

The following is the final portion of the annual address delivered at the meeting of the West Australian Natural History Society, on Monday evening, by the President of the society, Sir John Forrest: . . . I will, now refer in a few words to the question of the close relationship of animals and plants, and conclude my remarks by relating a legend of the aborigines of Perth and Darwin's description of a corrobboree at Albany in 1836 . . . In his naturalists voyage round the world, Darwin describes his visit to Australia in 1836, and after having visited Sydney and Hobart, came to King George's Sound. While at King George's Sound, he was able to see what we call a corroboree or native dance, and this is how he describes it:

"A large tribe of natives called the white cockatoo men happened to pay the settlement a visit while we were there - these men, as well as those of the tribe belonging to King George's Sound being tempted by the offer of some tubs of rice and sugar, were persuaded to hold a corroboree or great dancing party. As soon as it grew dark small fires were lighted, and the men commenced their toilet, which consisted in painting themselves white in spots and lines. As soon as all was ready, large fires were kept blazing round which the women and children were collected as spectators. The coekatoo and King George men formed two distinct parties, and generally danced in answer to each other. The dancing consisted in their running either sideways or in Indian file into an open space and Biamping the ground with great force as they marched together, their heavy footsteps were accompanied by a kind of grunt, by beating their elubs and spears together, and by various other gesticulations such as extending their arms, wriggling their bodies. It was a mest rude barbarous scene, and to our ideas without any sort of meaning, but we observed that the black women and children watched it with the greatest pleasure. When both tribes mingled in the dance the ground trembled with the heaviness of their steps, and the air resounded with their wild cries. Everyone appeared in high spirits, and the group of nearly naked figures viewed by the light of the blazing fires, all moving in hideous harmony formed a perfect display of a festival amongst the lowest barbarians. In Tierra del Fuego, we have beheld very curious scenes in savage life, but never I think one where the natives were in such high spirits and so perfectly at ease. After the dancing waa over, the whole party formed a circle on the ground, and the boiled rice and sugar was distributed to the delight of all."

17 March 1836 (date of event/performance)



MITCHELL, Thomas Livingstone (reporter)



Corrobory (titlepage Mitchell 1838, 2)


Mitchell 1838, 2, 4-6, and title-page illustration

Mitchell 1839, 2, 4-6

(4 "CORROBORY OF THE NATIVES") . . . March 17. - I put the party in movement towards Buree, and rode across the country, on our right, with Piper. We found the earth parched and bare, but, as we bounded over hill and dale, a fine cool breeze whispered through the open forest, and felt most refreshing after the hot winds of Sydney. Dr. Johnson's Obidah was not more free from care, on the morning of his journey, than I was on this, the first morning of mine. It was also St. Patrick's day, and in riding through the bush, I had leisure to recal past scenes and times, connected with the anniversary. I remembered, that exactly on that morning, twenty-four years before, I marched down the glacis of Elvas, to the tune of "St. Patrick's day in the morning," as the sun rose over the beleaguered towers of Badajoz. Now, without any of the "pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," I was proceeding on a service not very likely to be peaceful, for the natives here assured me, that the Myalls were coming up ("murry coola," i. e. very angry) to meet us. At Buree I rejoined my friend Rankin, who had accompanied me from Bathurst to the camp, and Captain Raine, who occupied this place with his cattle. A hundred sheep and five fat oxen were to be furnished by this gentleman, to complete my commissariat supplies. In the evening the blacks, having assembled in some numbers, entertained us with a "corrobory," their universal and highly original dance. - (See the vignette title-page to this vol.: ) - Like all the rest of the habits and customs of this singular race (5) of wild men, the "corrobory" is peculiar, and, from its uniformity on every shore, a very striking feature in their character. The dance always takes place at night, by the light of blazing boughs, and to time beaten on stretched skins, accompanied by a song.* [* To this end they stretch a skin very tight over the knees, and thus may be said to use the tympanum in its rudest form, this being the only instance of a musical instrument that I have seen among them . . . ] The dancers paint themselves white, and in such remarkably varied ways, that no two individuals are at all alike. Darkness seems essential to the effect of the whole; and the painted figures coming forward in mystic order from the obscurity of the back-ground, while the singers and beaters of time are invisible, have a highly theatrical effect. Each dance seems most tastefully progressive; the movement being at first slow, and introduced by two persons, displaying graceful motions both of arms and legs, others one by one join in, each imperceptibly warming, into the truly savage attitude of the "corrobory" jump; the legs then stride to the utmost, the head is turned over one shoulder, the eyes glare, and are fixed with savage energy all in one direction, the arms also are raised and inclined towards the head, the hands usually grasping waddies, bommerengs, or other warlike weapons. The jump now keeps time with each beat, the dancers at every movement taking six inches to one side, all being in a connected line, led by the first the line, however, is sometimes doubled or tripled, according to space and numbers; and this gives great effect, for when (6) the front line jumps to the left, the second jumps to the right, the third to the left again, and so on; until the action acquires due intensity, when all simultaneously and suddenly stop. The excitement, which this dance produces in the savage, is very remarkable. However listless the individual may be, laying perhaps, as usual, half asleep; set him to this dance, and he is fired with sudden energy, and every nerve is strung to such a degree, that he is no longer to be recognized as the same person, until he ceases to dance, and comes to you again. There can be little doubt that the corrobory is the medium through which the delights of poetry are enjoyed, in a limited degree, even by these primitive savages of New Holland.

Bibliography and resources:

"THREE EXPEDITIONS INTO THE INTERIOR OF EASTERN AUSTRALIA, &c. &c.", The Hobart Town Courier (22 February 1839), 4 

"AN AUSTRALASIAN CORROBORY", The London Saturday Journal 2/42 (October 1839), 261

In the evening the blacks, having assembled in some numbers, entertained us with a "corrobory," their universal and highly original dance . . . [as above]

"REVIEW. Sir Thomas Mitchell's Australian Expeditions [SECOND ARTICLE]", The Sydney Herald (20 March 1841), 4 

Flanagan 1862, 1, 488-89

Orchard 1952, 214-15

25 March 1836 (date of publication)

Flinders Island; Hobart Town, VDL (TAS) (place of publication)

INDIGENOUS (Flinders Island mission)

ROBINSON, George Augustus

Several . . . join in the church music, in which they appear to take much delight . . . instead of the fatiguing and wearisome, savage like "corroborries"



[Editorial], The Hobart Town Courier (25 March 1836), 2 

The reports from Port Philip which will be found in another part of our paper, of a collision of the most distressing nature with the Blacks, will we trust upon close investigation prove to be greatly exaggerated. True or false, however, they serve to place in the strongest and most powerful light, the observations we submitted twelve months ago to the Government, and the public on the subject of the aborigines. We then shewed we think in uncontrovertible terms the culpable neglect of both the colonists, and the Home Government, in not long before doing something more effectual for the protection and amelioration of the original proprietors off the land, of which we are now assuming the possession.

At that time we suggested the propriety of moving the Aboriginal colony at Flinders island, now under the management of Mr. Robinson, to the opposite coast of New Holland, which would then serve not only as a beacon of protection to all the neighbouring tribes, but a pleasing example of what might be done in the field of civilization and as a safe and welcome refuge at all times ready to afford justice, succour and safety, in cases similar to that which is now reported to have taken place.

We are not aware that the situation of the settlement at Flinders island, has any thing particular to recommend it, or that should stand in the way of a change likely to produce so beneficial results. It is not less than thirteen miles from the nearest anchorage, is by no means well supplied with that great necessary of life, fresh water, and is we have understood so much exposed to the north west winds, as, until recently modified by the judicious arrangements of Mr. Robinson, in certain seasons materially to affect the health of the inhabitants.

We have no right to suppose that the Aborigines of New Holland, are less docile in their disposition than those of this colony, indeed, from all accounts, we have reason to believe that they exceed them in that respect. The success which has attended the labours of the persons in charge at Flinders island is truly astonishing. Learning to them is but an amusement. They are ever ready to attend to and comply with the directions of the teacher. In addition to the Sunday's school and attendance at public worship, which has always been observed, an evening week-day school has latterly been established, at which the voluntary attendance of both old and young is most gratifying. Some of the little ones, not more than ten years of age, who had been taught in the Orphan school, at Hobart town, assist as monitors and teachers, and in a short time, it is likely, there will scarcely be a black upon the island that cannot read. A temporary structure has also been put up as a church, and their voluntary attendance is we learn universal. Several have learned to join in the church music, in which they appear to take much delight. The observance of the sabbath, indeed, serves in that as in all other cases, as one of the best of all means, and better than any that man could devise, for the advancement of civilization. At day light on that day the Union Jack is hoisted at the mast head on the little mount that overlooks the village, which is taken as a signal to clean and prepare themselves in their best attire for the day of rest, and when the bell begins to toll to church they may be seen collecting round the church door.

Even in their exercises and amusements, the ameliorating effects of this civilization are conspicuous. Instead of the fatiguing and wearisome, savage like "corroborries" which in a degree affected their health and wasted their constitution - instead of employing their time in the making of spears and other hostile weapons, in angry dissensions, quarrels and mutual slander (for strange to say, though not in Hobart Town and without the stimulus of newspapers, that vice prevailed amongst them,) they now occupy their hours of interchange from more labourious occupation, in hunting, at cricket, trap ball, or marbles, to which last their females are very partial.

Their "work," as it may be called, induced and stimulated by the idea of property, which Mr. Robinson, most judiciously, loses no opportunity to impress upon them, consists of breaking up and cultivating the ground for the gardens, in making paths and roads and in aiding and imitating the other workmen in all their operations, in cleaning and decorating the cottages, in cooking and other domestic duties. Most of the women can sew and mend their clothes and many of them have recently learned to knit, several very good specimens of which we have had the pleasure to see.

"Original Local News", Bent's News and Tasmanian Three-Penny Register (2 April 1836), 3 

"VAN DIEMAN'S LAND", The Colonist (7 April 1836), 6 

"We give below from Courier of Hobart Town . . .", The Australian (8 April 1836), 2 

"VAN DIEMEN'S LAND", The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (9 July 1836), 725-26 

[Editorial], The Hobart Town Courier (23 September 1836), 2 

31 March 1836 (first published)

Sydney, NSW

ANONYMOUS (songwriter, satirist)

The family man (new song)

A New Song; To be Sung at the next Concert . . . Tune. - We'll run the risk for a' that



"Original Poetry", The Colonist (31 March 1836), 7

THE FAMILY MAN, A NEW SONG. To be Sung at the next Concert, BY A MEMBER OF THE ARTILLERY CORPS. TUNE. - We'll run the risk for a' that.

JOHN THOMAS was a Shropshire man,
And eke a worthy nailer;
He had a stout-built portly frame,
And his flame she was a Taylor;
Who, though she tried to fasten John
In Hymen's pleasant noose,
Found to her cost; alas! that he
Was not a Taylor's goose.

She bound him with a silken cord,
And then a cord of cotton;
But silk and cotton; flax and tow,
Snapp'd as if each were rotten!
She took to pouting then and vow'd
She'd sooner die of hunger,
Than e'er be bound with bullock chains,
Or wed an Ironmonger!

"What is't you say? said he, as she
Stood bolt upon the boards;
You're tenfold happier than if kept
By half a dozen lords.
There's not a show-room in the place
Can be compar'd with mine;
There's not a woman on the town
Has such a lot as thine.

"Why, there's the Sydney Theatre,
Its owners wish to let it;
'Twould be the noblest spec of all,
If we could only get it.
We'd take it either by the week,
Or by the month or year;
And there's my good friend B . . . n,
Will back us out, my dear."

Said Parson H--- one day, as they
Were riding in their carriage,
"Why, you'll disgrace us all, friend John
If you don't make this a marriage.
The thing has got about the town
In fearful notoriety;
And, mind, we'll turn you out of each
Religious Society."

John Thomas blush'd and said " 'twas strange
How idle people CAVILL,
But he would tell him all the truth
And the whole case unravel.
He would have married long ago;
(He's of the marrying kidney:)
But when one has a wife at home,
He can't have one in Sydney."


"THE COLONIST", The Sydney Monitor (6 April 1836), 2

In the Colonist newspaper of Thursday last, there appeared a poetical squib on Mr. J. T. Wilson, commencing - "John Thomas was a Shropshire man," which alluded to some portions of Mr. W's conduct, and charged him with living in an immoral state. Mr. Wilson, accompanied by a friend, called at the Colonist Office on Thursday, and saw Mr. Bull, who was lying in his bed, very ill, and after asking him whether he would give up the author of the poetry, which he declined, left the house vowing he would have satisfaction. On Monday Mr Bull was walking down George Street when Mr. Wilson laying hold of his collar, commenced horse-whipping him. Mr. Bull made no resistance, and when Mr. W. had inflicted about a dozen lashes, Mr. Windeyer, the second Police Magistrate, interfered, and gave Wilson into custody for a breach of the peace . . .

"POLICE OFFICE YESTERDAY", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (5 April 1836), 3

"SUPREME COURT. WEDNESDAY JUNE 29. BULL v. WILSON", The Colonist (7 July 1836), 1

Bibliography and resources:

Lang 1837, 1, 346 [reprints song complete]

"A KNOWLEDGE OF OUR ADOPTED COUNTRY", The Cornwall Chronicle (10 May 1848), 4

[John Richard Houlding], "Sketches from Real Life, BY OLD BOOMERANG, POLITICS IN BYGONE DAYS", Sydney Mail (12 November 1870), 11

McGuanne 1901, 41

"MUMMER MEMOIRS", Sydney Sportsman (11 October 1905), 3

"MUMMER MEMOIRS", Sydney Sportsman (25 October 1905), 3

Arthur Jose, "Calendars and Almanacks", The Brisbane Courier (31 December 1932), 16

"The family man", AustLit

John Thomas was a Shropshire man

Musical concordances:

The printed text names the tune as "We'll run the risk for a' that", which is clearly a reference to the Scots tune For a' that, an' a' that, popularised by Robert Burns in his songs "I am a bard of no regard" and "Is there for honest poverty" (also known as "A man's a man for a' that"). The variants of the melody most likely to be known and sung in Sydney in the 1830s were probably traceable back to the tune of Lady MacIntosh's Reel. Another, more elaborate tune to which the Burns songs were also sometimes sung was An gilleadh dudh

The version of the melody given by James C. Dick (ed.), The songs of Robert Burns now first printed with the melodies (London, Henry Frowde, 1903), 228 (above); and Donald A. Low (ed.), The songs of Robert Burns (London: Routledge, 1993), 165

Lady MacIntosh's Reel in Bremner's Scots Reels (c.1857/9), 52's_Reel_(1)

An gilleadh dudh ciar dhudh, in Simon Fraser, The airs and melodies peculiar to the highlands of Scotland and the Isles (Edinburgh: For the editor, [1815/6]), 35 

"HONEST POVERTY", in The musical casket (Edinburgh: T. & W. M'Dowall, and Oliver & Boyd, 1842), 81-82


The subjects of ridicule in this satirical song are John Thomas Wilson and Maria Taylor. Also mentioned are the chaplain, Richard Hill ("Parson H---"), who coincidentally died of apoplexy at the end of the following month; Thomas Burdekin ("my good friend B---n"), and Mrs. Cavill.


"'BETTER AND MORE OF IT", The Colonist (14 April 1846), 3

IF Mr. John Thomas Wilson had been one of those people who know when they have had enough, we should not have treated him to a second notice in this paper, as we feel ourselves compelled to do. But as he has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the portion allotted him in our last, and in such a way too as to aggravate tenfold the iniquity of his previous procedure, we must return to the subject, how ever reluctantly, once more. Mr. Andrew Wyllie was not aware till within the last few days of the extent of the injury that had been done to his unfortunate sister, Mrs. Cavill. It had indeed been hinted to him; it had even been thrown in his teeth repeatedly - but he did not believe it, till he had ascertained the fact incidentally from the editor of this paper - that the object of his sister's visit to Hobart Town was to conceal her own shame and the villainy of her unprincipled seducer. In such circumstances it was no wonder that the unfortunate young man should be tempted to use such threatening language respecting Mr. John Thomas, as to induce the latter to have him bound over to keep the peace. When this operation was in progress, Mr. John Thomas asked Mr. Wyllie whether his sister, Mrs. Cavill, was not a married woman at home; to which Mr. W. replied that, she was; and that he was well acquainted with all the circumstances of the case. Now the impression that Mr. John Thomas was evidently desirous of producing by such a question, upon the minds of the public, was, that Mrs. Cavill was a married woman who had deserted her husband at home, and whose relations were desirous of entrapping him into an adulterous marriage with her here; and that although he was a polluted adulterer, as far as Mrs. C. was concerned, which indeed he did not deny, he had managed (and he deserved some credit for doing so) to back out of the infamous connexion! And the public have received this representation from the smooth-tongued hypocrite! An Mr. John Thomas has succeeded by this means in casting unmerited aspersions on a virtuous family, whose prospects in life he had already blasted, whose peace of mind he had already destroyed, and whose reputation in society he had nearly entirely ruined! Now the simple fact in the case - and that fact, let the reader remember, was as well known to Mr. John Thomas Wilson as to the writer of this article - was that Mrs. Cavill was married to the Riding-master of a Dragoon Regiment in Edinburgh, in the year 1829; that she accompanied her husband to Dublin, with the regiment; and that when sitting with him at breakfast one morning in that city, she was horror-struck at the entrance of a female who claimed him as *her* husband, and who, he could not deny, was *his* wife. In such circumstances what could a poor unfortunate female, far from her home, far from her friends, do? She might indeed have instituted an action against the villain for bigamy, and sent for witnesses to Edinburgh; but that, which perhaps was impracticable in the circumstances in which she stood, would have been but a poor consolation under the deep and irreparable injury she had sustained. She therefore adopted the only course that remained for her, and that was to return to her friends in Edinburgh. From thenceforth, however, her marriage was null and void; but its dissolution left no imputation whatever on her character as a virtuous woman. Now for Mr. John Thomas Wilson, knowing all this, as he did perfectly, to insult Mr. Andrew Wyllie in the Police Office, by asking him whether his sister was a married woman at home, that the public of this colony might be left to form their own conclusion from his unexplained answer in the affirmative - we really never gave Mr. John Thomas credit before for such heartlessness and coldblooded iniquity as such a question evidently implied. And yet this is the man whom Mr. Thomas Burdekin supports with his capital, and enables to insult the good feelings of this community with his pestilential example! If a man is to be known by the *company* he keeps, we all know what to think now of Mr. John Thomas Wilson *and Co*.

May 1836

Sydney, NSW

ANONYMOUS (author) = ? John LANG

TEGG, James (publisher)

. . . the noise of their native war-songs



Tegg's monthly magazine 1/3 (May 1836) 

"CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (14 May 1836), 4 

It gives us much pleasure to have to acknowledge the receipt, within the past week, of No. 3 of "Tegg's Monthly Magazine." This Number contains some well written original prose articles . . . The following tale is graphic, and we extract it accordingly:-

A SCENE IN THE WILDS . . . The green plane which lay at our feet, had been fixed on as the fighting ground of the sable belligerents. How unfitted, I could not help thinking, as I earnestly surveyed the scene, how unfitted is such a lovely spot, to resound with the screams of agony - the shouts of defiance - the yells of revenge. There the rival tribes were gathered in groups, "in consultation deep," scattered here and there over the dell; the shouts of contempt, and the noise of their native war-songs reached our ears, even at the distance from the warlike groups, at which we still were, and we could hear the sounds of their voices rebounding from rock to rock . . .

"TEGG'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE", The Colonist (19 May 1836), 6 

. . . the noise of their native war-song reached . . .


This was one of four stories from the short-lived Sydney periodical Tegg's monthly magazine (March-July 1836) that Victor Crittenden attributed to the young John Lang. In the Mitchell Library copy, these stories are attributed to journalist William Kerr, though it is usually accepted that Kerr did not first arrive in Sydney until 1837.

13 May 1836 (date of event/performance)

Murrumbidgee River, NSW


MITCHELL, Thomas Livingstone (reporter)




Mitchell 1838, 2, 77

(77) [12 May] These natives proposed to amuse us with a corrobory dance, to which I did not object, but they postponed it until the following evening. May 13. - . . .

Mitchell 1839, 2, 77

(76) [12 May] . . . The warriors of the Murrumbidgee were about to "plunge into the angry flood," . . . The weather was cold, but the stranger who first swam across, bore in one hand a piece of burning wood, and a green branch. He was no sooner landed than he converted his embers into a fire to dry himself. Immediately after him followed a grey-haired chief (of whom I had heard on the Lachlan), and two others. It appeared, however, that Piper (77) did not at first understand their language, saying it was "Irish;" but it happened that there was with this tribe a native of Cudjallagong (Regent's lake), and it was rather curious to see him act as interpreter between Piper and the others. We learnt that the Murrumbidgee joined a much larger river, named the " Milliwa," a good way lower down, and that these united streams met, at a still greater distance, the "Oblawaiubiloa," a river from the north, which received a smaller one, bringing with it all the waters of "Wamboul," (the Macquarie.) These natives proposed to amuse us with a corrobory dance, to which I did not object, but they postponed it until the following evening. May 13. - . . .

23 May 1836 (first notice)

1 June 1836 (date of performance)

Saloon, Royal Hotel, Sydney, NSW

WALLACE, William Vincent (composer, arranger, pianist)

Extemporaneous performance on the piano-forte

REPORT ONLY; improvised; ? music probably never written down


[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (23 May 1836), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor (1 June 1836), 3

UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF His Excellency the Governor, Who has signified his intention of being present. MR. W. WALLACE, Leader of the Anacreontic Society, and Professor of Composition, Royal Academy, BEGS to announce that his CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music, will take place in the Saloon of the Royal Hotel, on WEDNESDAY EVENING, the 1st June, 1836, on which occasion he will be assisted by Mrs. Chester, Miss E. Wallace, Mr. Josephson, Mr. Cavendish, an Amateur, and Mr. S. W. Wallace.
1. Overture - Guy Mannering, Bishop. [1 June: 1. Overture - Letocq, Auber
2. Glee.
3. Grand Rondo Brillante, (Piano-forte), Herz. Mr. W. Wallace.
4. Song - Tell me my Heart, Bishop. Mrs. Chester.
5. Concerto - (Flute) Nicholson. Mr. S. W. Wallace.
6. Song - Una Voce poco Fa, Rossini. Miss E. Wallace.
7. De Beriot's Sixth Air (Violin) in which will be introduced the Double Stop Movement from Paginini's Grand Concerto in E. Mr. W. Wallace.
8 Glee. [1 June: 8. Overture - La Gazza ladra, Rossini]
9. Song - Love's Young Dream, Irish Melody. Mrs. Chester.
10. Swiss Air - The Spring time is coming. Miss E. Wallace.
11. Fantasia (Flute), Toulon. Mr. Josephson.
12. Song - Let us seek the yellow shore, Bishop. Mr. Chester.
13. Extemporaneous performance on the Piano-forte, on any subject or subjects which may be presented (written). Mr. W. Wallace.
14. Song - The Minstrel Boy, Irish Melody. Miss E. Wallace.
15. (By particular desire) Fantasia di Bravura, dedicated to Paganini, in which will be introduced 'Tis the last rose of Summer. Mr. W. Wallace.
By the kind permission of Major England, Mr. Wallace will be allowed the aid of the Band of the 4th Regiment. Tickets, 7s. 6d. each, to be had at Mr. Ellard's Music Warehouse. Concert to commence at Eight o'clock.

"MR. WALLACE'S CONCERT", The Australian (3 June 1836), 2

. . . For the extemporaneous performance by Mr. Wallace no subject was handed him; his own selection having been wisely conceded to his superior taste.

1 June 1836

Perth, WA

Anniversary "corroborra"




The entertainments on this occasion were not of so striking a character as those of last year, owing to the absence of previous arrangement; taking this disadvantage into consideration, which may be a matter of regret, the day passed off very pleasantly. The usual rustic sports - foot-racing, jumping in sacks, gingling matches, &c., for small prizes, with a horse-race - comprised the amusements of the day. Several booths were erected on the ground, - a cleard [sic] space at the back of the town, - affording refreshment for the visitors. His Excellency Sir James and Lady Stirling, with a party of friends, and all the respectable inhabitants in the neighbourhood, attended. We had wished, and, indeed, expected that the amusements would have been more extended, growing with our growth; but we have found ourselves disappointed. That they have obtained a national character, may be inferred from the great encouragement given to the natives, who had assembled from the various remote districts, conscious that on this day the white men were to hold a "corroborra," or rejoicing. The occasion of this rejoicing, they were acquainted with, and entered into the sport of spearing loaves of bread, and racing, with as much glee as any persons on the ground. The most successful in this exercise proved to be those who are known to us as prominent characters - Munday, Migo, &c. Two or three good marksmen firing at a target might have been introduced with good moral effect, as the natives would have witnessed and felt their great inferiority.

13 June 1836 (first notice)

Sydney, NSW

ANONYMOUS (editor) (English) ? = Richard HILL

A selection of psalms and hymns

A selection of psalms and hymns for the principal festivals of the Church of England, and for family and private use

([Sydney: Tegg, 1836])



[News], The Sydney Herald (13 June 1836), 2

We have received from Mr. Tegg, the bookseller, a reprint of "a Selection of Psalms and Hymns, for the principal Festivals of the Church of England, and for family and private use." The work was originally printed in England, and ordered to be reprinted by the late Rev. R. Hill, for the use of the Churches in this Colony.

[News], The Australian (17 June 1836), 3

We beg to acknowledge the receipt of "A Selection of Psalms and Hymns," printed by Mr. Bull, and published by Mr. Tegg, at the suggestion, we understand, of the late Reverend Richard Hill. It is creditably printed, and will form a very acceptable companion to the well-disposed in their serious moments. We have selected, out of the number, a beautiful composition as a specimen. We have supplied the third and fourth verses, which, for some reason, were omitted. They were written by Lord Glenelg, the Secretary for the Colonies : -

When gath'ring clouds around I view,
And days are dark and friends are few;
On Him I lean, who not in vain
Experienced every human pain;
He sees wants, allays my fears,
And counts and treasures up my tears . . .


Lord Glenelg = Charles Grant (1778-1866),_Charles_Grant 

25 June 1836 (first published)

Hobart Town, VDL (TAS)


Two new songs on Colonel Arthur's recall



"New Songs", Bent's News and Tasmanian Three-Penny Register (25 June 1836), 4 

JUST Published, at BENT'S NEWS" Office, price 3d each, or 2s. 6d. per dozen, two Songs, entitled "ARTHUR'S DAYS ARE GONE" and "THE FALL OF ARTHUR'S DYNASTY," written expressly on the occasion of Colonel Arthur's Recal, and intended as a record of the Public Feeling on that event.- For the convenience of those Persons who may not know the air for which he has adapted it, the Author requests the Publisher to observe, that the Masonic Air of "Burns' Farewell," or the old-Scotch Tune, "Green Grow the Rashes, O," will suit the measure of "The Fall of Arthur's Dynasty," equally well with "Over the Hills, and far away." Persons, wishing to have the Music arranged for either of the songs, with Symphonies ami Accompaniments for the Piano-forte, or harmonized for three or four voices, are requested to apply at Bent's News Office, where their orders will be expeditiously executed.

"The Fall of Arthur's Dynasty", Bent's News and Tasmanian Three-Penny Register (25 June 1836), 4

AIR - "Over the Hills, and far away."

Well, since my friends you all agree,
That-you will have a song from me,
I'll do uiy best, and my theme shall be,
The fall of Arthur's Dynasty !
For soon the deep toned cannon's voice,
From Mulgrave Battery, shall say
Rejoice! Van Dicmen's Land, rejoice!
Your Governor is called away!
Over the seas, and faraway.
Over the seas, and far away.
Your Governor is called away,
Over the seas, and far away.

. . . [5 more stanzas] . . .

"Arthur's Days are Gone", Bent's News and Tasmanian Three-Penny Register (25 June 1836), 4 

TUNE - "Fairly shot of her."

Proudly swells the bounding billow,
Lovely bows the bending willow;
Maidens sing your twankadilio,
Arthur's days are gone!
Now every cock may loudly crow,
And every day may cheerly daw,
Huzza! Huzza 1 Huzza! Huzza!
Arthur's days are gone!

. . . [6 more stanzas] . . .

8 July 1836 (first notice)

13 July 1836 (first performance)

Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW

WALLACE, William Vincent (? composer, arranger, improvisor)

Rondo brillante, for violin, in which will be introduced the Coolun

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS)

Concerto, for violin, in which will be introduced Savourneen deelish

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS)


FIRST: [Advertisement], The Australian (8 July 1836), 3

UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR, Who has signified his intention of bring present, MR. W. AALLACE, Leader of the Anacreontic Society, and Professor of Composition, Royal Academy, BEGS to announce that his CONCERT of VOCAL & INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC will take place on WEDNESDAY EVENING, the 13th of July, 1836, in the THEATRE ROYAL, on which occasion he will be assisted by Mrs. Chester, Miss E. Wallace, Mr. Josephson, and Mr. S, Wallace.
1. OVERTURE - Red mask - Marliani.
2. GLEE - Hark, Apollo strikes the Lyre.
3. SONG - Di Piacer - Rossini - Miss E. Wallace.
4. FANTASIA, Flute, introducing 'Tis the last Rose of Summer - Nicholson - Mr. Josephson.
5. SONG - Triflor forbear - Bishop - Mrs. Chester.
6. QUARTETTE - Violin, Pianoforte, Flute, and Violoncello - Mayseder - Mr.. W. Wallace. Mr. Josephson, Mr. S. Wallace, and Mr. [blank]
7. SONG - Spring time it coming, (by desire) - Miss E. Wallace.
8. RONDO BRILLANTE, Violin, in which will be introduced the "Coolun," Irish Melody - Mr. W. Wallace.
10. CHORUS, with Violin obligato accompaniment - Carl Maria Von Weber
11. SONG - Auld Robin Grey - Mrs. Chester.
12. CONCERTO, Flute - Mr. S. Wallace.
13. SONG - Ceasa thus to palpitate - Rossini - Miss E. Wallace.
14. GRAND DUO CONCERTANT, for two Pianofortes - Herz (as played by Henri Herz and Mr. W. Wallace) - Mr. W. Wallace and Mr. Josephson.
15. SONG - The Minstrel Boy - Mrs. Chester.
16. CONCERTO, Violin, in which will be introduced, by particular desire, Savourneen Deelish, Irish Melody - Mr. W. Wallace.
Dress Circle. 7s 6d; Upper Boxes 5 0; Pit 4 0; Gallery 3 0. To ensure comfort and respectability, care will be taken to prevent the admission of improper persons, and constables will be stationed throughout the upper part of the house. Tickets to be had at Mr. Ellard's Music Ware-house, Hunter-street; and of Mr. Sparke at the Royal Hotel. N. B. - By the kind permission of Major England Mr. Wallace will be allowed the assistance of the Band of the 4th Regiment.

FINAL: [Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor (13 July 1836), 3

"MR. WALLACE'S CONCERT", The Australian (15 July 1836), 2

MR. WALLACE'S CONCERT Took place on Wednesday night, and not withstanding the muddy state of the streets and roads from the late rains, a very numerous assemblage of rank and fashion appeared in every part of the Theatre; His Excellency and Suite, with all the Members of his Family honored Mr. W. with their presence . . . and then the Rondo, by Mr. W. Wallace. During this, he introduced Coolun, with such exquisite taste and feeling, that his violin seemed a creature of life. His double stop shake is wonderful, and, which is seldom the case in passages of difficult execution, it was most beautiful. The second part opened with the Overture to Zauberflote, by the Military Band . . . and the Concert concluded with a Violin Concerto, by Mr. Wallace, which it is sufficient to say was in his usual style, and rapturously encored.

"MR. WALLACE'S CONCERT", The Sydney Monitor (16 July 1836), 2

. . . Mr. Wallace's Rondo, introducing the Coolun, elicited great applause, and was loudly encored . . . The greatest treat during the evening was Mr. Wallace's performance of Savourneen Deelish, which held the feelings of all present in a temporary extacy [sic]. The soft notes of the instrument, now swelling, now dying away, until the ear could scarcely distinguish the sounds followed by the bell-like tones of the full drawn bow, induced a delicious melancholy, and was applauded sotto voce.

"DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Herald (18 July 1836), 2

We intended to have given a full report of Mr. Wallace's Concert, on Wednesday, but it having gone the rounds of our contemporaries, renders it unnecessary. We however, are compelled to say this much, Mr. Wallace never played better upon the violin, his performances were enchanting; and Miss Wallace displayed herself as a very promising singer.

Music concordances (themes):


6 August 1836 (first published)

Sydney, NSW

"O" = ANONYMOUS (songwriter, satirist)

A new song to an old tune (The rampant lang Doctor has bolted awa')



"A NEW SONG TO AN OLD TUNE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (6 August 1836), 3


THE rampant lang Doctor has bolted awa',
And in Downing-street you'll find him;
But the muckle black Deil has nae mercy at a'
On the guid folk left behind him!
And the Colonist, caught like a bull by the horns,
Has nought to do but bewail him;
And the Editor lies on a bed of thorns,
Lest John Thomas again assail him.

The Papist may now his religion pursue--
The Churchman indulge his devotion,
And mony braw thanks to Auld Hornie be due,
If Discord be drown'd in the Ocean:
For he said, "No religion on earth shall be,
"If it is not at my dictation,--
"No Priest--no Parson--no Bishop--no See--
"Except of my creation!

"No single act of domestic life
"But is subject to my revision--
"Let no man dare to caress his own wife,
"Except with my special permission;
"A' muck and tilt at all I run
"With matchless skill and bravery,
"And peace and protection shall be for none
"Who bow down not to me in slavery!

"With Hypocrite, 'Publicans, Pharisees,'
"And many such terms I'm taunted;
"BUT I NEVER LOOK INWARD, such phrases as these
"Leave my proud soul undaunted.
"And since the fools who surround me still
"Defy my self-aristocracy--
"Thought, Morals, Religion, shall bow to my will,
"Of all I will have a new stock, you see."

So off he's gone, and the world will see
How such swaggering comes to naught--
How the vaunt of the egotist, such as he,
Is forgotten like dreamer's thought;
For the vanity, bigotry, fury displayed
Thro' his whole career by this man of God,
For his final denouement a pickle has made
And the Doc or, poor D-----, must kiss the rod.


Bibliography and resources:


The Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang had recently sailed from Sydney ("THE rampant lang Doctor has bolted awa' ") on a return visit to Britain.

23 August 1836 (first notice)

27 August 1836 (first performance)

Theatre Royal, Hobart Town, VDL (TAS)

PECK, George (composer, arranger, improvisor)

Reminiscences of Paganini

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS; or perhaps never written down)


"Domestic Intelligence", Colonial Times (23 August 1836), 7

Mr. M'Leod's benefit last evening was a regular bumper house, and very many persons were unable to enter the doors. The pieces went off remarkably well, and the soldier amateur, as Othello, gave great and deserved satisfaction. On Wednesday next the subscribers to the Hobart Town Assembly patronise the theatre, and of course there will be a crammed house. On Saturday, Mr. Peck's benefit takes place, and it is very certain he will receive that patronage and support which he so deservedly merits. Among other entertainments we notice that Mr. Peck intends performing the "reminiscences of Paganini," a performance which has already astonished as well as amused the audiences at several concerts in this town.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (23 August 1836), 1

Theatre Royal, Hobart Town. MR. G. H. PECK, Leader of the Orchestra, most respectfully informs his friends and the public in general, that his BENEFIT is fixed on Saturday evening, August 27, 1836 . . .

? July-September 1836

? Mid to late 1836 (estimated date of publication)

Sydney, NSW

WALLACE, William Vincent (arranger)

Walze favorite, du Duc de Reichstadt

[Waltz by Johann Strauss, the elder]


Walze favorite, du Duc de Reichstadt, arranged with variations for the piano forte, and dedicated to L. Maclean, Esq., by Will[ia]m Wallace, late leader of the Anacreontic Society, Dublin

(Sydney: Printed from Zinc by W. H. Fernyhough, [?1836])


Also photocopy (ABC, 1980s) of the above: (NLA) (DIGITISED)

Also copy at Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney, see on this site: 

Later edition (closely copied from, but appearently not reprinted from same plates as, Fernyhough above):

Walze favorite, du Duc de Reichstadt, arranged with variations for the piano forte, and dedicated to L. Maclean, Esq., by Will[ia]m Wallace, late leader of the Anacreontic Society, Dublin

(Sydney: Engraved, printed, & published by W. Baker, [? 1837-41])




Bibliography and resources:

Neidorf 1999

Skinner 2011a

Lamb 2012

Music concordances (original waltz, and other arrangements):

"THE DUKE OR REICHSTADT'S WALTZ. Strauss", The amateur's musical library: a collection of piano-forte music, and songs . . . selected from the most distinguished European authors (Philadelphia: Godey and McMichael, 1842), 73

The Duke of Reichstadt's waltz . . . arranged for piano forte by Henri Herz (Sydney: Grocott, [c.1840]; Hudson & Co., [early c.1840s])


Son of the deposed emperor, Napoleon Francis Charles Joseph died of consumption at the palace of Schöbrunn, Vienna, on 22 July 1832, aged 21.

The original is from Der verfassers beste Laune, by Johann Strauss, the elder (1804-1849). The title-page of Fernyhough's print lists the three other works above available at Wallace's "Academy", which he first announced in March 1836; as nothing further is heard of Wallace's venture after that year, the print can perhaps be tentatively dated to late 1836. William Henry Fernyhough (1809-1849), a recent arrival in Sydney, had commenced business and produced his first prints for sale by 22 September 1836.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (31 March 1836), 3

UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR AND MRS. E. DEAS THOMSON. Mr. & Mrs. WM. WALLACE HAVE THE HONOR TO ANNOUNCE, THAT ON MONDAY, the 4th April, THEY will commence under the above distinguished Patronage, their Academy for the Instruction of Young Ladies, in Vocal and Instrumental Music, according to the System of Logier, and Herz, in which they will he assisted by Miss E. Wallace, and Miss [Mr.] S. Wallace. The Course of Study will comprise the Pianoforte, Guitar, singing, and the Theory of Music. In addition to the usual Instruction, Pupils attend this ESTABLISHMENT, will, when sufficiently advanced, have the benefit of being accompanied by Mr. Wallace on the Violin, and Mr. S. Wallace on the Flute. The Terms will be: - First Class, 6 6 0 per Quarter; Second Class, 4 10 0 Ditto; Third Class, or Beginners, 3 3 O Ditto. A deduction will be made in the First and Second, Classes where two or more Ladies of the same Family attend. In addition to the separate Lessons which each Pupil will receive, Mr. Wallace will devote an hour on Saturday's to each Class, instructing them in the Principles of Music. Days of Attendance: First and Third Classes, on Mondays and Thursdays. Second Class, on Tuesdays and Fridays. The Academy will be open on those Days from Ten until Three o'clock. Gentlemen desirous of receiving Lessons at Mr. Wallace's Residence on the Violin, Pianoforte, Flute, or Guitar, will be attended thereon Saturday from Four o'Clock until Seven P M. Mr. Wallace's Terms for attending at the Residence of a Pupil, 7s. 6d. per Lesson for the Pianoforte, and 10s 6d. for the Violin. An examination of the Pupils will take place every Four Months, to which their Parents and Friends will be invited to attend. Bridge street, Sydney.

[News], The Colonist (22 September 1836), 3

A gentleman, named Fernyhough, who has not been long in this colony, has commenced business in Bridge Street, as an artist-one of the first productions of his genius has just made its appearance, in the shape of twelve lithographic drawings of the Aborigines of New South Wales, the likenesses of the various profiles are truly admirable, but the other parts of the figures are extremely stiff and ill-done, indeed quite unnatural in appearance. The printing part is exceedingly well performed, and we hail this advancement in the practice of the arts in Australia with unfeigned pleasure, at the same time, that we call on a generous public to support Mr. Fernyhough and remunerate him for the exercise of his talents, which are considerable, and extraordinary, for the whole of these likenesses have been taken from memory - we would suggest the propriety of his not making too high a demand for his publications, which in this instance we are of opinion is the case.

? July-September 1936

? Mid to late 1836 (estimated latest date of first local advertisement)

Sydney, NSW

WALLACE, William Vincent (composer)

Come to me (song)


Bohemian air with brilliant variations (piano)


Rondo brilliante in E flat (piano)



"MUSICAL NOTICES", The Dublin Weekly Journal [Ireland] (24 November 1832), 32 

Come to me, a Serenade, by W. Wallace: Ellard and Son, Sackville-street.

This production is creditable to the composer, and one that we would, at any time, rather take up, than half the London trash that has greeted our ears of late. In the music phrase, Mr. Wallace has spared no pains in working his subject; the accompaniments are appropriate, and judiciously chosen: the only thing to be feared, is, that the modulation from G major into E flat major may not prove something too abrupt for the ears of the half initiated.

[Advertisement], Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent [Ireland] (4 November 1834), 2

HARP AND PIANO-FORTE WAREHOUSE, 10, DAME-STREET, ALDAY AND CO. . . . JUST PUBLISHED, DE BERIOT'S celebrated Air, arranged for the Piano-Forte, by William Wallace.
Celebrated Bohemian Melody, sung by the Bohemian Brothers, Ditto.
Introduction and Variations to Bohemian Melody, sung the Messrs. Hermans, Ditto.

Advertisement, at the foot of titlepage of W. H. Fernyhough's Sydney edition of Wallace's Walze favorite [c. mid to late 1836, see immediatey above]

The following compositions may be had at his Academy,

Bohemian Air with Brilliant Variations
Come to me (Song)
Rondo Brilliante in E flat

Bibliography and resources:

Skinner 2011a

Lamb 2012

Music concordances (possible):

Brilliant variations on a favorite Bohemian welody . . . by William Vincent Wallace (London: Cramer, Beale & Co., 1851)

Copy at British Library, Music Collections h.771.(9) [004727345] (NOT DIGITISED)

Bohemian melody with brilliant variations . . . by Wm. V. Wallace (New York: Wm. Hall and Son, 1851)


Wallace first advertised his academy on 31 March 1836.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(31 March 1836), 3

3 September 1836

Perth, WA

Hoky, poky, wonky, fum . . . the ABC with their native chant



[News], The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (3 September 1836), 756 

The native children, of late, have received instruction from various sources, and, in some cases, not from the most enlightened of our community, although they have proved competent teachers in the particular branch of education to which they have applied their attention. To our great astonishment, our ears were assailed the other day, with portions of that monstrous song,

"Hoky, Poky, Wonky, Fum," &c.,

from the mouth of a little black urchin, who, on our inquiry where she learnt it, with the readiness of a London tactitioner, evaded the question with a Quaker's answer - "What's o'clock?" Now we must protest against this system of education, which is founded on a vocabulary of the real vernacular of St. Giles' and the lowest stews of London. It is really disgraceful to the parties who have taught the natives the oaths and obscene expressions it is now customary to hear them repeat; and we can but pronounce the mind, which derives amusement from hearing these poor creatures make use of such language, as sorely debased, and sunk into a meanness and imbecility of spirit unbecoming the character of the superiority we assume over the savage. Having given this picture of depravity, we must in justice notice, that there appear to be other teachers abroad of a different character; for we have heard children repeating the ABC with their native chant.

Music concordances:

On the source song and tune, The king of the cannibal islands, see:

Anthony Bennet, "Rivals unravelled: a broadside song and dance", Folk music journal 6/4 (1993), 420-45 (PAYWALL)

23 September 1836 (date of publication)

Flinders Island; Hobart Town, VDL (TAS) (place of publication)

INDIGENOUS (Flinders Island mission)

ROBINSON, George Augustus

Corrobbries susperseded at Flinders Island



[Editorial], The Hobart Town Courier (23 September 1836), 2 

. . . we are happy to learn that the Aboriginal Committee of the House of Commons, as well as the Secretary of State, are desirous that Mr. Robinson the Commandant at Flinder's Island, should proceed to New Holland as mediator and protector of the various tribes of natives in the newly settled territories . . .

By recent accounts, we learn, that the establishment under his management is in a most thriving and satisfactory condition . . .

The greatest cordiality and mutual good feeling prevails throughout the whole establishment - a fact which our readers in Hobart town will, we fear, scarcely be able to credit, as Mr. Robinson has been the means of establishing a weekly newspaper among them. It is entirely written by the Aborigines, and is published under the name of "The Aboriginal Flinders Island Chronicle," on half a sheet of foolscap every Saturday, price 2d each, and the profits arising from the work are equally divided among the editors . . .

This active state of life has been attended with another very desirable effect in superseding the evening corrobories which used to injure their health very materially, as well as to encroach on their regular and moral habits. Their hideous yells on these occasions, their excessive exertion in dancing, and distortion of limbs and features, and their practice of taking large draughts of cold water while thus overheated, are all replaced by exercises of a far more rational and satisfactory description. The evening school is regularly kept up, several can read the the Lord's prayer, with good emphasis, and some can repeat it by heart.

Their religious exercises consist in regularly attending divine service, in joining in the responses and singing. One of the Aborigines officiates as clerk and teacher, for which he receives 1s per week from the fund, he has also a younger assistant who is paid 6d. All join in the Lord's prayer. The entire black population now amounts to 120 souls, a number which appears not only likely to be kept up, but gradually under the improved management, to increase . . .

Since writing the above, we have had the pleasure to see Mr. Robinson, who arrived in town yesterday. He confirms all that we have stated as to the success, and statistical particulars of the settlement.

"Slopiana", Colonial Times (27 September 1836), 5 

The following extracts from the Courier will amuse our readers. Of all the parcel of infamous, false representations, ever put forth, none can equal them. Of course the Courier will be made use of in Downing-street, and perhaps the Penny Magazine will be bribed to copy a portion thereof. Deception of this description is wicked! . . .

"THE ABORIGINES", The Australian (11 October 1836), 2 

OUR Readers are doubtless aware that the poor remains of the Natives of Van Diemen's Land - those whom the sword and spear of the early Settler had involuntarilv spared - have been collected and carried over to Flinders' Island, where attempts have been perseveringly and humanely, if not very effectually, made to civilize and preserve them . . . We give below a portion of the article in the Courier, which appears to be of the nature of a puff. The whole indeed is of a suspicious character, as a very little reflection will show . . .

"FLINDERS ISLAND ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE ABORIGINES (From the Hobart Town Courier)", The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (19 August 1837), 958 

4 October 1836 (date of event/performance)

Bong Bong, NSW

INDIGENOUS (singers, songmen)

BACKHOUSE, James (reporter)

A new song



Backhouse 1838, part 4, 14

We set forth for Bong Bong. There are now three tribes of blacks on the Kangaroo-ground; one of which belongs to the neighbourhood, the others are from Shoal Haven and Bong Bong. I counted forty men in one of these tribes. They are going to Cow-pastures, to learn a new song, that has been invented by some of their country people there. For an object of this kind they often travel great distances.

17 October 1836 (date of publication)

Fraser Island, Moreton Bay district, NSW (QLD)

Sydney, NSW (place of report)


. . . an immense number of blacks who were celebrating a grand "corrobora," or dance, round their prisoners



"SHIP NEWS. THE STIRLING CASTLE", The Sydney Herald (17 October 1836), 2 

The Revenue cutter Prince George, Captain Roach, returned on Saturday last, from a coasting trip to the northward, in search of the unfortunate crew of the Stirling Castle, bringing up Mrs. Fraser (wife of the captain), John Baxter, second mate, Joseph Corallis, steward, Robert Drag, Henry Goulden, Robert Drayman and Robert Carey, seamen belonging to that vessel . . .

The party which has come up in the Revenue cutter was at Moreton Bay, and had been rescued from their miserable state by the perseverance of Lieutenant Otter, and his surveying party who went out in the bush and fell in with Mrs. Fraser and the six men, and who had been treated in the most brutal manner by the natives for some months. Captain Fraser was speared to death be cause he was incapable of carrying wood for the savages, when in a very sickly condition, and the chief mate was burnt to death. Mrs. Fraser and her companions in misery, although allowed to exist, were subject to equal tortures. The natives fed them upon the entrails of snakes, fish-bones, and such like, and when discovered by Lieutenant Otter and his party, were in the midst of an immense number of blacks who were celebrating a grand "corrobora," or dance, round their prisoners . . .

"THE STIRLING CASTLE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (18 October 1836), 3 

"THE STIRLING CASTLE", The Tasmanian (2 December 1826), 7 


"Fraser, Eliza", NLA persistent identifier 

22 October 1836 (first report)

Residence of Charles and Maria Logan, Macquarie Street, Hobart Town, VDL (TAS)


LOGAN, Maria (transcriber, arranger)

Song of the Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land ( Popela / Popeller )

For main entry see:

Checklist of musical transcriptions of Indigenous songs 9

12 November 1836 (date of publication)

Perth, WA

INDIGENOUS (south-west WA)

ARMSTONG, Francis Fraser (reporter)

. . . well known dances and chants &c of the corrobaree




They are known to be extremely sociable, and very fond of gossiping; and their social amusement, besides mock-spear fights and throwing the kile-ee, is conversation round their fires at night. In the summer time, the tribe for sixty miles round assemble, settle old grievances and raise new ones. At these meetings they entertain each other with well known dances and chants &c of the corrobaree; which chants are partly narratives of battles, hunting matches, and excursions to strange and distant tribes; and partly unmeaning jargon, consisting of syllables strung together at random, but in the composition of which there appears to be some rivalry, each tribe exchanging the effusions of its balladmongers for those of its neighbours; while at these fire-side "conversationes," as at others of greater pretentions, it is a matter of exultation to be able to favour the company with the very latest production of the Lyric Genius of the Country; and of this kind are the compositions which have been exhibited by some of the settlers as specimens of Native Poetry, which, when read, sound rhythmical, (at least they appeared to the public divided into lines, with a certain harmonious equality of syllables,) and have some show of rhyme; but the Interpreter is positive that they have no idea of rhymed verse as a medium of rational communication.

17 December 1836 (first notice)

26 December 1836 (first performance)

Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW

SIPPE, George (composer, arranger)

Oberon; or, The charmed horn

Grand Romantic Fairy Tale . . . The Music composed and arranged by Mr. Sippe [? after Weber]

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS, MS parts)


[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(17 December 1836), 3

Theatre Royal, Sydney . . . OBERON will be produced very shortly, with New Dresses and Decorations, of the most superb description, by Mr. Simes; the New and Splendid Scenery, by Mr. Shribbs; and the New and Appropriate Music composed and arranged by Mr. Sippe.

"THE THEATRE", The Australian (27 December 1836), 2

. . . Oberon was brought out last night. In our next we shall probably review it.

[Advertisement], The Australian (27 December 1836), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(29 December 1836), 3

"DRAMA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(29 December 1836), 2

On Monday night was produced for the first time, the Grand Romantic Fairy Tale, as it is called, of "Oberon" or the "Charmed Horn;" a more heterogeneous mass of absurdities, as it was performed on that occasion, never before graced the Sydney boards . . . From the announcement we were led to expect something extraordinary, especially in the music, which was stated to have been composed and arranged for the occasion; it was a dead failure; a barrel organ, or hurdygurdy for us in preference. Even the gods growled out their dissatisfaction . . . "Oberon" was again played on Tues-day night to a middling house. There was no alteration whatever in the performance, except, perhaps, that some of the performers were rather more perfect in their parts . . .

"DRAMA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (31 December 1826), 2

On Thursday night last was produced for the third time the fairy spectacle of "Oberon." We thought that some time having elapsed since the piece first was performed, that any little defects or omissions to which we were lenient in our first comments, might have been remedied; the reverse, however, was the fact, the actors, if possible, were more defective, and the scenery was shifted with less promptitude; but these annoyances might have been overlooked if even an attempt had been made to get up the piece according to the author's intention. We thought that plenty of time had elapsed during which a tiger might have been manufactured, or, at all events, a head of that animal could have been got up, and being mounted upon a spear, would have answered all the purpose. Again, only one song is introduced out of several, and the choruses, are totally omitted; pieces like "Oberon," where every thing depends upon illusion and stage effect, should he strictly followed according to the intent of the author, who always finds it difficult to work his piece up too high. The omission of the singing is to he regretted, as several of the actresses can sing; but one especially, according to the performer's own account, is but little interior to Miss Paton, making the omission still more to be wondered at . . .

"DRAMA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(3 January 1837), 2-3

On Saturday night . . . The evening's entertainment concluded with "Oberon". [We] could see no alteration in the performance of the piece; the scenery certainly was shifted with more alacrity, but in respects it was a facsimile of the previous representations. It is a pity it was [got] up - it must have been expensive never could have been expected (3) in this Colony. The orchestra had brushed up their wits, and gave the audience something more lively and agreeable than usual. The house was tolerably filled, and the audience appeared gratified withe the amusement; the best criterion, perhaps, after all, by which performances should be judged. If those for whom they are provided, are satisfied, who has a right to complain?

"THE THEATRE", The Australian (10 January 1837), 3

The Fairy tale of Oberon; or, the Charmed Horn, has been produced with no inconsiderable degree of splendour under the circumstances of the Colony. It is of course glittering throughout its scenes, and the "fairy elves that be" are apparelled with all becoming brightness . . . Oberon (Mrs. Jones) the King of the Fairies, (not the Queen, as stated by the Gazette a few numbers since), in a fit of disgust at some terrestrial scenes which he had witnessed, asserts to his Queen Titania (Mrs. Taylor) that there was not such a being as a constant woman to be found. Anxious to vindicate the honor of her sex, Titania pledges herself to produce one, and retorts the charge upon the other sex; where upon Oberon makes a similar pledge; and in the presence of their Fairy Court they vow to hold no intercourse together until their respective pledges are redeemed. Oberon fixes his eye upon Sir Huon of Guyenne (Mr. Knowles) who to expiate an offence had been ordered by Charlemagne to proceed to the Crusades, and among other "labours," to bring back the daughter of the Caliph of Bagdad converted to Christianity. Oberon exercises his fairy powers, and by means of a dream instils a violent passion for Amanda the Caliph's daughter (Miss Douglass) in the breast of the sleeping knight, and at the same time places near him a charmed horn to assist the knight in his desired object. Amanda is the lady selected by Titania, and she controls the fair damsel's dreams in such a passion as to inspire her with an inveterate dislike for Prince Badekan, a lover favored by her father, and a proportionate love for Sir Huon, whom her dream presents to her. Events in abundance follow, wherein the constancy of the knight and lady are sufficiently put to the test; and in which the charmed horn plays a most efficient and conspicuous part . . .


Sippe was the first professional musician in Australia whose particular interest in the music of Weber is on record. He must have brought with him to Sydney, as master of the band of the 57th Regiment, copies of a wind arrangement (probably for 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons) of the overture to Der Freischütz, which in due course became the basis for the first documented Australian public performance in the Sydney Amateur Concerts in 1826. Perhaps Sippe eventually did take this opportunity of a retelling of the story of Oberon to perform other pieces by Weber, perhaps even movements from the opera Oberon itself.


Oberon; or, The charmed horn, a romantic fairy tale in two acts, the subject from the celebrated poem of Wieland; performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; the music selected from eminent composers, arranged and adapted by Mr. T. Cooke (London: J. Tabby, 1826) 

"THE THEATRE", The Australian (11 October 1836), 3

. . . The Music Department demands some reformation, in playing the accompaniment to When will you meet me, Love, one or two of the instruments were out of tune. The Director does not offer the same variety, which with very little trouble he might afford, a few of their tunes have become so hacknied, that in mercy to the names of their composers, not to mention the ears of the audience, some little respite ought to be allowed. If they want to give enlivening and at the same time easy tunes, why not select one or two of the Chorusses from Masaniello and Der Freschutz [Freischutz] and some of Beethoven's and Weber's Waltzes? They would be more within the compass of their ability, and please the audience more than some of their selections from Oberon and other difficult pieces, which require a good sized and clever orchestra to perform decently. The airs in these last a musical ear can detect, but it is impossible to recognize the style of the composer, as given by the orchestra.

October 1836 (? date of event)

19 December 1836 (date of testimony)

Sydney, NSW (place of testimony)

MITCHELL, Thomas Livingstone (expedition leader)

. . . as if they were going to dance a corrobora, as I had seen them before



"Extract from Minute No. 29 of the proceedings of the Executive Council . . .", New South Wales Government Gazette (21 January 1837), 59 

Extract from Minute No. 29 of the proceedings of the Executive Council . . . HIS Excellency the GOVERNOR laid before the Council, the following Extract of a letter addressed to the Colonial Secretary by Major Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South Wales, dated Camp on the Murrumbidgee, 24th October, 1836, reporting the result of his late Exploring Expedition into the interior of the Country . . .

APPENDIX L. Examination of Joseph Jones, before the Executiee Council, 19th December, 1836. By Major Mitchell. - I accompanied Major Mitchell on his three exploring expeditions; I went down to the water before we had a dispute with the natives on the expedition of last year, in company with another man, Thomas Jones; on arriving at the river I saw sixteen or seventeen native men and one woman; four of them came up to me and the other man, as if they were going to dance a corrobora, as I haid seen them before, I took no notice of them; I and Thomas Jones proceeded to the river side to draw the water, and the natives still came closer up to us as if with the intention of surrounding us . . .

"APPENDIX L", The Sydney Monitor (27 January 1837), 3 

1836 (year of publication)

London, England

FOX, Mary (author)

Dances . . . performed with much solemnity at their "corrobories"



Account of an expedition to the interior of New Holland edited by Lady Mary Fox (London: R. Bentley, 1837), 83-87 (DIGITISED)

[85] . . . The sport was in fact "playing at being savages," the dances consisting in a ludicrous imitation of those of the aborigines. These, it is well known, are much given to dancing, in which they display considerable ingenuity as well as agility and good ear; and their dances are not merely a recreation, but are also mixed up with their most important institutions and transactions, being performed with much solemnity at their "corrobories," or grand meetings, for the purpose of deliberating on affairs [86] of state, and performing certain superstitious rites of divination . . .


This fictional work purports to record an expedition into the interior of New South Wales, begun in August 1835 and led Hopkins Sibthorpe, and describes the lives and customs of a people called "the Southlanders"; see also third edition revised 1860


5 January 1837 (first notice)

9 January 1837 (first performance)

Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW

SIPPE, George (composer, arranger)

The £100 note (The hundred-pound-note)

The Music composed and arranged by Mr. Sippe

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS, MS parts)


[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(5 January 1837), 3

Theatre Royal, SYDNEY, Splendid Novetly! BUCKINHGAM'S NIGHT, Under the Patronage of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow. ON MONDAY, Jan. 9, 1837 . . . The whole to conclude with, for the first time at this Theatre, the highly laughable Farce, called THE £100 NOTE. The Music composed and arranged by Mr. Sippe.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(7 January 1837), 1

"DRAMA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (12 January 1837), 2

. . . The after piece was a farce called "The £100 Note," brought out the previous evening [Wednesday], for the benefit of Mr. Buckingham. It is a lively little piece, and the following is the plot: . . .

Bibliography and resources:

Skinner 2011, 100


The hundred pound note, a farce, in two acts by Richard Brinsley Peake . . . printed from the acting copy . . . as performed at the Theatres Royal, London (London: John Cumberland, [18-?]) 

26 January 1837 (first performances)

Royal Hotel, Sydney, NSW

ANONYMOUS (composers)

STUBBS, Thomas (composer)

COLEMAN, George (arranger)

Currency lasses

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; but probably an arrangement of:

Currency lasses, an admired Australian quadrille

Minstrel waltz

[Thomas Stubbs], arranged expressly for the occasion by Mr. COLEMAN, 4th Regiment

Hail Australasia

[? = Hail Australia]

Australian minstrel march

[? By Thomas Stubbs], arranged expressly for the occasion, by Mr. COLEMAN

Captain Piper's fancy



"Native Dinner", The Australian (27 January 1837), 2

About one hundred and seventy natives of the Colony dined together, yesterday, at the Royal Hotel, for the purpose of celebrating the Anniversary of the foundation of the colony . . . The following is the order in which the Toasts were given.
1. The King - Royal Anthem.
2. The Queen - Adelaide Waltz.
3. The British Navy - Rule Britannia.
4. The British Army - British Grenadiers.
5. His Excellency the Governor - Garry Owen.
6. The Memory of General Macquarie - To be drank in solemn silence.
7. Our Fair Countrywomen - Currency Lasses.
8. The Fair Visitants of our Native Land - Minstrel Waltz - arranged expressly for the occasion by Mr. COLEMAN, 4th Regiment.
9. The Agricultural and Commercial Interests of the Colony - Speed the Plough, &c.
10. The Sister Colonies - Hail Australasia [given in the Gazette as: Hail Australia].
11. The Mother Country - Hearts of Oak.
12. Major England and the Officers of the Garrison - Regimental March.
13. The Civil Officers of the Colony - Money in both pockets.
14. The President - Australian Minstrel March, arranged expressly for the occasion, by Mr. COLEMAN.
15. The Vice President - Captain Piper's Fancy.
16. The Stewards - Fly not yet.
17. Civil and Religious Liberty all over the World. - The King, God bless him.

"United Australians' Dinner", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(28 January 1837), 2

"UNITED AUSTRALIANS' DINNER", The Australian (30 January 1837), 2

"Dinner of the United Australians", The Sydney Herald (30 January 1837), 2

Bibliography and resources:

"This WAS Australia", The World's News (19 January 1938), 28

Skinner 2011

Music concordances (possible):

The Australian march, Thomas Stubbs ([Sydney]: [George Peck], [c.1860]; or [James Fussell], [c.1861]); in The Australian musical bouquet)


The 30 January report in The Australian gives the air to which the Vice President was toasted as "Highland Laddie", so perhaps this was popularly known in Sydney as Captain Piper's Fancy; the Herald report identifies it as Should auld acquaintance be forgot.

These are the only references to an Australian Minstrel March, and it is merely supposition to attribute its composition to Thomas Stubbs, on the basis of his Minstrel waltz. If it was indeed by Stubbs, however, it could perhaps be the same work as that much later published as The Australian march.

1 February 1837 (reported date of publication)

Sydney, NSW

2 February 1827 (date of first notice)

WALLACE, William Vincent (composer)

STEWART, Robert (lyricist, songwriter)

Echo's song

Echo's song, the words by Robert Stewart, esq[ui]re, composed and dedicated to his friend, Mrs. C. Logan of Hobart Town by Will[ia]m Wallace, late leader of "The Anacreontic Society Dublin"

(Sydney: Printed by J. G. Austin and Co., [1837])

Exemplars: (NLA)


[News], The Colonist (2 February 1837), 2

A piece of colonial music was ushered into existence yesterday. It is entitled, Echo's Song - the words by Mr. R. Stewart, and the music by Mr. W. Wallace; it is simple and pretty.

"MUSIC", The Sydney Herald (2 February 1837), 2

We have received from Messrs. Austin and Co., a new musical production called the "Echo Song; the words by George [sic] Stewart, Esq., composed and dedicated to his friend Mrs Logan, of Hobart Town, by William Wallace, late leader of the Anacreontic Society, Dublin." We have not had leisure to look into the merits of the publication - the name of William Wallace, however, is a sufficient recommendation to the musical folks of Sydney.

"NEWS OF THE DAY", The Sydney Monitor (3 February 1837), 3

We have been favoured by the publisher with a copy of a new piece of music, styled "THE ECHO'S SONG - the words by R. Stewart, Esq., the music by Mr. W. Wallace. We shall take an early opportunity of obtaining the opinion of some of our fair friends on its beauties. It is rather out of our line.

"SYDNEY NEWS", The Hobart Town Courier (17 February 1837), 2

Mr. Wallace, and our old townsmen, J. P. Deane, gave a concert on the 2nd instant, which was very numerously attended: the whole of the performances gave the most entire satisfaction. Mr. Wallace, whom many of our readers may recollect, during his short sojourn here; has composed a song, called the "Echo Song," the words by Mr. R. Stewart. The Colonist styles it "simple and pretty."

Bibliography and resources:

Neidorf 1999

Skinner 2011a

Lamb 2012


For the first appearanace of the text, see Echo's song above. Mrs. Charles Logan, of Hobart, was Maria, Francis Ellard's sister and Wallace's cousin.


"Original Poetry: ECHO'S SONG", The Australian (20 March 1835), 4

3-14 March 1837

Port Phillip, NSW (VIC)

KING, Philip Parker (reporter)




Philip Parker King, diary, 6-14 March 1837; ed. in "THE SETTLEMENT OF PORT PHILLIP", The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (9 April 1881), 123, 126 

H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Port Philip, March 3, 1837. We arrived here the day before yesterday, having had a tolerable passage . . .

March 6 - We are detained on board all day by a heavy rain, which will do much good, and be all the better for our journey. Some hundreds of natives have come to the settlement with presents of kangaroos to the Governor, and tonight there was to be a corroboree, but I think the rain will prevent it. Last night the Governor had a rich kangaroo steamer for dinner . . .

At this time there are several tribes near the settlement, one from the N.E. of a formidable appearance. A fight took place a few nights since in which several were severely injured. Corroborees are common as to the northward, but very different in the diagram or plot. The dances are alike, but the song by which they are led differs at the fancy of the singer. It may be about a kangaroo hunt or emu, or of anything that has interested them, a white man or anything relating to him. The women sit with their backs to the fire, and simultaneously beat a roll of opossum cloaks, which produces a sound something like a drum. The leader as indeed have all the dancers, has a short stick (barongain) in each hand, which he strikes together at first in slow measure as the subject of the song is introduced, the women keeping time with him on their drums. The fire at first burns dimly, and the dancers make their appearance one by one at a distance, emerging in the dark from among the bushes and trees; as the song proceeds and the subject begins to develop itself, the fire is made to sparkle, the measure quickens, the sticks and drums are beat louder and louder, and the actors advance until they gradually draw round the leader close to the fire, which now blazes up, who becoming warmed with his subject, increases the rapidity as well as force of the blows (all keeping time as if the sound was produced by a single blow), until a sign being made, they all make a sort of grunt strike their sticks once more, and then silently vanish off in a twinkling behind the bushes, and are shrouded by the darkness of the background in which they are ensconced, until a new song gradually commences and recalls them on to the stage. The whole has quite a dramatic effect. Their bodies are painted over with white stripes of pipeclay (bobal), and round the ancles are small boughs or branches of trees (kerang), which as they move make a rustling noise, which they increase with the measure of the song. The muscular movement of the legs, particularly the thighs, during the dance is most extraordinary, but so violent that it is not kept up at a time beyond a period of a few seconds . . .

August to December 1837

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

Hymns . . . singing lessons . . . native dances



Letter 3: Günther to Coates, 1 September 1837, page (1), 3 (C N/O 47/3); Wellington Valley Project

[1] Wellington Valley, September 1st, 1837. Dear Sir, I wrote in April to inform you of our safe arrival in this Colony, and did not expect an interval of more than four months would elapse ere I should address you from the place appointed for our future labours . . . Over the Blew Mountains, is here at this season of the year the roads are very bad (not worse, however, than I expected, for considerable improvement has been made). Our journey was very fatiguing, the shaking being so very violent. Mrs G. felt it for several days after. We also had rather cold when crossing these high mountains, there being ice and snow upon them . . .

[page 3] . . . I reached the Mission [August 1837] between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon where my good Lady had safely arrived an hour before, and where Mr and Mrs Watson kindly and gladly welcomed us. May it please God who through the dangers and fatigues of sea and land has safely brought us here to continue his mission here, to bless us and make us a blessing and may we be enabled to proved indeed a help to those who paved the way for us countering many difficulties and hardships. I was uncommonly pleased to see so many Natives camping near the Establishment. They had been expecting us for several days and wanted to meet us in state, ie. oppossum cloaks, blankets, old shirts, older jackets etc. Also the children, 5 in number, the elderly girls and the few boys in the Establishment intended to meet us at some distance and to salute us with singing the Hymn ""O'er the gloomy hills of [dark]ness". We however surprised them at our unexpected hour. It was pleasant for us to see many of the Natives here, even of those who encamp in the bush, not so horrible in their appearance as those we met on the road . . .

Gunther, journal entry; 13 August 1837 (Journal 1: August to December 1837, pages 2-3 C N/O 47/7) 

August 13. Preached from Rom:1:16 [2] and felt some enlargement of mind in my delivery. At the end of the sermon I addressed myself more immediately to the Blacks, but fear they understood little. There were about 16 of them present, and the number of white people exceeded twenty . . . In the afternoon I accompanied Mr Watson to the Native Camp which is only a few hundred yards off our residence.

Whilst we were talking to the Natives present, my eyes were suddenly struck with a strange & interesting, though for a new comer, almost frightful sight. Towards 30 blacks at once came out of the bush, mostly young men, with few exceptions, very robust & tall, several of them appeared to me at the least 6 feet high. Except one or two, they were all entirely naked and had increased their fierce & warlike look by curious [page 3] ornaments, such as feathers round the head, by painting their faces, and many, the whole of their bodies with various colours, red yellow white, prepared from a species of stones. They were indeed shockingly disguised. When first espying them, we were afraid they were enemies of our natives at the Camp, but as these beheld their approach with so much composure, we soon discovered that they were friends. They had come to assist the Wellington Natives in a fight that is daily expected with Blacks from another quarter. All were, in their way, well armed, some of their wooden spears appeared to be from 10 to 12 feet long, as the wood is exceedingly hard, sharply pointed at the end, & sometimes poisoned; the instrument is more dangerous than one might expect. Another of their weapons is worked thin, like a sword, but bent, resembling a bow & its use is throwing. A third instrument might be called a kind of cudgel: it is a stick about a yard long, with a thick knob at the end. Their shield consists only of a piece of wood a few inches thick, which in the midst, on the back side, has a handle. It may prove useful only by turning it swiftly round, to circumscribe a circle - the circumstance surprised me much at the meeting of these Blacks; there was no mutual salutation whatever; nor could we discern a smile or a look of anxiety in their countenances, as if scarcely noticing each other. The inmates of the camp remained in their sitting posture, and the new comers sat down likewise, without ceremony, kindling their fires. In the evening they celebrated their Native dance which was accompanied with much voice. We discerned from a distance about 30 fires. It being Sunday, we did not think it becoming to be spectators. The whole of the number, as far as we can calculate must amount to about 80.

Gunther, journal entries, 28-29 September 1837 (Journal 1, pages 16-17

Sept 28. Mrs G. gave this morning a reading lesson to some of the Black youths on the Establishment, Jemmy George & Harry who have taken a fancy to learn reading. When they had done reading or rather spelling they desired Mrs G. to teach them to sing also. She being not able for that task sent them to me I was in the Garden. [page 17] They came to me in great haste anxious to be included in singing. I at once ceased from work & gladly, embraced the opportunity; for when they are in the humor to be taught we must avail ourselves of it without delay. Having sheltered ourselves from the heat of the sun under a tree I began with singing to them the gamut hoping to give them a little idea of the elements of music. I tried both by numbers (as frequently done in Germany) & by la la &c; the latter appeared to answer better. My pupils were quite delighted with the exercise especially when I was striking the hands to it for they are fond of something noisy & lively. I concluded with that beautiful Missionary Hymn "From all that dwell below the skies", which was not altogether strange to them. When singing was over they once more accosted Mrs G. to teach them to read when she devoted another hour to the task thankfully availing herself of their good humor which we are afraid will not be of long duration. - I had some headache to day in consequence of sitting up too late last night.

Sept 29. We had hardly done breakfast when Mrs G's. pupils made their appearance desirous to read. When reading was over I gave my singing lesson, in the same way as yesterday. They appeared to get a better idea of it. The dirty fellows - it must be remembered that they were quite naked - had rubed [sic] themselves all over with oil which they frequently do when the heat is great. It increased their unpleasant smell very much & Mrs G. could hardly bear it but observed "I must not mind if I can do the poor men any good."

Gunther, journal entries, 15 and 21 November 1837 (Journal 1, pages 25-26)

Nov. 15. Our Jemmy is brought, again, a little in order. Mrs G. prevailed on him to read to her to day & I gave him with some others a singing lesson.

Nov: 21. Mrs G. gave Jemmy & Paddy a reading lesson to day and I followed with a short singing exercise. I also prevailed on them to tell me a number of words & phrases of their language. It is a difficult thing to make them stay a quarter of an hour for that purpose; nor have they much ability to teach us their language . . .

Gunther, journal entry, 12 December 1837 (Journal 1, page 30)

On Tuesday the 12. The number of Natives that were about was very considerable; all their thoughts were absorbed in war & other follies. In the evening they celebrated their Native dance. Having observed this after our Evening Prayers, by hearing the great noise (they were about a mile off near the River) and by beholding their large fires commonly kept at this occasion Mr W. & myself proceeded to pay them a visit, though perhaps not very welcome for they were aware that we did not come like a number of Europeans whom we met there to amuse ourselves. I never saw or heard anything to equal such a wild & noisy scene. The dancing partly consisted of about 18 young men, all, as a matter of course, naked & painted; the arms boisterously extended; the whole performance very boisterous, still not without paying some regard to time. Our Jemmy, who like some others of our youths was among the number, behaved as wildly as any, howling & singing. In the front stood the elderly Native men as spectators; behind, a few yards distance, the women were sitting, acting as musicians. They sang with all their might, being led on by several men, who were at the same time beating time with some of their little war instruments. However, they did not wish us to be their spectators for a long time and consequently closed the scene soon after our arrival. The women left each for their respective camp, and the men sat down to commence their consultations about the war expected to take place the next day. We embraced the opportunity, to speak to them in a serious way. Mr Watson gave them an animated address in their language reproving them for their wicked, idle, war like habits, & vices, endeavouring to dissuade them from going to war and pointing out to them our great errand & God's will towards them. Several replied, "It is truth! It is truth!" Many of them appeared to have very little courage for war; but they must yield to their ring leaders & being challenged, it would be considered a great shame, not, to meet the enemy. The lively & boisterous occurring scene, it seemed to us, was intended to inspire them with courage. The whole number of Natives at the camp may amount to about 80.

23 September 1837 (first published)

Launceston, VDL (TAS)

ANONYMOUS (songwriter)

Keeping up appearances (song)

A New Song to an Old Tune (Hail! to the Insolvent Law, all hail!)



"KEEPING UP APPEARANCES", The Cornwall Chronicle (23 September 1837), 1



Hail to the Insolvent Law, all hail!
Unite in gladsome chorus:
It matters not, however you fail,
Numbers have gone before us.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks of those who get their clearances,
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

The man who through misfortune sinks,
And to his fate resigned;
Who never from enquiry shrinks,
True sympathy will find.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks, of those who get their clearances,
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

But he, who lives alone by fraud,
Deems Bankruptcy - a merit,
Should scouted be, with one accord,
And our deep scorn inherit.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks of those who get their clearances,
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

Some drown themselves to save their necks,
When of all hope bereft;
Whilst others coolly clear the decks,
And pocket all that's left.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks, of those who get their clearances,
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

By swearing hard, some gain their end,
Nor hesitate a minute. -
What's perjury to save a friend,
Or self - there's no harm in it.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks of those who get their clearances,
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

False Schedules are a good resource,
Drop here, and there an item:
If undetected, - who's the worse,
The gain will help to right them.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks of those who get their clearances.
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

Throughout the world, in every land,
Credulity is assailable,
And the greatest rogue's the greatest man.
He sacks whate'er's available.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks of those who get their clearances,
Believe me, Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.

Lives well, clothes well, spares no cost,
Appearance to maintain;
And when his game is played - and lost,
He tries the Act again.
Hasten, then, to join the ranks of those who get their clearances.
Believe me. Lads, there's nothing like the keeping up appearances.


4 January 1838 (date of Miago's departure)

Perth, Swan River, WA


GREY, George (recorder, reporter)

Songs composed on Miago's departure and return


Source and documentation:

Grey 1841, 2, 310

It is very rarely that any remarkable circumstance occurs but songs are composed in order to perpetuate the remembrance of it. For example, when Miago, the first native who ever quitted Perth, was taken away in H.M. surveying vessel Beagle in 1838, the following song was composed by a native and was constantly sung by his mother (at least so she says) during his absence, and it has ever since been a great favourite:

Ship bal win-jal bat-tar-dal gool-an-een,
Ship bal win-jal bat-tar-dal gool-an-een.
etc. etc. etc. etc.

Whither is that lone ship wandering,
Whither is that lone ship wandering,
etc. etc. etc. etc.

Again, on Miago's safe return, the song given below was composed by a native after he had heard Miago recount his adventures:

Kan-de maar-o, kan-de maar-a-lo,
Tsail-o mar-ra, tsail-o mar-ra-lo.
etc. etc. etc. etc.

Unsteadily shifts the wind-o, unsteadily shifts the wind-o,
The sails-o handle, the sails-o handle-ho.

Grey 1841, 2, 70

[16 April 1839] . . . Poor Kaiber alone lay crouching by my fire, occasionally feeding it with fresh fuel and chanting to himself these two songs, in his own language:

Thither, mother oh, I return again,
Thither oh, I return again.

The other had been sung by the mother of Miago, a native who had accompanied Captain Wickham in the Beagle from the Swan River, and it had made a great impression on the natives.

Whither does that lone ship wander,
My young son I shall never see again.
Whither does that lone ship wander.


On 4 January 1838, the Beagle sailed from Swan River, for the north-west coast. On board was Miago, "the first native who ever quitted Perth" by sea.

12 January 1838 (date of letter)

King George's Sound, WA; Sydney, NSW (place of publication)

Their wild and joyous corrobory



"KING GEORGE'S SOUND. TO THE EDITOR," The Colonist (17 January 1838), (2), 3 

Sydney, Januarv 12, 1838. SIR, - In my former letter on King George's Sound, I gave you some account of a few of the principal men in the Settlement . . . I will now proceed to . . . make some observations on the Natives . . .

The aborigines of King George's Sound (meaning of course the neighbouring territory), may, with perfect confidence, be described as a remarkably inoffensive and comparatively tractable race of barbarians. The savages of Swan River are quite a distinct and separate people, differing from the tribes at the Sound in the darkness of their complexion and the blackness of their hair . . .

. . . they have uniformly refused with serious resolution to pass the boundary of their own prescriptive territory. Periodically, however, the various conterminous and friendly tribes assemble at some appointed place of rendezvous, and by common consent they form themselves into one general hunting party, and scour the country for wallaby, or the small species of kangaroo. These are so numerous and nimble, as to require, in order to take them, that the bush be set on fire, while the hunters, thickly planted in advance of the flames, watch the flight of the game, and spear and scotch them in wholesale. During this season while it lasts, they may be said to hold aregular carnival; for after they have captured or speared a sufficient number of wallaby, they congregate to one place to enjoy their mutual feast, and hold their wild and joyous corrobory. To describe, in any part of New South Wales, the nature of this ceremonial dance, would, I should think, be a work of supererogation; and besides, it would require a master in gymnastics to describe the grotesque figures, eccentric attitudes, and amazing contortions, that these poor wretches put themselves into, in performing this dance. I have never seen the natives on this side of the country holding a corrobory, but I understand they do so, and I believe in something of the very same way as it is done elsewhere. I must say, however, that the exhibition is anything but pleasant, to one at least, who for the first time beholds it as a picture of savage life. Their music, such as it is, is vocal, and consists merely of a rapid alternation of hoarse croaking and shrill panting, kept up by the dancers themselves, to answer the changes of their truly frightful performance.

These creatures live generally in peace among themselves, and those of them who frequent Albany, are not only inoffensive but often serviceable to the settlers. In this respect they are an advantage to the place compared to the savages at Swan River . . .

I am, Sir, &c. AN IMMIGRANT.


John Drunmore Lang, returning from Scotland in the Portland, had landed at King George's sound, as also mentioned in the above letter. It was perhaps on this ship that its author came to Sydney, arriving on 3 December 1837; the two named passengers from the Sound were Lieutenant Belches, R. N., and Mr. McDonald. McDonald returned to the Sound on the bark Henry Wellesley, sailing from Sydney on 14 February. Altogether, The Colonist printed 3 letters on the subject of King George Sound, all signed "An immigrant".


"ARRIVAL", The Colonist (7 December 1837), 3 

"DEPARTURES", The Sydney Monitor (16 February 1837), 2 

16 January 1838 (first notice)

Sydney, NSW

STUBBS, Thomas (composer)

WALLACE, William Vincent (arranger)

Australian jubilee waltz

Australian jubilee waltz, composed by Thomas Stubbs, author of The minstrel and arranged for the piano forte by Wm. Wallace, late leader of the Anacreontic Society Dublin.

(Sydney: W. H. Fernyhough, Lithographer, [1838])

Exemplars: (NLA) (DIGITISED)


[Advertisement], The Australian (16 January 1838), 3

In the Press And will be published on the 26th Instant, the day after the Jubilee, or 50th Anniversary of the Colony, THE AUSTRALIAN JUBILEE WALTZ, (composed expressly for the occasion,) by Thomas Stubbs; Author of the Minstrel; and arranged for the Pianoforte by William Wallace, Member of the Anacreontic Society, London.

[Advertisement], The Australian (19 January 1838), 1

"THE JUBILEE WALTZ", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(6 February 1938), 2

This delightful little waltz has been composed by Mr. Thomas Stubbs, a native of the Colony, also the composer of the Minstrel Waltz, both of which were an arranged by Mr. William Wallace, the Australian Paganini. We have heard both of these pieces of music lately played by that talented performer, assisted by his brother on the flute; need we say that we were much delighted, not only with the performance but with the waltzes themselves, and particularly with the Jubilee, which is certainly a most delightful little piece of music; as such we can confidently recommend it to the notice of the public.

[Advertisement], The Australian (23 February 1838), 1

[Advertisement], The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle (19 October 1867), 6

Bibliography and resources:

Australian encyclopaedia 1958, 8, 334

Clark, 3, 1973, 138

Neidorf 1999

Skinner 2011

Modern editions:

Divall 2000 (arranged and orchestrated)

17 January 1838

Sydney, NSW

Doing corrobory in George-street



"Police Incidents", Commercial Journal and Advertiser (17 January 1838), 3 

Major, Crosly, and Whipem-up; a trio who grinned and looked quite pleased at the novelty of their situation, were charged with doing corrobory in George-street which they refused to leave off, although frequently cautioned so to do.
Bench.--- Were you drunk, any of you?
Major.--- Baal'me massa.
Crosly.--- Had little bull massa.
Whip-em-up.--- No, I not drunk. I break Major's cobbra, that all massa.
Major looked the lie at him, and would with-out doubt, have retaliated upon him, had not the staff of a Charley interposed. The three were each ordered to cash up the usual amount of five shillings, but the cry of "baal coppers massa," was the signal for them to be sentenced to one hour each in the stocks, at which Major looked glum, and Crosly, supercilious; and Whip-em-up twisted a pair of jet black mustachos with becoming fierceness; but the Bench looked at these signs of dissent with placidity, and the three were escorted to their resting place.

25 January 1838

Flinders Island, VDL (TAS)

INDIGENOUS (Flinders Island) (performers; dancers, singers)



ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

The natives dance for the Franklins


[News], Launceston Advertiser (25 January 1838), 2

The Lieutenant-Governor, accompanied by Lady Franklin, and his usual suite, proceeded last Monday by land to George Town; whence, as we learn, His Excellency embarks for Flinders's Island, for the purpose of in specting the Aboriginal Settlement there. We believe an Executive Council was held one day last week at the Government Cottage, the Colonial Secretary and the Chief Police Magistrate being both on this side of the Island.

George Augustus Robinson, journal, 25 and 26 January 1838; ed. Plomley 1987, 525, 530 

. . . The Governor was surprised to find such preparation on Flinders Island. After the usual ceremony was over, tea was prepared and rooms allotted to the guests. The Governor having intimated that his stay would be short, thought it advisable to lose no time and expressed a desire to see the natives dance, and directions were given accordingly. During tea time and at the time of the Governor's arrival the natives thronged to the house. After tea the whole of the party proceeded to the native square to see the natives dance. Chairs were provided for the occasion. Sir John placed Lady Franklin under my protection and I had the honour to escort her ladyship. They were highly gratified by the various dances of the natives, and the natives were equally pleased with their visit. The Governor and Lady Franklin asked a variety of questions relative to the aborigines and their customs and amusements and seemed heartily to participate in their hilarity. Said they had a set of portraits of the natives by Bock for which they paid him thirty guineas. The natives exhibited their war dance, kangaroo ditto, emu ditto, horse ditto and a variety of others. After visiting several of the native cottages the party returned to my quarters highly pleased with the evening's amusements.

[530] [26 January 1830] . . . The Governor and his lady were highly pleased with their visit to Flinders, which they repeatedly expressed and in the strongest possible terms. On our way the natives sang several hymns and joined in chorus in which Sir J and Lady F took a part. On our arrival at the beach found two of the Eliza's boats in readiness to take His Excellency and suite on board. His Excellency bid me a most cordial adieu, as did Lady F and suite, and thanked me for the kind attention during this visit. Said they were highly gratified and hoped to again visit the settlement next summer. On the boats leaving the shore he was saluted with three times three cheers from all present which was responded to by the Governor and suite . . .


"Flinders' Island", The Sydney Monitor (4 May 1838), 2

The following picture of the deplorable condition of the aboriginal natives of Van Diemen's Land is from the Cornwall Chronicle . . . The aborigines imprisoned on Flinder's Island continue to die at the rate of 20 per cent., without any births to supply their loss. Ninety are now the sum total that remain of all the various and large aboriginal tribes of Van Diemen's Land, so that the utter extinction of the race is hastily approaching. Can anything be done for these injured beings? . . .

25 January 1838

Perth, WA

Songs in the Two editors


A naval man my James was born

Tune - The white cockade

"THE TWO EDITORS", Swan River Guardian (18 January 1838), 284

Clark: Come Mac, now do not get angry at my remarks. Fill your glass - and I'd give you a song . . . Take a bumper and now for the song. I give it to the tune of the "White Cockade":

A Naval man my James was born
Our wishes a' he held in scorn,
But he still was faithful to that Crew;
Whom the Guardian has made, to look so blue!

Sing hey ! my upright naval man
Sing ho ! my Brazen Naval man,
There's not a lad on a the Swan,
Was match for my bright naval man!

In his own way and wilful course
He has made laws without remorse,
And men there are, who urge him on,
But will shew another face, when he is gone!

Chorus, in which Macfaul joins

He's ranged a' from Sound to Bay
And sadly wants to feel his way,
But Moore in his rambles, now has found,
There's no good land, to the east of the Sound.


Then up all Swans and soar aloft
Let it not be supposed we are too soft,
But fly to the North without delay,
And the Naval man's Sound, will be held at bay!

Macfaull: - That's an excellent song Clark, but not your own.

Clark: Whether it is my own or not Mac, is a matter of little signification. It may have been composed by the "muse of Swan River." Now for your song?

Macfaull: - I have not arrived at the singing pitch yet, but when I get more on I daresay I can manage it. I'm not a Member of the Temperance Society . . .

Our James he is a glorious man

Tune - Daintie Davie

"THE TWO EDITORS, continued", Swan River Guardian (25 January 1838), 299 

Macfaull: . . . I promised you a song last week and I will not forfeit my word . . .

Clark: - Now Mac enjoy yourself after this long interview with the Governor . . . Kings and Governors are composed of flesh and blood like other men. Your good health Mac. Never mind a blowing up now and then from me. Your friend George Leake calls me petulant, but I am not half so petulent or proud as he is. Pride in this Colony looks like a beggar on horseback. Pride precipitated Satan from Heaven along with his Crew, and will produce its usual consequences at Swan River . . .

Macfaull: - I'll first relate a morceau. Scott has turned Victualler! The first Lieutenant of the Pelorus had a Raffle for a Gun, and Scott persuaded him to hold it at his house ; after the raffle a Bill for refreshments was handed in to the amount of £3. The Officers immediately quitted the house.

Our James he is a glorious man
    Bold and clever, bold and clever,
My talents all he tried to scan
    And make a mighty Lever.

But James found with all his art
    That some folks would not take his part,
The Guardian's ta'en a higher stand -
    And banged the whole Armada.
            Toll de roll &c.

To please the men at home 'tis said
    Wise as ever, wise as ever,
He taxes raised, and Laws were made,
    Which puts us in a quiver.

But Quakers came, and soon found out,
    That Jamie's laws were round about,
As Council ruled without a doubt,
    Each men must take his grog sir,
            Toll de roll &c.

Clark (in utter amazement): - Why Mac, are you mad? Do you expect the new Governor soon? You are following in my wake; but come, never mind, that's a very good song to the tune of "Daintie Davie'' and is no doubt composed by yourself . . .

25 February and 3 March 1838

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

Hymns . . . corrobory



Gunther, journal entry, 25 February 1838 (Journal 2: January to March 1838, pages 14-15; C N/O 47/8); Wellington Valley Project 

The 25th. Mr Watson had two Services this morning before the usual Church hour with the Natives, in their own tongues the first was attended by about 20 men & the second by 17 women. He also was obliged to take the English Service, as I was unable to prepare myself on account of [page 15] Mrs G. being very poorly. His text was from Rev. XVII: 14. In the first place he showed; in what way men war against the Lamb, and in the second, he showed he showed the result of this war. It was a good sermon and its characteristics were boldness & plainness. With much [?] and in the most intelligible language he pointed out the great opposition & obstacles we have to experience in our Mission from Europeans, as being also war against the Lamb. There were no Natives at the English Service as they all left in a great hurry after their Service, since they are collecting & preparing for war. We had also a little girl of about 9 years of age, added to our number of Children, which now amounts to a dozen, including a boy who is not * in the Children's hut, and more attentive to the latter* than to his book. After Evening Prayers we proceeded to the Camp, which was some four* miles off in a different direction from which was last* evening. When approaching the Camp, we heard a very great noise; they were engaged in their Native dance: The scenery was a very wild & boisterous one indeed and our Jemmy Buckly carried it to as great an excess as any of them; he has behaved very badly indeed of late. All the dancers were painted in a frightful manner & had their heads ornamented with feathers. I counted from 60 to 70 men partly performers & partly spectators, besides others that remained at their respective fires. Only half a dozen or so women were present at the scene; as singers. I always fancy that these wild dances most commonly taking place previous to a fight are intended to inspire them with courage for the engagement. As the Natives were so entirely absorbed in their dancing dissipation we were obliged to leave again with[out] any conversation worth mentioning. The whole number must have amounted to at least 150.

Gunther, journal entry, 3 March 1838 (Journal 2: page 17)

We understood this afternoon for our Fred that the Natives were going to a very fierce (wicked) corrobory (fictitious word for Native dance) advising us, at the same time, we better not go to see them. This was, perhaps, his cunningness; and we felt it the more our duty to disturb them by going. We went after Evening Prayers; we had to walk about 1 mile; and when we reached the place the scene was finished. No doubt they were apprehensive* of our coming & hastened on that account. However, all of them, young & old, men & women. were very frightfully painted and the majority still, as it were, intoxicated from the dissipation they had enjoyed. There was every sign of the scene having been very wild. Jemmy Buckly, though his Father in law, for whom he has regard and affection, appears to be dying, was almost worse than any. Having been warned & reproved by us, more particularly by Mr W. he got into a rage & said, "You always always come & tell us this!" "What you always come to the Camp for & tell us we should go to hell etc etc etc" Don't you go to hell? The poor fellow appeared almost ready to beat us. I thought perhaps it is a better sign than that indifference, as common, to the Natives. His passion soon turned into mocking & laughing. He exhibited large sheets of bark most curiously painted inside and indeed out. What "bonjezy" (fictious word for good or beautiful). What foojesy[?]! What like [?] What like Wandong? (Wandong is the Native work for the Evil Spirit.) These mocking gestures were accompanied by excessive laughter. I numbered about 80 Natives at the Camp.

9-12 March 1838 (date of inquest)

Adelaide, SA

Died at a corroborrie



"CORONER'S INQUEST", South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register (17 March 1838), 3 

An inquest was held at Mr. Lillyman's brewery, on the 9th March, 1838, before George Stevenson, Esq., Coroner, specially appointed, and a jury of twelve, on the body of Enoch Pegler, a laborer . . .

Witness . . . Knew deceased, and saw him last alive yesterday between five and six o'clock p.m.; he was not then sober and was staggering. Deceased was a quiet inoffensive man. There was no appearance of any struggle having taken place. On witness calling to two men who were thatching, several natives on the south side of the river shouted and held up their spears, but not in a threatening position . . .

SATURDAY, MARCH 10. The inquest was resumed at ten o'clock. William Williams - Received information at the Commissioner's store that a man had been found dead on the other side of the river. Witness enquired of several natives and was informed than two natives named William and George had committed the murder . . .

James Cronk, assistant to the Protector of the Aborigines - On hearing that a man had been killed witness went in pursuit of the men who were suspected accompanied by several natives who volunteered their services. Previously to going witness found that the deceased had been stabbed while laying asleep drunk; that he had been murdered because four of the natives' dogs had been killed by the white people . . .

MONDAY, MARCH 12. The inquest was resumed at twelve o'clock. James Cronk - Had since ascertained from the boy that the deceased was present at a corroborrie that evening, and was told to go away when it was over; that the deceased wanted to sit down among the natives between a man and a woman, and they told him again to go away; that he went a short distance and lay down; that he saw the men attempt to take the deceased's shirt.

The Coroner briefly addressed the Jury, who having retired returned the following verdict - That the deceased, Enoch Pegler, has been wilfully murdered by a native or natives unknown.

"SOUTH AUSTRALIA", The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch, and Agricultural and Commercial . . . (13 April 1838), 5 

Bibliography and resources:

"Cruising Around (THE PIRATE)", Sport (23 December 1924), 7 

Alan Pope, One law for all? Aboriginal people and criminal law in early South Australia (Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2011), 13-14 (PREVIEW)

19 April 1838 (first notice)

Launceston, VDL (TAS)

MUNDY, Henry (composer)

Eight sets of quadrilles

Eight sets of quadrilles, for the piano forte, composed and dedicated to his pupils by Henry Mundy

(London: Robert Cocks, [? 1837])


Launceston, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Peter Sims Collection (NOT DIGITISED)


[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (19 April 1838), 1


JUST received, a few copies of EIGHT SETS OF QUADRILLES, composed by Mr. H. Mundy, of Ellinthorpe Hall, in this Island, dedicated to his Pupils, very recently published, each set in a neatly printed wrapper, by Cocks & Co., London.

The novelty of this being the first publication of music having any pretention to merit, emanating from a resident in the Colony, it is supposed would ensure to the work an extensive and rapid sale here: but the undersigned feels confident that his friends will find the work entitled to their attention upon higher ground than mere novelty. It is valuable from its intrinsic merit; and desirable to be possessed by every piano-forte player in the Colony. These Quadrilles have had an extensive sale in England. May be had of the undersigned, and of Mr. Tegg, Hobart Town.


[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (17 May 1838), 1

[Advertisement], The Courier (21 July 1843), 1

PIANOFORTE MUSIC. - Now on SALE, a few copies of Eight Sets of QUADRILLES, composed for and dedicated to his pupils, by Henry Mundy; also a set of brilliant WALTZES, at Davis's Stationery Warehouse, 23, Elizabeth-street. July 21.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (25 July 1843), 2

Bibliography and resources:

Sims 2014

Facsimile edition:

Sims 2014 

7 May and 6 June 1838

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

Hymns . . . native dance



Gunther, journal entry, 7 May 1838 (Journal 3: April-June 1838, page 9; C N/O 47/9); Wellington valley Project 

May 7. Found just time to give the Native women a short reading lesson . . . Our Children amuse & delight us much at the present; they sing every evening after dark, when we are at tea, and it is surprising, how well they sing a number of English hymns & tunes, quite by themselves.

Gunther, journal entry, 6 June 1838 (Journal 3, page 15)

The 6th We were annoyed this evening about a Constable, taking possession of one of the Old buildings, just at dusk, without referring to the Missionaries, though Mr Watson received the keys & consequently charge of the buildings, which charge has not yet been acclaimed. A similar case took place a few weeks since. Again dancing at the Native camp and, am glad to add, not joined by any of our young men, except Fred who yesterday as well as this evening, acted as musician by singing & striking two weapons together.

13 July 1838

Hobart Town, VDL (TAS)

ANONYMOUS (late Music Master of H.M S. Wellesley and Alfred)

The first set of the V.D.L. quadrilles



[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (13 July 1838), 3 

Now Publishing, The 1st Set of the V.D.L. Quadrilles, Composed and Arranged for the PIANOFORTE, By the late Music Master of H.M.S. Wellesley and Alfred, and most respectfully dedicated to the Ladies of this colony. To be had at Mr. Tegg's, Elizabeth street, Hobart town, and at Mr. Dowling's, Launceston.

[Advertisement], The Tasmanian (13 July 1838), 3 

[News], The True Colonist (13 July 1838), 7 

We have seen the first proof sheet, lithographed, of a set of quadrilles composed and dedicated to "the Ladies of the Colony", by a late band master of an English frigate. It is executed in a very creditable style, and if the music be in accordance with the outward appearance, no doubt the composer will find ample compensation for his trouble.

The convict ships Henry Wellesley and Alfred both arrived in Sydney in December 1838; see:

"From the Sydney papers . . .", Colonial Times (16 January 1838), 7

16 July to 16 September 1838

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

PORTER, William (reporter)

Hymns . . .



Gunther, journal entries, 16 and 17 July 1838 (Journal 4: July-September 1838, page 6; C N/O 47/10); Wellington Valley Project 

July 16. Cochrane told me today; "Mrs Gunther make me sorry yesterday; I will no more sing heathen songs." He & others were very anxious to read.

July 17th We were highly delighted this evening; when sitting at tea, to hear a number of the Native youths say prayers, in our kitchen, with much apparent seriousness; I observed, especially in George something like pure[?] devotion, & the attention of a child. Fred was leading the rest. They repeated several of the Church Prayers. Made also an effort to sing a hymn. The contrast in the conduct of these Young men is very remarkable; in one hour they can act, as if influenced by religious feelings, in the next hour they [?] nothing but the savage . . .

Porter, journal entry, 21 July 1838 (Journal 1: July-September 1838, page 3; C N/O 70) 

21. Left Molong early, being yet 35 Miles from Wellington and arrived safe at Wellington about 4 p.m. Received a hearty welcome from my Brethren & Sisters in Christ and also from the natives: who introduced themselves to me by making a low bow, and each one giving me his hand. After the moment of excitement was over, the little children and Girls, about 12 in number: sang several Hymns, and read Several Portions of the Bible in a way very much to the credit of those who taught them.

Porter, journal entry, 26 August 1838 (Journal 1: page 7)

26.Enjoyed a short release from my problems [?] duties. Had a number of the Natives to teach them to read: and after reading some asked to sing which they are very good at doing; indeed the desire which they have to be able to sing; induces some of them to learn to read that they may be able to understand what they attempt to sing. Fred who is nearly blind, he wanted to know why he could not read. I told him that it had pleased God to deprive him almost of his sight which prevented his seeing the words. But that he must listen to the words which we read: and that by so doing he might be able to remember as much as any of them. He can already repeat part of the Church Service; several portions of Scripture; and can sing several Hymns tolerably well. They are delighted if they can make any improvements, particularly in singing.

Gunther, journal entries, 15 and 26 August 1838 (Journal 4: July-September 1838, pages 12, 15; C N/O 47/10) 

The 15th Was amused today by the Young men, telling me how frightened they were, when they first saw White Fellows. "They hastened away; & ran up the Mountains." One said: "We thought it was the Devil." Mr W. & myself were highly delighted, when walking about late in the night, with our Fred, who, was repeating part of the Church Prayers in his hut. He pronounced, especially the Lord's Prayer, with so much distinctness, solemnity & emphasis that one was ready to imagine, he was a true & devoted worshipper of God. Even his pronunciation was remarkably correct. He concluded his apparently devotional, exercises with singing the "Evening Hymn."

The 26th, The Youths have been in a most shocking humour last night & continue so this morning, exceedingly boisterous, & noisy, thinking & talking about nothing, but to get wives . . . In the afternoon I prevailed on Cochrane, Lowry & Jemmy to read a little to me. We then concluded with singing, joined by Mr Porter & his Pupils, this Nglagan & Bungary.

Gunther, journal entries, 2 and 5 September, 16 September (Journal 4, pages 16-18)

Septb. 2d Preached from Rev: 3, 20.[42] Our usual number of Natives at Church. I also administered the Lord's Supper, when I had only three Communicants ie. Mr Watson, Mr Parker & Mrs G. After Evening Prayers our Young men wanted to sing, and we sang: "O'er the gloomy hills of darkness." When singing was over, they wished to be by themselves in the rooms & then knelt down & prayed in English, Fred leading the rest . . . [page 17] . . .

Septb 5 Had a little reading this afternoon with a few Native females. In the evening I was much delighted with the Young men, singing the two following hymns, remarkably well. "O'er the gloomy hills of darkness" "From all that dwells below the skies" . . . [page 18] . . .

Septb. 16 There were about a dozen Natives at Church besides the Children. I preached from Matt: 10, 29.30.31[43] and grew so they[?] warm towards the conclusion. The Young men ran about part of the afternoon, but had a little reading & singing towards evening; they sing well their favourite hymn, "O'er the gloomy hills of darkness."

12 October 1838, and c.1838

Moreton Bay, NSW (QLD), and Maitland, NSW

INDIGENOUS (Maitland area)

INDIGENOUS (Moreton Bay area)

MANN, William (reporter)

Corrobaree at the Hunter, war song and dance at Moreton Bay



Mann 1839, 152-53 

. . . The aborigines of this colony are harmless, except some tribes near Moreton Bay. They pursue their pristine rambling, lazy life, hunting and fishing, and in their excursions calling at the settlers' houses for food; they are fond of bread and animal food, but care little for salt-provisions. When on a visit to a friend who resides on the banks of the River Hunter, about a hundred miles north of Sydney, we were visited by a tribe of natives who were going to join some other tribes, in order to have a Corrobaree, that is, a native dance, where they assemble in great numbers, and continue their innocent amusement for days and nights together. The foremost of the party had a quantity of honeycomb, on a piece of bark, on his head, which he supported with both his hands: the honey streaming down his head and face, with the wild bees flying about in pursuit of their treasure, made him appear an extraordinary figure. He asked for a vessel to mix the honey with some water, which mixture they call bull; the same term is applied if sugar be the substitute for honey. This [153] they drank with great glee, which excited them almost as much as the same quantity of wine would affect Europeans. They went through the maneuvres of the emu and kangaroo dance, mimicking the motions of these animals. They threw the spear at each other, which they caught on their targets with great dexterity. After receiving a few shillings, which they call white money, they retired from Mr. Nowlan's farm, where this occurred, to that of Mr. Hobler, on the opposite side of the river, where they also regaled themselves, and proceeded to their rendezvous at Maitland. They were quite naked, accompanied by children, but no gins (or wives); for their drapery being generally rather scant, they had the modesty to remain at a distance. They appeared of the middle size, well-made, and robust, with large heads, black bushy hair, and beards-their complexion of the same sable hue; their legs and arms wanted that muscular plumpness which distinguishes persons accustomed to laborious and active life.

Mann 1839, 155-57 

Extract of a Letter from Moreton Bay, dated 12th October, 1838: Since I last wrote to you, I was present at a fight between three tribes whose hunting grounds are contiguous to the settlement, and three other tribes who are farther removed from us; and I was fearful that the settlement tribes would have been beaten, having heard the men speak very highly of the mountaineers: but the result was otherwise. The battle was fought in a valley at the foot of a range of mountains, about five miles from the settlement, called Taylor's Range. The three strange tribes encamped at the base of the mountain, and the settlement tribes on a small ridge on the opposite side of the valley. After painting themselves, and covering their heads and bodies with the gaudiest parrots' feathers, they sent three of their skippers, or young men, armed with spears and bomerangs, to challenge the hostile tribes, who were similarly painted and dressed, and stood with spear and shield in hand at the foot of the mountain, and presented a most formidable appearance, The skippers ran up to the enemy's camp; and after boasting of the superior valour of their tribes, the goodness of their sight, the force with which, they threw their spears and bomerangs, returned unmolested to their camp. The skippers of the mountain tribes then rushed out, and [156] repeated nearly the same words to the settlement tribes, threw their spears, and also returned unmolested. After waiting for some time, and nothing being done, I began to think that the settlement tribes were afraid of the mountaineers, whose chosen warriors advanced in a line, striking their shields with their waddies, singing their war-cry, wa-ah! wa-ah! wa-ah! a-a-ho! a-a-ho! a-a-ho! hi-hi-hi! - I should have told you that many of the Amity Paint tribe, which is more numerous than the other two settlement tribes, were deficient of spears and shields, having nothing but waddies and bomerangs. Our friends kept on the defensive, and waited till the mountaineers had thrown their spears, which they turned off with their shields, or avoided with wonderful activity. The gins of the settlement tribes collected the enemy's spears, and gave them to their friends, who, by a feigned retreat, drew the hostile tribes farther from the mountains. They then halted, and commenced throwing spears, waddies, bomerangs, stones, and every missile they could lay their hands on, leaping and singing when any of them took effect; and after four hours' hard fighting, they beat the mountaineers back, stormed their camp, which they plundered of their nets, opossum cloaks, &c., and returned to their own camp. After the struggle hadceased, I went to the opposite tribes, and found that eighteen of them were [157] wounded, some very badly; but they were not at all dispirited. The fight was renewed on the following morning, and the settlement tribes were again victorious. One of the mountaineers was killed with a spear, and they were again driven back to the'mountains. The day'was uncommonly fine, and the spot where they fought was beautifully diversified with mountain, hill, and dale. The imposing attitude of the men-their shouts of triumph and defiance as they met each other in the valley-the fierce struggle, in which were displayed the skill, activity, and cunning of man in a state of nature-the cries of the gins, who were in the rear of each party, either of triumph or despair, as the fate of the battle changed-all combined, made such an impression on my mind as will never be forgotten. Man is indeed here "lord of the creation," bearing nothing but his instruments of war, his gins supplying his wants, and carrying all he is possessed of.

22 November 1838

Sydney, NSW

DUNLOP, Eliza Hamilton (songwriter, poet)

Songs of an exile (no. 2)

Adapted to the music of I stood among the glittering throng



"Original Poetry", The Australian (22 November 1838), 3


Adapted to the music of I stood among the glittering throng.

SHE WAS - yet have I oft denied,
Veiling the secret in my heart,
SHE was my dearest - my pride:
For whom those bitter tear drops start,

Now happy voices fill mine ear
And dancing footsteps throng around -
Yet hers amid them all I hear!
A sound of music from the ground.

Still, MY lorn spirit, seeks the clay,
Where her young limbs in darkness rest -
While her's, in light of endless day,
Reposes on a Saviour's breast.


Bibliography and resources:

Music concordance (tune):

I stood amid the glitt'ring throng; a balled, written by F. W. H. Bayley Esq.; composed by H. R. Bishop (New York: Bourne, [1827])


"SONGS OF AN EXILE (No. 1) THE DREAM", The Australian (8 November 1838), 3

"SONGS OF AN EXILE (No. 3)", The Australian (29 November 1838), 3

"SONGS OF AN EXILE (No. 4) THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER (From Myall's Creek)", The Australian (13 December 1838), 4

"The vase, comprising songs for music and poems by Eliza Hamilton Dunlop", 1814-1866; State Library of New South Wales

29 November 1838

Sydney, NSW

MURPHY, Francis (reporter)

. . . some religious dance on the approach of a new moon



"CANT", The Sydney Herald (27 December 1839), 2 

We recommend the following example of canting nonsense to the special notice of our readers . . . it is abominable to find half educated people sending home such nonsense. They - that is the persons of whom the writer speaks - have baptized some of the native children, and "the whole tribe was present at the ceremony!" What profanation! To think of a tribe of aboriginal natives performing a Corrobora at a christening! It must have been a highly edifying sight . . . Here is the letter, let it speak for itself.

FROM THE WEEKLY FREEMAN'S JOURNAL, JULY 13. "SYDNEY. The folliwing letter, received by a Catholic clergyman in Dublin from his friend, the Rev. Mr Murphy, one of the gentlmen who left this country for the Australian mission in the early part of last year, contains some interesting details on the state of religion in these distant regions:

Sydney, November 29, 1838. MY VERY DEAR OLD FRIEND, I anticipate the pleasure which you will feel at receiving a few lines from one to whom you were so much attached, and who received at your hands so many acts of intention and kindness. At the distance of seventeen thousand miles from each other, I still can never cease to remember the friends amongst whom I commenced my missionary labours . . .

The natives are dwindling away very fast; according as European's go up the country, the natives (who live entirely on kangaroo and fish) retire into the interior, where there are thousands of acres into which no European has ever yet entered. The whole country is covered with wood. I have rode through a forest of thirty miles. The natives are an harmless, inoffensive race. They have no idols, but have some religious dance on the approach of a new moon. I have baptized one of their children; the whole tiibe was present at the ceremony. Several children have been also baptized up the country . . .

Believe me, ever dear Mr. Rochfort, your most affectionate friend, F. MURPHY.

1 December 1838 (date of composition)

13 December 1838 (first published)

Sydney, NSW


I am not grieved a fortune to lose

Air - Roslin Castle [Roslyn Castle] (Dec. 1. 1838)


Source and documentation:

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(13 December 1838), 3


MR. EDITOR, by inserting the following Lines you will greatly oblige the under-signed.

AIR--Roslin Castle.

I am not grieved a Fortune to lose,
Yet love the paths that she doth chose;
First you smil'd, then you frowned,
Until you have another crowned.

Fair Psyche thou enchanting Goddess,
With thy rib what has there been amiss;
Through thou my ambition has been broke,
And my desires bereft of hope.

But Fortune why dost thou me rebuke,
I have no desire to be a Duke;
You have me ill-used and trampled on,
To satisfy the desires of another one.

Steer your course towards the Curtiss,
And prove yourself not amiss;
There you may see the lovely Psyche,
Who disavows all love for thee.

Fortune thou hast done amiss,
You have yielded to a sickly Norriss;
In me you found a manly heart,
From thee I never thought to part.

Farewell for a long while,
Upon thee I ne'er again shall smile;
Deceit embraces thy lovely body,
Away! away! thou false one from me.

Caroline, unto thee I own my love,
And with thee the Ocean I'll rove;
Shouldst thou prove to me non est,
Thy sex I ever shall detest.

Caroline, with thee I'll lead the dance
Our mirth and happiness to enhance.
Let Fortune smile or frown,
Upon thy head I'll place a crown.

Thou shalt find me a whaler,
When storms arise a perfect sailor;
Midst rocks reefs, and even other danger,
Thy constant companion and manager.


"LITERATURE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(13 December 1838), 2

We would seriously recommend Mr. Beverly Suttor to look to his laurels, lest they should be wrenched from his brow almost before they have begun to sit easy. In our advertising columns of to-day our readers will find the maiden effusion of a nautical songster, which, although but the first effort of a youthful Australian sea-poet, nevertheless, contains some touches of which even Mr. Beverly Suttor might be proud. In the equitable spirit which characterized the lays of Dryden when, in former days, he sang the musical praises of St. Cecilia, in the lines:

"Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown:-
He raised a mortal to the skies
She drew an angel down;"

in the same spirit we would say, if Mr. Beverly Suttor is destined to become the Moore of Australia, our embryo poet may well be styled the Colonial Dibdin.

"To the Editor", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (22 December 1838), 3

Tune concordances:

"Roslin Castle", The musical repository (Glasgow: Printed by Alex. Adam, for A. Carrick, 1799), 46

Roslin Castle (Philadelphia: Published by G. Willis, [nd])

Roslyn Castle, melodie favorite transcrite pour piano par W. Vincent Wallace (souvenir d'Ecosse, fantasie de salon) (New York: William Hall and Son, 1856)

23 December 1838

Melbourne, Port Phillip, NSW (VIC)

STOKES, John Lort (reporter)

Corobbery with veiled women



Stokes, volume 1, 284-85

[23 December 1838] . . . At the western extremity of Melbourne is a low round hill, fifty-seven feet above the level of the sea by our observations, and about thirty above the town. There are now none of the aborigines in the neighbourhood of Melbourne; but I learned that some of their old men remember the time when the site of the town was under water, in consequence of one of those sudden inundations that happen in Australia, and are so much in keeping with the other strange things that occur there. Having alluded to the natives, I may here mention a singular custom that came under notice some time after, at the Protectorate in the valley of the Loddon, in the vicinity of Melbourne. Several women were observed having their faces completely concealed by their opossum skin mantles. Not satisfied with this moreover, in passing a party of men, they moved in a sidelong manner, so as to render it impossible, even if the covering came to be displaced, that their faces should be seen. In the evening at the Corobbery, these persons, three in number, were seated in the circle of women, so as to have their backs turned to the dancers or actors, their faces still being wholly concealed. They remained [285] seated, motionless, taking no part in the singing or the gestures of encouragement indulged in by the other women. It was subsequently explained by a protector, that these were women who had daughters betrothed to the men of their tribe, and that during the period of betrothment the mothers are always thus rigidly veiled.

1838 (date of publication)

South Australia (Subject); London, England (place of publication)

The men are . . . extremely fond of dancing



Henry Capper, South Australia: containing hints to emigrants . . . (London: Robert Tyas, 1838), (41), 42 

. . . The protection of the colony has not been overlooked. No danger can reasonably be apprehended from the natives, for it is well ascertained that they are a tractable and inoffensive race when treated with kindness; one tribe, with their wives and children, having already located themselves at Adelaide. Parties of them frequently visit the different houses; they are, for the most part, remarkably well made and muscular, and ready to do any work they are capable of and understand. Their principal employment is fetching wood and water, for which work they are paid in biscuit, of which they are very fond, or any little [42] article of clothing. They are described as possessing great quickness of perception, liveliness of character, and, with a very few exceptions, a consciousness of right and wrong. The men are mild and dignified, expert and patient in the chase, and extremely fond of dancing. The condition of the native tribes and the proper course to be adopted in dealing with them have already come under the consideration of the Commissioners. It has been their duty to guard these people against personal outrage, and to promote among them the spread of civilization and the peaceful and voluntary reception of the Christian religion. The instructions to the Resident Commissioner have been framed to this effect . . .

Butler 1839, 194 


9 and 10 January 1839

George Town and Waterhouse Island, VDL (TAS)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Saw the Natives throw the spear and dance



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 9 and 10 January 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Wednesday 9 January 1839. 5 am arrived at George Town just when the "Shamrock" was getting underweigh. Went on board direct from the boat and the vessel went to sea. Came to an anchor under Waterhouse Island for the night. Mr Gould went on shore on the islet and got birds. Self very unwell.

Thursday 10 January 1839. At daylight got underweigh. At noon anchored off the settlement, landed with Mr Gould and was received with a most hearty welcome from all the inhabitants and officers excepting Dove and Walsh. They gave three hearty and loud cheers, black and white joining therein. This strong mark of affection brought tears in my eyes. . . . Saw the Natives throw the spear and dance. Was pleased with the people. He must have been astonished at the reception I received.

10 January to 14 March 1839

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

Hymns . . .



Gunther, journal entry, 10 January 1839 (Journal 6: January to March 1839, page 2; C N/O 47/11b) 

January 10th. My time at present is much occupied by the study of the Native language; the Young men also read to me for a considerable time this morning. After Evening Prayers I enjoyed much the sight of several Young men, sitting around the table & singing hymns, with much apparent interest. But immediately after I was grieved by Cochrane, by making a very wild & boisterous noise, & causing others to do the same, in consequence of my not allowing them to smoke their pipes in the Prayer room . . .

Gunther, journal entries, 10 and 14 March 1839 (Journal 6, page 5)

March 10. Divine Service attended tolerably well, by Europeans & Natives. In the afternoon, I prevailed on some of the youths to read to me. I was much delighted this evening with Cochrane. I visited them in their hut, after Evening prayers, when he began to repeat to me several verses of the Gospel for the day, which I had just expounded at Prayers . . . He & Bungary asked some questions about Jesus Christ, they both have good memories, & excellent habits; they have made fast progress in reading; but the former takes most interest in religious truths. They & others with them were in a very great humour for singing, and made me sing several hymns with them, out of the College Hymn Book.

[page 6] The 14th of March. The number of my pupils increased today to six; but only three of them were in good earnest. We read for about two hours & concluded with singing several hymns.

26 March 1839

Sydney, NSW

Wake, sons of St. George, from your slumbers awake



"LOCAL NEWS", The Australian (26 March 1839), 2 

Wake, Sons of St. George, from your slumbers awake
Your roses are fading - your glory at stake.
Ask the Thistles, the Shamrocks, the Cornstalks and all
And screw yourselves up to "A Supper and Ball."

But I'd have you take warning by warmhearted Pat
If you find that be blundered in this thing or that;
So "first," if you'd see us with coats on our backs,
Send the "oil" to tbe Devil and light us with "wax."

Next, I trust that no tne Officer, high in command,
Will whisper Piano to soften "the Band" -
Bid their Fiddlers remember that catgut is dear,
And their "Fifers" reflect, we've a "Drum" to our ear.

Next - away with your new Yankee ices and stuff,
The Ladies (God bless 'em) are frozen enough;
Sure the best way to brighten their glances, 'tis plain
Is to burrow the sparkles, that mount from "Champagne."

O 'twere hard if the grown in g[?] France
Would'nt quicken the heels in the "gallop" or dance
And only impart it with proper address,
Folks would talk, of more things than "the westher" I guess.

But the ghost of exclusion must walk far away,
And Colonial bickering, sleep "till next day;"
Etiquette must unlace her - and e'en the great "O,"
Must smile twice as often, and bow twice as low.

The Governor (Heaven His Majesty bless!)
Shall shine forth again in the Captain's full dress;
But I'd venture to hint - if a hint were not wrong -
Thut his stay "might" be "longer" - his speech not "so long."

Last - let redcoats, and bluecoats, and blackcoats and all,
Reflect - 'tis to dance that folks come to a Ball;
So pray let no fair-ones have cause to be dull,
And O, ye polite ones, "the wall flowers cull!"

Then rise from your slumbers ye sons of beefsteak,
Give to Sandy his reel, and to Paddy his wake;
Let us shew how St. George too can welcome a friend,
And let nobody stay for "the fight at the end."


This topical local song was evidently composed in response to the recent St. Patrick's Day ball and supper, and apparently also in part response to a letter to the editor published in The Australian (see below). The English tune known as Derry Down (or Liberty Hall) is perhaps most likely to have come to mind of colonists wanting to sing these lyrics, repeating the final line as the chorus. Villikins and his Dinah also fits them well, but since it only became popular later (dating perhaps from no earlier than 1850) it is highly unlikely that the author or his audience would have known it yet.

But another tune of the same metre ( current in the colony at the time would probably have suited equally well.


"ST. PATRICK'S DAY", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (20 March 1839), 2 

"ST. PATRICK'S BALL. TO THE EDITOR", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (22 March 1839), 2 

28 March 1839

Melbourne, Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

A grand corrobora



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 28 March 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Thursday 28 March 1839. 11 am went to the entertainment given by me to the Native Tribes: Waverong, Boomerong, Port Phillip Aborigines, and the Daung.ger.rong - Goulburn Blacks, between 4 and 500. Refreshment was also provided: choice wines and viands for the respectable white inhabitants. Six tents were provided for the white visitants. All the respectable inhabitants were present on this occasion all in best attire . . . I served out the dinner to the Natives. Mrs. Dredge and Thomas assisted a little. Very slow. After dinner the Natives engaged in different amusements: racing for tommahawks which I gave them; climbing a greasy pole for handkerchiefs; throwing the spear. In the evening corrobery and a grand display of fire works. The white inhabitants, of which there were a large assembly behaved very orderly, and the entertainment went off with exclamation. The natives highly pleased altho much difficulty wasd experienced in allaying their suspicions. They having been told by the depraved whites that the feast was a decoy where they would be prisoned or surrounded and sent off to VDL and be shot. This was what I had expected and it therefore caused me no manner of surprise.

[News], Port Phillip Gazette (30 March 1839), 3 

The Blacks, it appears, having been generally informed of the characters and duties of the gentlemen sent over to protect them, had made a simultaneous move throughout the country with the evident desire of forming a nearer acquaintance with their white friends. Nearly four hundred of them having collected, Mr. Robinson considered it an advisable method of gaining their confidence to give them a grand fete, the programme of which should be a feed followed by a corroborie. Thursday being the day appointed, a large concourse of spectators began to throng the ground; at the hour of four in the afternoon large rations of beef aud bread were liberally distributed on all sides, which being rapaciously swallowed, not without some snarling objections raised by the lean dogs as to their due share in the gorge, different parties were induced to run over a given course for tomahawks, knives, &c , which with attempts to climb a greasy pole formed the whole of the days' amusement. At night, after much palaver, some forty of the least lazy were persuaded to show off in their native dance, which concluding by ten o'clock the assembly broke up. There was much difficulty from want of interpreters to discover the impressions made upon the aboriginals; but if we might judge by outward signs, they seemed well satisfied of the good intentions of their friends, and willing to confide their interests into the hands of the Protectors.

"To the Editor", Port Phillip Gazette (17 April 1839), 4 

Sir, - Some person or persons having maliciously spread a report amongst the blacks that the grand fete given by the Protectors, was for the purpose of entrapping them, &c., and the gentlemen Protectors having taken upon themselves to charge me as the author of such base conduct, I beg leave through the medium of your paper to lay the following statement before the public. On the afternoon of last Sunday, I took a walk to the blacks' camp, when I met Mr. Robinson, the chief Protector, with whom I am personally acquainted; during our conversation I informed Mr. R., that the blacks had been telling me that some white person had told them, that he, Mr. R. would serve them the same as the Van Diemen's Land blacks were served, viz., by taking them away from their native country. This statement of the blacks happened at the time when they were about to commence a fight, when Mr. Robinson to dissuade them, said rather in an angry tone, if you do fight I will put you in gaol; a person leaving Mr. R. at this moment with a message (I presume) to one of the other gentlemen protectors, the blacks immediately conjectured that it was a message for the military and constables, for the purpose of putting his threat into execution. Some of them stated their intention to me of taking to the bush directly, and the rumours which had been spread amongst them of the intentions of Mr. Robinson, became a general conversation throughout the camp, and a number of them began to get themselves in readiness to take to the bush; seeing this I went up to them and dissuaded them as well as I could from it, and also explained Mr. R's intentions towards them, which were that he was their friend, and therefore did not like to see them fighting. On Wednesday evening being the night before the grand fete, I went up to see the blacks' corroborie. On that evening I got the first information of the grand fete, through a local newspaper. It will be remembered by some of the inhabitants of Melbourne, that on the occasion of His late Majesty's birthday, a great number of blacks were assembled round the Settlement, I proposed to the few inhabitants then in the Settlement, giving them a feast; this was done by each subscribing his quantum of flour, meat, tea and sugar; the fete was given in what is now the central part of Melbourne, being then a bush . . .

Having trespassed so far on your pages, I shall conclude without making any farther remarks, leaving it to the public, who are well aware of the interest I have taken in the blacks, to exculpate me from the foul accusation laid to my charge. "La querison n'est pas si prompte que la blessure." I have the honor to be, Sir, Your's respectfully, C. L. T. De VILLIERS.

"Port Phillip", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (19 April 1839), 2 

"Port Phillip", The Colonist (20 April 1839), 3

IN our last, at the end of our extracts under this head, we announced the arrival of Melbourne papers up to the 30th ultimo, from which we now continue to select . . .

ABORIGINAL FETE. The Blacks, it appears, having been generally informed of the characters and duties of the gentlemen sent over to protect them, had made a simultaneous move throughout the country with an evident desire of forming a nearer acquaintance with their white friends. Nearly four hundred of them having collected, Mr. Robinson considered it an advisable method of gaining their confidence to give them a grand fete, the programme of which should be a feed followed by a corroborie. Thursday being the day appointed, a large concourse of spectators began to throng the ground; at the hour of four in the afternoon large rations of beef and bread were liberally distributed on all aides, which being rapaciously swallowed, not without some snarling objections raised by the lean dogs as to their due share in the gorge, different parties were induced to run over a given course for tomahawks, knives, &c., which, with attempts to climb a greasy pole, formed the whole of the day's amusement. At night, after much palaver, some forty of the least lazy were persuaded to show off in their native dance, which concluding by ten o'clock tihe assembly broke up. There was much difficulty from want of interpreters to discover the impressions made upon the aboriginals; but if we might judge by outward signs, they seemed well satisfied of the good intentions of their friends, and willing to confide their interests into the hands of the Protectors.

"Port Phillip", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (20 April 1839), 2 

WE have Port Phillip papers to the 3rd instant. On Thursday, the 28th ult., Mr. ROBINSON, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, gave a grand feast to between three and four hundred of the Blacks in the neighbourhood of Melbourne. The feast was succeeded by foot races, throwing of spears, boomerangs, &c., and was finally concluded with a grand corrobora, The Port Phillip Gazette, which seems to imitate The Sydney Herald even in its "black brute" tirades, attempts, but without success, to throw ridicule on a scene which must have been highly interesting.

"PORT PHILLIP", The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register (October 1839), 135

On the 28th March, Mr. Robinson, the chief protector of aborigines, gave a grand feast to between three and four hundred of the blacks in the neighbourhood of Melbourne. The feast was succeeded by foot races, throwing of spears, boomerangs, &c., and was concluded by a grand corrobora.

"THE ABORIGINES. To the Editor", Port Phillip Gazette (1 April 1840), 2 

SIR, - I was much gratified on perceiving by your paper of the 25th instant, that the settlers in the district of Geelong have resolved to appeal to His Excellency the Governor on the subject of "the Blacks;" and my gratification was very much increased by the humane spirit which pervades their memorial . . .

. . . Supposing then that their right to at least a partial supply of food is acknowledged, the next question comes to be - - where, and on what terms is it to be distributed to them? Are they to be invited to the vicinity of this and the sister township and treated ad libitum, being called on in return merely to "Corrobory" for the amusement of the townsfolks? Are they to be encouraged to parade our streets and enter our houses in utter outrage of decency, to the annoyance and disgust of our families? Are all those abominations to be perpetrated which are well known to have been carried on during their residence in this neighbourhood, after the grand Corrobory of last year? God forbid! The farther the blacks are kept from any concentrated white population, the better for them selves and the better for us . . .

4 April 1839

Port Phillip, NSW (VIC)


ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Arranmilly (corroboree) given for colonial dignitaries



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 4 April 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

[4 April 1839] . . . Her ladyship having expressed a wish to see the Port Phillip natives' corrobbery, I attended to the natives camp and succeeded in getting up a corroberry, among the Waverong natives . . . It was the best corrobbery I have seen, but Lady Franklin did not come . . . Very late in the evening her ladyship and suite arrived . . . Her ladyship much pleased with her reception. Said to me it was very interesting.

Jane Franklin, journal; Russell 2002, 30

[4 April 1839] . . . About eight or nine o'clock we went out to see Corroberry of the natives who are encamped in the outskirts and who, consisting of the tribes usually frequenting this port and of several more distant ones, are supposed to amount just ust now to about four or five hundred. The Coroberry of one of the stranger tribes was over before we arrived on the ground. After a long delay during which the men were painting themselves the home tribes began their dances. For this purpose they had thrown aside their skins or blankets and were perfectly naked (except bundles of heavy fringes hanging round their loins like aprons), their breasts, arms and thighs, and legs were marked with broad white belts of pipe clay and borders of the same were traced round their eyes. Round their ancles [sic] they wore large ruffs of the gum tree branches and in each hand they held a piece of hardwood which they were constantly employed in striking against each other. The leader of the band was an elderly man, dressed in a blanket who stood with his face towards a group of women squatted on the grass, and who beat time with their hands on some folded opossum skins, thus producing a dull, hollow accompaniment. They sang also the whole time, in the style of the. Flinders Island people, led by the old man.

Bibliography and resources:

Clark 1998, volume 1, 24

Russell 2002, 30

Clark and Heydon 2004, 21

5 April 1839 (first notice, first performance)

Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney, NSW

GAUTROT, Joseph (composer)

Barcarole with variations

On a discordant violin composed by himself [Gautrot], in the style of Paganini

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS)


[Advertisement]: "ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Sydney Herald (5 April 1839), 2

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. THIS EVENING, April 5, 1839, the French Operatic Company will have the honor of representing THE DINNER TO MADELON, or, THE EAR CLIPPER, a Vaudeville in one Act, by Desaugiers . . . After which, THE BUFFO, Opera Buffo, in one Act . . . In the course of the evening, Monsieur Gautrot, will execute, on a discordant violin, a barcarole, with variations composed by himself, in the style of Paganini . . . The evening's performance will terminate by THE CHAMPAGNE PHILTRE, a Vaudeville in one Act, by Mellesville . . .

6, 16, and 18 April 1839

Between Hutt River and Water Peak, WA

INDIGENOUS (Swan River district)

KAIBIR (singer)

GREY, George (reporter)

Native songs sung by Kaiber

See also Songs on Miago's departure and return (1838)

Sources and documentation:

Grey 1841, volume 2, 25

[6 April 1839] . . . Although we had walked very slowly many of the party were completely exhausted, and one or two of the discontented ones pretended to be dreadfully in want of water, notwithstanding they carried canteens and had only walked eight miles since leaving the bank of a river; I was therefore obliged to halt, and could not get them to move for three hours . . . Mr. Smith, with his usual spirit, was for pushing on, although his strength was inadequate to the task. I laid under the shade of a bush lost in gloomy reveries and temporary unpopularity; Kaiber by my side lulled me with native songs composed for the occasion, and in prospective I saw all the dread sufferings which were to befall the doomed men who sat around me, confident of their success under the new plan; but like all prophets I was without honour amongst my own acquaintance; and after considering the matter under every point of view I thought it better for the moment to succumb to the general feeling, yet to lose no opportunity on every subsequent occasion of endeavouring to rouse the party into a degree of energy suited to our desperate circumstances.

Grey 1841, volume 2, 70

[16 April 1839] . . . Poor Kaiber alone lay crouching by my fire, occasionally feeding it with fresh fuel and chanting to himself these two songs, in his own language:

Thither, mother oh, I return again,
Thither oh, I return again.

The other had been sung by the mother of Miago, a native who had accompanied Captain Wickham in the Beagle from the Swan River, and it had made a great impression on the natives.

Whither does that lone ship wander,
My young son I shall never see again.
Whither does that lone ship wander.

Grey 1841, volume 2, 86

(83) [18 April 1839] . . . We now entered upon a more hilly country than we had traversed yesterday; the hills were steep, being composed of sand and recent limestone, whilst the valleys were thickly wooded with grass trees and stunted Banksias. The general line of route I followed was S. by E., and we had not travelled more than nine miles when we came suddenly upon a valley, with a river running rapidly through it. The sight of this cheered us up; and when on tasting the water we found it excellent, and saw adhering to the banks a species of freshwater muscle [mussel], (Unio,) called by the natives Ma-rayl-ya, our joy was complete. I proceeded therefore to collect wood for my fire, and ordered Kaiber to make haste and gather some of these muscles, an order which, considering the hungry state he was in, I imagined he would gladly have obeyed; but to my astonishment he refused positively to touch one of them, and evidently regarded them with a superstitious dread and abhorrence. My arguments to induce him to move were all thrown away; he constantly affirmed that if he touched these shell-fish, through their agency the "Boyl-yas" [native sorcerers] would acquire some mysterious influence over him, which would end in his death. He could not state a recent instance of any ill effects having happened from handling or catching the muscle; but when I taunted him with this, he very shrewdly replied, that his inability to do so only arose from the fact of nobody being "wooden-headed enough" to meddle with them, and that he intended to have nothing whatever to do with them. This much he assured me was certain: that a very very long time ago, some natives had eaten them, and that bad spirits had immediately killed them for so doing. Kaiber was a great deal too sensible a fellow to (85) be allowed to remain a prey to so ridiculous a superstition as this was; I therefore ordered him instantly to go and bring some of these muscles to me; that I intended to eat them, but that he could in this respect please himself. He hereupon, after thinking for a moment or two, got up to obey me, and walked away for this purpose; but I heard him, whilst occupied in the task, lamenting his fate most bitterly. It was true, he said, that he had not died either of hunger or thirst, but this was all owing to his courage and strong sinews, yet what would these avail against the supernatural powers of the boyl-yas. "They will eat me at night, whilst, worn out by fatigue, I must sleep." Amidst these and sundry other similar exclamations, he brought the muscles to me: by this time my fire was prepared, and in a few minutes I was making such a meal as the weak state of my stomach would admit of. No inducement of mine could, however, prevail upon Kaiber to share with me, and I therefore handed him the remains of the cockatoo . . . In the afternoon we travelled about three miles in a S. by E. direction, and then came to the bed of a small stream, which ran from east to west, but as now merely a chain of pools. Across the bed, where we passed it, was a native weir. Our route (86) during the whole evening lay over hills of a nature similar to those we passed yesterday. We did not halt until it was so dark that we could not see to walk, and then just dropped at the spot where we ceased to move. The men made their fire, and I lighted mine from theirs; but scarcely was this done ere the rain fell in torrents. I had no blankets or protection of any kind against this, and Kaiber was in the same predicament; so that when the fire was extinguished, our position became pitiable in the extreme, for I know not if I ever before suffered so much from cold; and to add to my annoyance, I every now and then heard Kaiber chattering to himself, under its effects, rather than singing, -

"Oh wherefore did he eat the muscles?
Now the boyl-yas storms and thunder make;
Oh wherefore would he eat the muscles?"

At last I so completely lost my temper, that I roared out, "You stone-headed fellow, Kaiber, if you talk of muscles again, I'll beat you." "What spoke I this morning?" replied Kaiber; "you are stone-headed. We shall be dead directly; wherefore eat you the muscles?" This was beyond what my patience in my present starved state could endure, so I got up and began to grope about for a stick or something to throw in the direction of the chattering blockhead; but he begged me to remain quiet, promising faithfully to make no more mention of the muscles. I therefore squatted down, in a state of the most abject wretchedness.

Grey 1841, volume 2, 310

9 April 1839 (first notice)

Hobart Town, VDL (TAS)

LOGAN, Maria (composer)

STEWART, Robert (songwriter, lyricist)

ELLISTON, William Gore (printer, publisher)

The vow that's breathed in solitude (song)

The vow that's breathed in solitude, the words by Mr. [Robert] Stewart, the music arranged by Mrs. Logan

([Hobart Town]: Elliston, [1839])



"Colonial Music", The Austral-Asiatic Review, Tasmanian and Australian Advertiser (9 April 1838), 7 

Who shall say that the march of civilization, one of the greatest blessings which man can know, is now rapidly progressing here, when we find a gentleman finishing the poetry, and a lady the music of a beautiful little composition recently published by Mr. Elliston. The melody and the harmony are agreeably creditable to the taste and ability of Mrs. Logan. The impression, we understand, consists but of a limited number, which will of course soon be disposed of.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (26 April 1839), 2

A song, entitled "The vow that's breathed in solitude" - the words by Mr. Stewart - the music arranged by Mrs. Logan - has been forwarded to us, and, according to our judgment, affords a very creditable specimen of "immortal music married unto verse." This is the first Van Diemen's Land melody it has been our fortune to encounter, and is well worthy of being hailed by all the lovers of song and of Tasmania, with all the gladness and rejoicing of a new birth.

Also: Hobart Town Advertiser (10 May 1839)

We must not pass lightly by the music of Mrs. Logan, a lady who has the merit of being the first musical compositor in the colony.

[Editorial], The Hobart Town Courier (17 April 1840), 4

We are not blessed with hurdy-gurdies or barrel-organs in this hemisphere, but claim some exemption from the tomb of oblivion, in an occasional offering to the muses, which passes through the colony with the swiftness of the Highland fire-brand, visiting the mansion and the cottage, and thereby indicating a taste for the "tender and true". We allude more particularly to The vow that's breathed in solitude

18 April 1839

Murray River, NSW

JEM (dancer)

FRANKLIN, Jane (reporter)

Jem invited to dance



Jane Franklin, letter to John Franklin, 20 April 1839; Russell 2002, 62

Jem was invited on the evening of our arrival to dance at the fire but he seemed to have little inclination for it, whenever he began to attempt it the dogs barked at him, and he seemed as much afraid of the dogs as our horses at the Ovens were of his own black fellows . . .

Bibliography and resources:

O. Havard, "Lady Franklin's visit to NSW, 1839, extracts from letters to Sir John Franklin", Royal Australian Historical Society Journal 29 (1944), 303

30 April 1839

Port Phillip district, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Much pleased with the singing of the natives



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 30 April 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Tuesday 30 April 1839 . . . 11 am sent my boat for Reverend Mr. Orton. Mr. O. and Tuckfield arrived. Conferred with them relative to the Wesleyan mission to the Australian natives. Pm. Mr. Orton held a religious service at my establishment and addressed the VDL natives. Mr. Tuckfield prayed. Much pleased with the singing of the natives. Mr. O and T dined with my family, and left immediately after dinner much gratified. Pm. Dr. Cussen called. Mrs Robinson convalescent. 5 pm called, accompanied by Miss R. and Miss Eliza and Thomas and Langhorn. Mr. Langhorn refused to sell the bullocks to Thomas and Dredge the assistants.

8 May 1839 (date of publication)

Adelaide, SA

South Australian melodies no. 1

Timothy Short's melody ("To the fight 'mong the black men our young hero creeps"); Tune - She is far from the land

Source and documentation:

"ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE", Southern Australian (8 May 1839), 3 


To the Editor of the Southern Australian.
SHORT COTTAGE, May 6, 1839.

MR. EDITOR, - Scotland has her poetical melodies, thanks to him who "Guided his plough along the mountain side;" Ireland has her melodies, thanks to one who has done more than sing for his bleeding country - who has argued, suffered, and would, had the necessity arisen, have fought for her liberties. The Japanese, for aught I know to the contrary, have their melodies. Cats we know have - that is English cats, who are used to society. I was myself concerned in presenting the English public with a series of Esquimaux melodies, and pray, Mr. Editor, how is it that South Australia has not yet melodies of her own?

"He who hath not sweet music in his soul"

as Milton, or Shakspeare, or Peter Pindar, or Homer, or Virgil, or Tom Hood, or Dryden, or Pope, or Chaucer, or Spenser, or Burns, or Stephen Mildew, or Tasso, or Ariosto, or Byron, or Camoens, or Wordsworth, or Anacreon, or Dante, or Lady Blessington, or Petrarch, or Miss Landon, or Shelley, or Timothy Tomkins, or Sappho, or Coleridge, or Voltaire, or Boileau, or Lamartine, or Leigh Hunt, or Lafontaine, or Scott, or Thomson, or Jenkinson, or Pickwick, or Lady Barrymore, or Sternhold, or Hopkins, or Smith, or Jones, or Wilhams, or Davis, or Klatterandkutawayklattowski, or somebody else has said:

"He who hath not sweet music in his soul.
Should have it put there quickly - that's the whole."

I am not certain that I have quoted the last line correctly. Well then, Mr. Editor, my object is to produce a series of melodies purely South Australian, and accordingly I hereby (with your august permission) commence the said series, which I pledge myself shall continue until it terminates. I have thought it advisable to adopt as models the melodies most prized in the land of our ancestors. Of course I shall apply these as passing or "coming events cast their shadows before." There will be one especial advantage in this. The young ladies of the colony will be able to sing the songs of the new country to the tunes of the old.

The first of the South Australian Melodies has been constructed on the model of one of Tom Moore's Irish Melodies. In fairness to my old friend the author, I insert his lines; at the same time I am quite sure that the superiority of my own will be apparent. The following is:-


She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps.
And lovers around her are sighing;
But coldly she turns from their gaze, and weeps,
For her heart in his grave is lying.

She sings the wild songs of her dear native plains,
Every note which he loved awaking.
Ah ! little they think who delight in her strains.
How the heart of the minstrel is breaking !

He had lived for his love, for his country he died;
They were all that to life had entwined him;
Nor soon shall the tears of his country be dried. Nor long will his love stay behind him!

Oh ! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest,
When they promise a glorious morrow;v They'll-shine o'er her sleep, like a smile from the west,
From her own loved Island of sorrow!

The circumstances commemorated in the foregoing occurred many years ago. The very important occurrences of Thursday last gave occasion to:


To the fight 'mong the black men our young hero creeps,
To look like a governor trying;
Askance at the waddies and spears he peeps,
While his tongue is, as usual, lying.

He lectures the blacks on their dear native plains,
His own little heart meanwhile quaking:
Ah! little he heeds, as his sweet voice he strains,
How the sides of the black men are shaking.

If he long ago by his country had died;
If aught had too closely entwined him;
Not a man, nor a woman, nor child, would have cried,
From sorrow or love left behind him!

Oh ! hand him to night the guitar he loves best;
And wash him and curl him to morrow;
And oil him and scent him, and have him well drest,
And "to Jericho" send him - to borrow!

Trusting, Mr. Editor, that my plan for furnishing South Australia, at this early period of her existence, with a series of melodies purely colonial will receive your approbation, I remain your constant reader,

Musical concordances:

A selection of Irish melodies, with symphonies and accompaniments by Sir John Stevenson Mus.Doc. and characteristic words by Thomas Moore esq. [number 4] (London: J. Power, [1811]), 88 (DIGITISED)


[Editorial], Southern Australian (1 May 1839), 2 

24 May 1839 (first notice)

28 May 1839 (first performance)

Theatre Royal, Campbell Street, Hobart Town, VDL (TAS)

GAUTROT, Joseph (composer)

Variations on the violin

O dolce concento with variations

["Das klinget so herrlich", from Die Zauberflöte by Mozart] variations composed by Mons. Gautrot for Madame Gautrot (soprano)



[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (24 May 1839), 3

GRAND CONCERT. UNDER DISTINGUISHED PATRONAGE. MONSIEUR AND MADAME GAUTROT HAVE the honour to announce that their Concert will take place on Tuesday next, the 28th May, 1839, at the Theatre Royal, Campbell-street. By the kind permission of Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott, the Band of the 51st Regiment will attend.

Overture - Militaire.
1. Air, Il Barbiere de Seviglia - 'Una Voce', Rossini. Madame Gautrot.
2. Variations on the Violin, Gautrot. Monsieur Gautrot.
3, Air from 'Tancredi,' Rossini. Madame Gautrot.
4. Solo, Clarionet. M. Reichenberg.
5. Air, Francais ( Le plaisir des Dames), Auber. Madame Gautrot.
Symphony - Militaire.
1.- 'O Dolce Concento,' with variations, composed by Mons. Gautrot. Madame Gautrot.
2. - Quartette, Instrumental.
3. - Air with variations, De Beriot. Monsieur Gautrot.
4. - Air, Francais, from ' Pre Au Clercs,' Herrold. Monsieur and Madame Gautrot.
Finale - Rule Britannia.
Mr. Leffler will preside at the Pianoforte. The Concert will commence at Eight o'Clock. Tickets 7s 6d each - Children's do 5s each. To be had of Monsieur Gautrot, Ship Hotel; Mr. Tegg, Circulating Library; Mr. Guesdon, Musical Repository; Mr. Hedger, Confectioner ; and Mr. Lester, Ship Inn.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (28 May 1839), 8

"THE CONCERT", The Hobart Town Courier (31 May 1839), 2

The Concert of Monsieur and Madame Gautrot took place at the Theatre on Tuesday evening last, and as if to punish us for making a mistake about his temple and to vindicate hit offended deity, that two-headed gentleman Janus had nearly afforded us a practical illustration of the absence of concord, which we had predicted as likely to attend upon the doors of the Theatre being thrown open, and convinced us that a more safe remedy to have produced any such effect would (in one sense at least) have been to have kept them closed. We were led to this conclusion by a very extraordinary scene which was enacted in the boxes previously to the commencement of the performance. The plot was as follows. The box appropriated for the reception of the Governor and his party was one in the centre of the tier, the front row of which a party of young ladies, disappointed in procuring seats in another part of the Theatre, unhesitatingly took possession. The circumstance excited some slight surprise, and when at length it was announced that His Excellency had arrived, all eyes were most anxiously directed to the fair objects of attraction who were determined to dispute the possession of the Governor's box. ln vain were the luminaries borne before the Lieutenant-Governor - in Vain did Monsieur Gautrot herald His Excellency with all that innate polite, ness which distinguishes the French character, while unspeakable surprise agitated his features - in vain the imploring looks of the Aide-de-Camp and the ardent solicitations of friends-all were exhausted upon the tacit indifference of the party who remained in the full pride of the victory which they had so gracefully achieved. We are informed that there was a gentleman of the party also in the box, who exhibited a similar spirit of independence and indifference to all entreaty. As if to make the conduct the more conspicuous, on the box itself was seen the inscription "EMOLLIT MORES" in large letter, which we may translate for the benefit of those whom it most concerns, into the REFINEMENT of manners! After pausing for some time at the top of the box, with Lady Pedder on his arm, His Excellency turned round to a different part of the Theatre, when, after some little confusion, and a clatter of seats, we had at length the satisfaction of seeing him occupy a position whence he acknowledged the warm greetings of the audience. We are willing to believe that some unfortunate mistake must have occurred, for otherwise a more outrageous insult was never offered to the representative of royalty. Had His Excellency left the Theatre, we are quite sure he would have been accompanied by the majority of persons present; but not wishing to prejudice the interests of Monsieur and Madame Gautrot, he consented to take his seat in another box, and in so doing showed himself superior to any feeling of temporary annoyance, which so gross a violation of all decorum was calculated to excite. The vulgar triumph was thus disappointed, and the audience evinced their sense of the treatment by most enthusiastically and repeatedly cheering His Excellency at the close of the evening's entertainment. There was but one sentiment pervading all present, whether politically opposed, or otherwise, to His Excellency's government; and if we lament that such an occurrence took place, our regret is materially diminished by the universal expression of public feeling which it called forth. The exception is said to prove the rule, and it never did more effectually than in the present instance. Thus much concerning this part of the performance. We are happy to revert with more satisfaction to the voice of Madame and the violin of Monsieur Gautrot. Madame sings with great taste, but the compass of her voice is too powerful for a small theatre. Some of the tones are exceedingly rich, but as she proceeds it seems to want more melody and modulation, and its great power in so limited a space astonishes sometimes more than it delights. We were, however, much gratified by several of her performances, which we hope to see repeated before her departure from this colony, as they serve to remind us that we are not altogether excluded from the excellencies of the old world. Madame Gautrot was applauded enthusiastically throughout the evening, and one or two airs which she sung were vigorously encored. With regard to Monsieur Gautrot - in his case, music may be said most fairly to be married to song. His execution on the violin is rapid, and at the same time possessing that ease which denotes a thorough command over the instrument. We must not omit to mention, that in the absence of Mr. Leffler, who was to have presided over the pianoforte, Mrs. Logan consented at once to relieve Monsieur and Madame Gautrot from the embarrassment in which they must otherwise have been placed. The audience failed not to appreciate the kindness, and she was led on the stage amidst universal applause. Through the courtesy of Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott, the fine band of the 51st was permitted to be present, and relieved the interludes with several delightful pieces of music.


After sailing from their former base in Batavia for a short Sydney season in March 1839 as members of a small French operatic company, violinist Joseph Gautrot and his wife, a soprano, arrived in Hobart Town on 16 May. Their first Hobart concert was noticed less for the music and performances than for some ticketholders who refused to give up the seats they had occupied in the governor's allotted box. In Sydney, the Gautrots' colleague Mons. Henri, a tenor, had been advertised to sing the "ANDANTE DE MOZART O DOLCE CONCENTO". Another popular set of vocal variations on this air from Mozart's The Magic Flute was popularised by Angelica Catalani (either her own, or by G. G. Ferrari) as an insertion aria in productions of Fioravanti's La Virtuose in Puntiglio (London, 1808) and Paisiello's La Frascatana.


Catalani/Ferrari variations (1808), arranged for piano or harp, in later US lithographic reprint (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (22 March 1839), 3

"Shipping Intelligence", The Hobart Town Courier (17 May 1839), 2

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (24 May 1839), 2

The Theatre, which has so long and so obstinately remained closed to amusement, is, we are happy to perceive, at length about to open its doors - like the Temple of Janus - to concord. This is promised to us next week by Mons. and Madame Gautrot, two distinguished artistes, who have just arrived from Sydney, and who have announced their intention of giving a Concert next Tuesday. The lovers of vocal and instrumental music are promised a rich treat upon the occasion; and we arc confident, that as such visits to our colony are like those of angels, "few and far between," the attendance will in every way correspond to the expectations of Mons. Gautrot, whose reputation as a violin player, is understood to be of the very highest order.

Jane Franklin, letter to John Franklin from Sydney, 15 June 1839; ed. O. Havard, "Lady Franklin's visit to NSW, 1839, extracts from letters to Sir John Franklin", Royal Australian Historical Society Journal 29 (1944), 333; also Russell 2002

. . . I suppose the French musicians are now at Hobarton. Sir George told me they were horrible. They contrived to get up one concert at Sydney, but their after attempt was a total failure, as well as their French plays . . .

12 June 1839 (date of letter)

Adelaide, SA

Urging them to get up a corroborie



"THE NATIVES", South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register (15 June 1839), 4 

SIR . . . I have for some time observed very closely the intercourse between the natives and Europeans, and I do not hesitate to say that by far the greater part of the bad conduct so much complained of by some of our colonists, as exhibited by their sable brethren, lies at their own door. We are too apt, Sir, to look on the native as our inferior, and to usurp an undue authority over him . . .

Another great evil is produced by the frequent visits to their huts at night, of persons (to say the least) of light character. Even men of some standing in the colony, and others in a state of intoxication, may frequently be seen urging them to get up a corroborie, and offering them white money and grog as an inducement; at the same time using most improper and often very obscene language. To a drunken man under such circumstances, it would be useless to speak: I have myself done so to others, and never without effect, though sometimes with a little snarling; and in two cases, indeed, I was glad to see the natives themselves rebuke the whites . . .

. . . Yours, &c, SCRIBBLER. Adelaide, 12th June, 1839.

15 June 1839 (date of publication)

Guildford, WA; Perth, WA (place of publication)

Corroborra of a peculiar character



[Editorial], The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (15 June 1839), 94 

IT has singularly occurred, that at this season of the year more depredations and outrages have bean committed by the natives than at any other . . .

The circumstance of calling upon the aborigines to assist in the apprehension of the perpetrators of the recent murder at York, is highly politic, as it relieves us from any apprehensions of retaliation which might follow their just punishment. This is the first notice which has appeared in the the native language, and as many settlers are now familiar with it, there will be found but little difficulty in making the aborigines acquainted with its purport. This notice as further calculated to have a wholesome influence upon the mind of the savage, as nothing surprises him more than the agency of "paper talk," as he terms our written or printed communications . . .

Some depredations, we hear, were committed by the natives a few days ago on the Upper Swan, at the farm of G. F. Moore, Esq., where they have received every kindness . . .

A singular story has reached us connected with the affair at York, which, unless it is further confirmed, we feel reluctant to give publicity to in detail; the principal incident, however, may be told, as it implicates more widely than we had imagined several tribes in the commission of the murder. Even the Guildford tribe are said to have been connected with the Dale and other tribes in this outrage. A few nights before the circumstance was reported at Guildford, a grand corroborra was held by the natives of a peculiar character, which excited some suspicion, and in the morning not a single native was to be seen, and the event too strongly confirmed the correctness of the surmise, that some mischief was contemplated. It only astonishes us that the parties who entertained this suspicion did not communicate it to the Resident of the Upper Swan. It is a heartless piece of gratuitous information now that it is found too late to avert the calamity . . .

"MURDER COMMITTED BY NATIVES", The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (20 July 1839), 114 

. . . At the corrobora held at or near Guildford by the York and Guildford natives, it has been satisfactorily ascertained the plan was concerted for the murder of Mrs. Cook and child at a remote farm in the York district. We have been disposed to think lightly of different tribes acting in consort against the white population, but most assuredly the two recent attempts, if not immediately checked, would have furnished ground for apprehension on our part, and a certain encouragement to the savage . . .

Prevention has ever been found better than the most approved remedial measures; the most remote intimation of anticipated violence on the part of the blacks should therefore claim attention from the proper authorities, and we hold it the imperative duty of all those who, from their more frequent intercourse with the blacks, have opportunities of becoming acquainted with their movements, to make known to the nearest Resident any apprehensions they may entertain of projected outrage. If timely notice had been given of the corrobora at Guildford, - which was well known to many, as well as its guilty purpose, - we can but think the subsequent calamities would have been prevented . . .

[News item] and "CAPTURE OF A NATIVE IMPLICATED IN THE MURDER OF MRS. COOK", The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (6 June 1840), 2 

"EXECUTION OF TWO ABORIGINAL NATIVES", The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (18 July 1840), 3 

THE warrant for the execution of the two Natives, Doodjeep and Barrabong, having received the signature of His Excellency Governor Hutt, the Sheriff, G. F. Stone, Esq., proceeded to carry the sentence into effect . . .

. . . Notwithstanding the justice of the sentence is fully acknowledged, some doubts are entertained of the effect a public execution will have upon the Aborigines generally; whether this example will deter them from committing offences in future, is questionable. The expressions made use of by the Natives, such as, "What for soldier man, white man, corroborra?" uttered in a half-laughing, half-sympathising tone, confirms our belief that some attempt will be made to retaliate. We may be wrong in forming this opinion, but it behoves the settlers to be on their guard; and they cannot too carefully watch the proceedings of the natives . . .

"SWAN RIVER", The Courier (24 November 1840), 4 

15 June 1839 (date of performance)

Near Perth, WA

GREY, George (recorder, reporter)

Funeral songs for Mulligo


Source and documentation:

Grey 1841, 2, 320-321

June 15. Soon after daybreak I reached the entrance of Mulligo's hut: he was alive but his respiration was scarcely visible. His head rested on his mother's knees, and her withered breasts now rested on his lips as she leant crying over him; other women were seated round, their heads all verging to a common centre over the wasted frame of the dying man; they were crying bitterly and scratching their cheeks, foreheads, and noses with their nails until the blood trickled slowly from the wounds. The men in the front of the huts were busied in finishing off their spears, ready for the coming fight. I stood for some time watching the mournful scene, but other native females soon began to arrive; they came up in small parties, generally by threes, marching slowly forward with their wan-nas (a long stick they use for digging up roots) in their hands; the eldest female walked first, and when they approached within about thirty or forty yards of the hut in which the dying man lay they raised the most piteous cries, and, hurrying their pace, moved rapidly towards the point where the other women were seated . . . CEREMONY ON MULLIGO'S DEATH. As they came up to the bark hut many of them struck it violently with their wan-nas, producing by the blow a dull hollow sound; they then seated themselves in the circle, scratching their faces and joining in mournful chants, of which the one already given above was that most frequently uttered, and which, as I sat by the young men's fire, they slowly repeated to me.

The female relatives standing in the relation of mothers to Mulligo, sang:

Mam-mul, Mam-mul,
My son, my son.

Those in the relation of sister, sang:

Kar-dang, kar-dang.

And the next part was sung indifferently by both of them:

Garro. Nad-joo,
Meela, Nung-a-broo.
Again, I shall
Not see in future.

Then one of the women, having worked herself to a pitch of frenzy, would now and then start up and, standing in front of the hut whilst she waved her wan-na violently in the air, would chant forth dire imprecations against certain boyl-yas, or magicians, or rather wizards, who she believed to be the cause of the death of poor Mulligo. Whilst thus chanting she faced and addressed her words to the men who were grouped around their huts, and it was strange to see the various effects produced on their minds by these harangues working in their savage countenances: one while they sat in mournful silence; again they grasped firmly and quivered their spears; and by-and-bye a general "Ee-Ee" (pronounced in their throat with the lips closed) burst forth as sign of approbation at some affecting part of the speech.

Bibliography and resources:

Perron d'Arc 1869, 248

Voici une strophe d'un des plus courts, fort en vogue dans les forêts de l'Illawara [sic] . . .

19 June 1839 (date of publication)

Melbourne, Port Phillip, NSW (VIC)

Yass, NSW (? place of composition)

BESNARD, Thomas Pope (? singer, songwriter, subject)

"H. K." (songwriter, satirist)

If you were at Yass you may have heard a song (Oh! Squatting we will go)

Song at Yass by Tom Besnard (?)



"ORIGINAL", Port Phillip Gazette (19 June 1839), 4 

"SONG", Commercial Journal and Advertiser (17 July 1839), 3 

"PORT PHILLIP", The Hobart Town Courier (19 July 1839), 4

If ever you were at Yass you may have heard a song,
That showed new chums in settling, were generally wrong;
And Squatting they should go!
On, on they rolled with sheep and cattle along their dreary way,
And staggering on amused themselves with pouring forth their lay.
Oh! Squatting we will go!

The song was made by Tom Besnard, and well he sang it too;
But things are strangely altered now, as I will prove to you.
And Squatting we won't go!
They raised the price of Crown Land a good while ago.
And Settlers left off buying then, as probably you know;
And Squatting they would go!

To check them in squatting, the Government set to work,
And began to use the Squatters worse than Jew or Turk.
Yet Squatting they would go!
And now they're laying on a fresh tax every day;
We are all beginning to see that Squatting will not pay,
And Squatting we won't go!

They have laid a tax on sheep, and calculate the grass they eat;
And if they could, no doubt they would too, lower the price of meat.
So Squatting we won't go!
You may talk of Saxon ewes and Merino rams so pure,
But a Government situation now, is a better thing I'm sure.
So Squatting we won't go!

For if a Squatter come to town, to enjoy a glorious revel,
He's sure to find on his return, his stock all going to the devil.
So Squatting we won't go!
Then there's the cursed blacks too, if they choose to come and bang you,
And you should knock them down, a Protector 'll try to hang you.
So Squatting we won't go!

H. K.


The last stanza clearly refers to the Myall Creek Massacre, on 10 April 1838, and the ensuing executions, on 18 December 1838, of five of the white men found guilty of murder.

July 1839

Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter) - sing



George Augustus Robinson, journal, July 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Dialect Tarng hoo rong July 1839 . . . sing . . .

13 August 1839 (first notice)

Sydney, NSW

REID, James Aquinas (composer)

Oratorio Paradise lost



"Concert for the benefit of the Poor", Australasian Chronicle (13 August 1839), 1s

We have great pleasure in calling the attention of our Readers to Dr. Reid's advertisement in our present number. The object of the Concert would be itself a sufficient argument to induce an attendance; but when Dr. Reid's first-rate talents, both as a composer and director of Concerts, which are not unknown in any part of Europe, are taken into consideration, we feel confident the old Court House will not be too large for the audience. We hope Dr. Reid will be induced to bring forward some of his own compositions on this occasion. There are some beautiful movements in his Oratorio of Paradise Lost, which we think would surprise the ears of the sons of Australia.


Reid's oratorio is almost certainly that mentioned in "Music in Scotland" 1901 below. There is no suggestion that the work was actually performed in Australia, though W. A. Duncan (editor of the Australasian Chronicle), who had known of it and Reid previously in Scotland, suggested it might be.


[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (13 August 1839), 4

Concert. J A. REID, Member of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Music, has the honor to inform the Gentry and the Public of Sydney and its Vicinity, that he intends giving a Concert in the Old Court House, Castlereagh-street, on Wednesday, the 21st August - the proceeds to be applied to the Relief of the Distressed Poor. Particulars in future Advertisements.

"Music in Scotland: A BRIEF HISTORICAL SURVEY", The Musical Times (1 November 1901), 725

. . . In 1833 the Glasgow Amateur Musical Society took part in the Creation. The same oratorio was performed a year later in the Episcopal Chapel by a body of seventy-eight executants, stated to be "the largest Band ever collected together in Glasgow." An oratorio, the subject taken from Milton's "Paradise Lost," was performed (in April, 1837) in St. Andrew's Catholic Chapel, Great Clyde Street, by eighty-six performers, of whom sixty were choralists. The announcement intimated that "the chapel will be splendidly lighted with gas."

16 August 1839 (first notice)

21 August 1839 (first performance)

Old Court House, Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW

REID, James Aquinas (composer)

Overture to Zriny

Scena and aria O thou sweet star of love on high (from a new opera)

Chorus and solo Spring is come and the wars are all over (from a new opera)



[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (16 August 1839), 4s

CONCERT, For the Benefit of the Distressed Poor.
DR. REID RESPECTFULLY informs the Public, that he will give a CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music, in the Old Court-House, Castlereagh-street, on Wednesday, 21st August, the proceeds to be handed over to the Committee of the Association for the Relief of the Poor.



1. Overture to Zriny - Reid.
2. Terzetto - The village curfew tolls afar - Miss Reid, Miss M. Reid, and Dr. Reid - Eisenhofer.
3. Solo on the Harp - Mrs. Curtis - Labarre.
4. Recitative and Air - Fortune's frowns - Mrs. Bushell - Rossini.
5. Fantasia on the Flute - Dr. Reid - Berbiguier.
6. Cavatina - So all' impero - Miss M. Reid - Mozart.
7. Song - The Wolf - Mr. Bushel - Shield.
8. Chorus of Warriors - Away, away, the sword is drawn - C. M. v. Weber.


1. Symphony - No. 12 - Haydn.
2. Duetto - Se vedete una ragazza -Miss Reid and Miss M. Reid - Cimarosa.
3. Solo - Violin - Mr. Peck - Mayseder.
4. Duetto Buffo - Pa-pa-pa - Mr. and Mrs. Bushell - Mozart.
5. La Parisienne, with variations - Miss M. Reid - Herz.
6. Song - The Warrior's Farewell and Battle Song - Dr. Reid - C. M. v. Weber.
7. Scena and Aria - O, thou sweet star of love on high' - Miss M. Reid - Reid.
8. Chorus and Solo - Spring is come and the wars are all over - Mr. Bushell - Reid.

Mr. Deane and family, Mr. Curtis and several, other gentlemen have kindly offered their services in the Orchestra. Tickets 7s. 6d. each, to be had at Mr. Ellard's, .George-street; Mr. Curtis's, Hunter-street; Mr. Moffit's, Pitt-street; Mr. Ellard's, Senr., Pitt-street; Mr. Tegg's, George-street; and Dr. Reid's, 15, Bridge street. Mr. Wallis, builder, has liberally offered the use of material and labour for fitting up the Orchestra. Doors open at 7 - Performance to commence at 8 o'clock precisely.

[Advertisement], The Australian (17 August 1839), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (21 August 1839), 1

[W. A. DUNCAN], "Concert", Australasian Chronicle (23 August 1839), 1s

Dr. Reid's Concert took place according to announcement on Wednesday, on which occasion a most numerous and brilliant assemblage was present. We may look upon this concert as the first introduction into this colony of that style of orchestral accompaniment generally known under the designation of the German School. Orchestral music, in its present acceptation, is comparatively of modern invention. Before the end of last century, a harpsichord, or at most a first and second violin, a tenor and a bass, moving in simple harmony, were all that the greatest composers could avail themselves of, to give effect to their conceptions. The introduction of wind instruments playing distinct parts, and thus enriching the harmony by producing innumerable new and beautiful effects, we owe to Haydn. This wonderful genius pursued his researches into the regions of harmony, to an extent alike unknown to his predecessors and contemporaries, until towards the close of his career, he himself was outstripped by Mozart; who united the melody of the Italian school to the rich harmony of the German; and left a name, which, in all probability, it will defy the powers, both of time and nature, to equal. This style of instrumentation, though at first like every improvement, violently opposed, is now obtaining ground wherever talent and good taste are found united; and if the severe simplicity of the old classical music gave way to its power, the miserable opposition which it now meets with from those musicians who are carried away by the fantastic vagaries of Rossini and his imitators, will soon yield up its passing influence to the claims of sound taste and enlightened criticism. The performance, considering the short time for preparation, was highly creditable to Dr. Reid, and to the performers generally. The Overture to Zriny, which we heard for the first time, is a piece of excellent music, and seemed to to be a general favourite with the audience . . . We pass over the others to come to the last Solo and Grand Chorus, which we believe are from a new opera by Dr. Reid. These pieces are of such a character, both as to their merit and the manner in which they were performed, as would have fully atoned for all the rest had they been deficient, but were a most pleasing termination to a performance in which, throughout, there was much to praise and little to blame. After all, as we have said, we chiefly value it as the introduction of a peculiar style of music among us, which we are in hopes to see widely cultivated.

"DR. REID'S CONCERT", The Sydney Monitor (23 August 1839), 2

"DR. REID'S CONCERT", The Colonist (28 August 1839), 4

Contrary to anticipation, the weather was fine, and the Old School room was crowded. His Excellency Sir George Gipps and Lady Gipps, the Colonial Secretary and Lady, the Attorney-General, and a large party of ladies and gentlemen, Sir John Jamison, and a number of other distinguished members of our community, were present. The concert commenced with an overture composed by Dr. Reid, which was received with great applause. Dr. Reid, as leader, exerted himself to the utmost, and was well supported by the other performers. Miss Reid and Miss M. Reid were deservedly well received throughout the evening. We think the accompaniment was too powerful for them, and that the latter had too much to do for one evening. A portion of the audience were un reasonable in encoring her; and we trust that she felt the opposite demonstration as it was meant, namely, that although she was heard with considerable gratification, it was wished not to fatigue her unnecessarily . . . Altogether, the evening's amusement was a treat. Dr. Reid has a very powerful voice, and his perfect knowledge of music enables him to make the most of it . . . We trust the reception which Dr. Reid and his sisters met with on Wednesday evening is an omen of future success, which is already enjoyed by some of those who assisted on the occasion.

29 August 1839 (first notice)

Launceston, VDL (TAS)

MUNDY, Henry (composer)

A set of six waltzes

A set of six waltzes composed by Mr. Henry Mundy, just published by Cocks and, Co., London

(London: Cocks and Co., [? 1839])



[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (29 August 1839), 2

NEW MUSIC. A SET of SIX WALTZES, composed by Mr. Henry Mundy, just published by Cocks and, Co., London, may be had at H. Dowling's, Bris- bane-street, Launceston.

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (5 September 1839), 1

[Advertisement], The Courier (21 July 1843), 1

PIANOFORTE MUSIC. - Now on SALE, a few copies of Eight Sets of QUADRILLES, composed for and dedicated to his pupils, by Henry Mundy; also a set of brilliant WALTZES, at Davis's Stationery Warehouse, 23, Elizabeth-street. July 21.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (25 July 1843), 2

Bibliography and resources:

Sims 2014

27 September 1839 (first notice)

2 October 1839 (first performance)

Royal Victoria Theatre, Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW

PECK, George (composer, arranger, improvisor)

Imitations of Paganini on the violin

[? Based on Paganini's variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento" from L'amor contrastato by Paisiello]

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; composer's MS, or perhaps never written down


[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (27 September 1839), 3

GRAND CONCERT. UNDER DISTINGUISHED PATRONAGE. MR. PECK BEGS TO INFORIM HIS FRIENDS AND THE PUBLIC, THAT HE WILL GIVE A GRAND MISCELLANEOUS CONCERT OF VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC, AT THE ROYAL VICTORIA TIIEATRE, PITT-STREET, On WEDNESDAY Evening, Next, October 2nd, WHEN he will be assisted by the entire musical talent of Sydney, being his FARE-WELL BENEFIT CONCERT prior to his departure for England. The Instrumental and Vocal Departments will be upon the most extensive scale, comprising upwards of SEVENTY PERFORMERS. PRINCIPAL VOCAL PERFORMERS. Madame Gautrot, Mrs. Bushelle, Mrs. Clarke, Mr. Bushelle, Mr. Worgan, and Mr. Griffiths. PRINCIPAL INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMERS: Miss FERNANDEZ, Monsieur Gautrot, Mr. Deane and Family, Mr. Peck, Mr. Leggat, Mr. S. W. Wallace, Mr. Wallace, sen., Mr. and Mrs. Curtis, and (by the kind permission of Colonel Wodehouse) the Band of the 50th Regiment. Leader, Monsieur Gautrot; Conductor, Dr. Reid; Violin Obligato, Mr. Peck; Flute Obligato, Mr. S. W. Wallace; Harp, Mrs. Curtis; Pianoforte, Miss FERNANDEZ.


Overtures - Les Avuegles de Toledo - Mehul.
Song - Mrs. Bushell - "King Death," accompaniments full orchestra - Neukomm.
Duett - Harp and Violin - Mrs. Curtis end Mr. Peck - Labarre and De Beriot.
Glee - Five Voices - "Blow gentle Gales," accompaniments full orchestra - Mrs. Bushelle, Mrs. Clarke, Mr. Bushelle, Mr. Worgan, and Mr. Griffiths - H. R. Bishop.
Grand Duett - Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle - "Let the Trumpet sound," with full orchestra and cornet a piston obligato, by Mr. Leggat - Bellini.
Solo - Pianoforte - Miss Fernandez (her second appearance in public)
Song - Madame Gautrot "Oh! Je suis dans mon Coeur," accompaniments full orchestra - Auber.
Grand Chorus (from the Knights of Snowdoun) Soprano obligato, Mrs. Clarke, and full orchestra - "Now tramp o'er moss and fell" - H. R. Bishop.


Overture - The Maniac - Bishop.
Ballad - Mrs. Bushelle - "Mary of Castle Carry," (by particular desire).
Solo - Flute - Mr. S. W. Wallace - Nicholson.
Favorite Buffo Song - Mr. Bushelle - "Miei Rampolli," as sung by Signor Lablache, in the Cenerentola, which was received with unbounded applause on its last perfromance - Rossini.
Comic Glee (Finale to to First Act of Guy Mannering) - Five Voices - "The Fox jump'd over the Parson's Gate" - Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Bushelle, Mr. Bushelle, Mr. Worgan, and Mr. Griffiths.
Imitations of PAGANINI on the Violin. (for this night only) - Mr. Peck.
Chorus (from Masaniello) - "Come hither all who wish to buy," accompaniments full orchestra - Auber.
"Rule Britannia" (by particular desire) - Verse and Chorus - Madame Gautrot, who will sing it with English words.

The Pit will be elegantly fitted up as a Concert Saloon, and will communicate with the Boxes. The Orchestra will be erected on the Stage, which will be extended for the occasion. Tickets, and books of the words, with the Italian translated, to be had of Mr. Elliott, George-street; Mr. Tegg, George-street; Mr. Evans, bookseller, Bridge-street; Mr. Barlow's Repository, Bridge-street; Mr. Ellard, Pitt-street; Mr. Moffit, Stationer, Pitt-street; and of Mr. Gibson, Victoria Hotel, where also Boxes may be taken. Tickets - Boxes and Pit, 7s. 6d; Upper Boxes, 4.s. The Gallery will be closed. For further particulars see hand-bills.

[Advertisement], The Australian (28 September 1839), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (2 October 1839), 2

"Mr. Peck's Concert", Australasian Chronicle (4 October 1839), 1

Amongst the passing events of the day, Concerts now form a prominent feature, and we could wish that they might long continue to do so if well conducted and got up with a view towards the advancement of the science. Music, although not a recognised agent in political economy, has always exerted a powerful influence over the progressive civilization of a people, and it is therefore of paramount consequence that in a young country the taste of the inhabitants receive a good direction in the beginning. We are sorry to say that the tendency of some of the late concerts has not been favourable to the cultivation of a sound musical taste. To begin our criticism with the overture Mr. Peck has proved himself a musician of decided talent, and still he selects two such overtures as the "Two Blind Men," and the "Maniac," the first (at least as performed at this concert) being a very poor oboe solo, with as poor orchestral accompaniments; the second, one of Bishop's most miserable compilations. Surely, with the wide range of modern concerted music, two more unmeaning pieces could not have been selected to bring out the power of so numerous an orchestra. We beg leave to remind the leader or leaders, that any orchestra ought to move as one mass of sound, and not drag its unwieldy, disjointed limbs in such a straddling manner as was the case on this occasion. Of the individual performances, we have the less to say . . . Of Mr. Peck, individually, we have already spoken on a former occasion; good musicians are scarce; and we are sorry that he is leaving us, but wish him every success wherever he may go - there is only a slight discrepancy between his mathematics and ours, as we could never count more than some forty odd performers, instead of the seventy as announced.

[The digitised copy, from the NSW Colonial Secretary's archive, has a pen annotation/attribution ? in Duncan's hand: "Dr. Reid"].

"MR. PECK'S CONCERT", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (4 October 1839), 2

Mr. Peck had the good fortune to see "a good house" on Wednesday evening, which, considering the numerous demands lately made on the public for their time and money on behalf of musical recreation, was almost more than we expected. The songs and pieces which gave most satisfaction at this Concert, were, the two Overtures, Suoni la Tromba by Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle, Mary of Castle Carry by Mrs. Bushelle, Miei Rampoli by Mr. Bushelle, and Imitations of Paganini by Mr. Peck. The Overtures were full of music, and generally well played. Now and then there was a jar . . . Mr. Peck's Imitations of Paganini were capital. This gentleman felt his subject; he played not only with exquisite skill, but with powerful feeling. The skill helped the feeling, and the latter helped the skill; but the feeling did more to bring out the skill, than the latter did to excite the feeling. What is skill without feeling? It is abortive. Look, for instance, at Mr. Wallace's Erin go Bragh. This gentleman has no feeling. But, in lieu, a most inordinate quantity of self-competency . . .

"MR PECK'S CONCERT", The Australian (5 October 1839), 2

The programme of this Concert led us to expect a rich and varied evening's entertainment, and the performance fully justified our anticipations; Mr Peck is entitled to the highest praise as well for the selection of the pieces, as in having secured the assistance of all the musical talent in the colony . . .

Mr. Peck's imitations of Paganini, were certainly very clever, and very pleasing, and were rewarded by a well merited encore; but we who have heard the magic tone of the matchless Paganini himself, could not avoid -

"Turning from all he brought, to all he could not bring."

Such is the fate of all endeavours to Imitate what is inimitable . . .

"MR. PECK'S CONCERT", The Sydney Herald (7 October 1839), 1 Supplement

We derived great pleasure from our attendance at this concert. Being familiar with such performances "at home," we may venture an opinion, and state that the arrangement, (especially of the orchestra), of Mr. Peck's concert surpassed any thing of the kind which has hitherto been seen in the Colony . . . It is not our purpose to catalogue the performances - but it would be unjust in making mention at all of the concert to omit special notice of the duet "harp and violin," by Mrs. Curtis and Mr. Peck. It was the most elegant - the most drawing-room-like of any performance we have ever heard in the Colony. There was no particular display about it - but there was an immensity of refinement. It was elegants - it was (yes we will use the word) it was classical. Hearing it, you forgot that you were in a public concert-room, to which all might obtain admittance who paid at the door, - you felt as if carried back upon the wings of memory - while memory called up the "light of other days," to your home. It was, certainly, the most elegant performance of the evening. Until this concert, Mr. Peck has never had a fair trial as a violinist. He is a beautiful player - he has a great command of the instrument - he produces tones rich and true. With the utmost attention we could not detect a false note. His playing was "true as the needle to the pole." He is equal to Wallace. He played the air "Hope told a flattering tale," (nel cor piu) beautifully; and the tricks (that's the word) which he played in the variations must have been as surprising to the uninitiated, as they were laughable to the amateur performer. We heard one gentleman - evidently a matter-of-fact man - ask another whether the player did not intend to burlesque the music! . . .

Bibliography and resources:

Music concordances (Paganini):

Introduction et variations sur le Thème Nel cor piu non mi sento pour le violon seul de Nicolo Paganini (Mainz: B. Schotts Söhne, [? 1829])


Wallace had reportedly played some variations on Nel cor piu mi sento in Sydney in August 1836, perhaps Paganini's.


"MR. WALLACE'S CONCERT", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (17 September 1836), 2

. . . Mr. Wallace's solo on the one string, we have heard before, and only as a novelty will it please. We were regretting all the time he was playing, that he did not use the four; we could have listened to him then the whole night long, with increased rapture; his power over the violin was fully exhibited in his variations on nel cor piu. We would, however, suggest to this gentleman, that in his future Concerts he plays less for execution. A simple melody in his hands with us would absolve him from his sins for ever . . .

"THE MUSICAL WORLD", The Colonist (25 September 1839), 2

When we reflect on the number of Concerts which have been got up of late, and the numerous and respectable attendance which they secured, we consider them as a very satisfactory proof of the talent and enterprise of the musical profession in this colony, and of the decided taste and passion for music that characterize the colony. There have been the Concerts of Dr. Reid, of Mrs. Bushelle, of Mr. Deane, all following on the heels of each other, and now there has been some talk in the papers of Mrs. Rust giving a Concert . . . We understand, however, that Mr. Peck, one of the leading orchestra musicians of the Victoria theatre, will soon be setting out for England to exhibit his model of Hobart Town there, and that he intends before his departure to get up a farewell Concert. The lovers of music know and appreciate Mr. Peck's talents as a musician, and will no doubt testify their good wishes for his welfare, and their esteem for his acknowledged merits, both professional and private, by giving their patronage to his forthcoming entertainment. The Victoria Theatre will be fitted up as a Concert Room for the occasion, and Mr. Peck will be assisted by the whole strength of the corps musique in Sydney.

6 October to 30 December 1839

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

Hymns . . . corroborey



Gunther, journal entries, 6 and 7, 19 October 1839 (Journal 7: April-December, pages 17-18; C N/O 47/12); Wellington Valley Project 

Octbr 6th. There was much moving to & fro, & preparation among the Natives for their departure; still we had a good number at Church. In the evening, they had a great corroborey (dance). Fred & Cochrane, however, came back from the Camp. The latter seemed very thoughtful, he was evidently distressed & at a loss what to do, as the Old men pressed on him and all the others to accompany them to the bush & attend the ceremony.

Octbr 7th. The Natives were determined to go this morning, to a distance of about 30 miles, and endeavoured to drag every one, old & young, away from the Mission. Cochrane was still labouring under a great struggle of mind & told me, he was "miserable." Yet, he is not unfettered from the Native influence and superstition; for, when I said: "Let those old men one night be shut up in the House, and you will not hear Buba crying at the River side." he, with others, was much annoyed, [page 18] and told me, I ought not to say so before the boys, thus evidently admitting, that I was correct, in my intimations, but desirous to keep up the government of the Old men. At last, most of them left; but, lest we should interfere, they cunningly pretended that the Boys should not go far this time, allowing the latter to begin doing some work. Lowry, however, was left behind, constituting, as I suspected, a kind of constable to secure & take off the Boys; for in the afternoon he stole himself slyly away with them. Ingel Jemmy & Lively were the only ones who stayed.

Octbr 19th. Several of the Young men have returned from the bush, during the last two or three days, but, as [?]merly, are yet in an unsettled state. The Boys who have been made Young men, dare not make their appearance yet. I spent most of my time of late in the study of the Native language; but was too often interrupted by domestic engagements, as we have been without the Services of any Native except our Girl, Lively being engaged in general work.

Gunther, journal entries, 30 December 1839 (Journal 7, page 25)

Decbr 30. It was with grief I learned, to day, that our Youths, yesterday, proceeded from the River up into the Hills, where they were playing & dancing in the afternoon, when, very unexpectedly, Mr Watson, who had been out to day, met them, on his return home. I reproved them very sharply, and told them we better leave them as all we did & said seemed to be no used with them. I discovered another occurrence which reflected no credit on them: we have a few peaches in the Garden which are just beginning to ripen. When I looked after them, this morning, I saw that part of them had gone and observed footmarks of Natives under the tree. I accused the Young men, without hesitation, and was informed, that had been down last night during Prayers. Consequently, I requested Mr Porter, to take Prayers this evening. I then, went down the Garden to watch. Scarcely had the singing begun, when one marched down the hill, right towards the gate of the Garden, and, entering the Garden, proceeded towards the peach tree; but, before he came near it, he was startled by observing me along the fence . . .

15 October 1839

Melbourne, Port Phillip district, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

The Waverong natives corrobbereed



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 15 October 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

[Tuesday 15 October 1839] Am called on La Trobe (Mr La Trobe having sent me a note to know where the feast was to be held. Wrote back to say at native camp.) to know whether he would like the feast at my quarters, if so I would get it removed . . . Rain and showers with wind the whole of the afternoon. 1/4 past 4 pm Mr La Trobe came by himself. Said he had been pressed with business, had not been home. Had not time, wished me to send to Captain Lonsdale to inform him that he was at the native camp. Had all the people mustered and seated upon the ground. Distributed the provisions among them. After which they threw their spears at a target, then threw boomerangs. Mr La Trobe left after they had finished their repast. Said had the weather been fine Mrs La Trobe would have been glad to have come. In the evening the Waverong natives corrobbereed . . . Turned a drunken man away by force from Jaggy Jaggy's hut, which pleased natives.

October-November 1839

Dundunemawl, on the Macquarie River, NSW

MEREDITH, Charles and Louisa (reporters)




Meredith 1844,90-92

About three miles from Bathurst, near a pretty cottage on the Macquarie (in a district chiefly granite), is a singular group of low rocks rising abruptly from the turf of the plains, and perfectly white; they appeared to me to be masses of pure quartz, of which many specimens occur a few miles higher up the river. [91 - NATIVE DANCE AND CEREMONY] Pebbles of very clear quartz crystal are sometimes found in the neighbourhood, but the natives search for them so successfully, that I only picked up one or two small ones.

These crystals, although by no means rare, are preserved as "charms" by the Aborigines, being given to them by their doctors, or "Crodjees," after a variety of ceremonies, which Mr. Meredith describes to me as highly absurd, he having been present at the rites, when performed by a tribe at Dundunemawl on the Macquarie, about forty miles below Wellington Valley. Great preparations were made, as for a grand Corrobbory, or festival, the men divesting themselves of even the portions of clothing commonly worn, and painting their naked black bodies in a hideous manner with pipe-clay. After dark they lit their fires, which are small, but kept blazing with constant additions of dry bark and leaves, and the sable gentry assembled by degrees as they completed their evening toilettes, full dress being painted nudity. A few began dancing in different parties, preparatory to the grand display, and the women, squatting on the ground, commenced their strange monotonous chant, each beating accurate time with two boomerangs. Then began the grand corrobbory, and all the men joined in the dance, leaping, jumping, bounding about in the most violent manner, but always in strict unison with each other, and keeping time with the chorus, accompanying their wild gesticulations with frightful yells and noises. The whole "tableau" is fearfully grand: the dark wild forest scenery around - the bright fire-light gleaming upon the savage and uncouth figures of the men, their natural dark hue being made absolutely horrible by the paintings bestowed on them, consisting of lines and other marks done in white and red pipe-clay, which give them an indescribably ghastly and fiendish aspect - their strange attitudes, and violent contortions and movements, and the unearthly sound of their yells, mingled with the wild and monotonous wail-like chant of the women, make altogether a very near approach to the horribly sublime, in the estimation of most Europeans who have witnessed an assembly of the kind. In the midst of the performance on this occasion, two men advanced, bearing between them a large piece of bark, about six feet high and three feet wide, rudely painted with red and white clay, the design consisting of a straight line [92 CONJURERS] down the middle, and diagonal ones thickly marked on each side. The exhibition of this wonderful and mystic specimen of art caused extreme excitement and admiration, and the bearers held it in the midst of the dancers, who bounded and yelled around it with redoubled energy. Presently the oldest "Crodjee" present approached the charmed bark, and walked slowly round and round, examining it in every part, and then carefully smelling it, up and down, before, behind, and on all sides, with grave and reverential demeanour. This was to "find where the charms lay," which charms, consisting of small crystals, he had of course concealed about his person. After a great deal of smelling and snuffing, he commenced violently sucking a part of the bark, and, after some other manoeuvres, spat out a "charm" into his hand, and went on sucking for as many as were then required.

These charmed crystals are kept with great care by the possessor, his wife usually having charge of the treasure, which she carries in the family "wardrobe," and the loss of one is esteemed an awful calamity. The charm-sucking ceremony takes place at the full moon, the time generally chosen by the natives for such celebrations. In this instance the Crodjee's part of the performance was very clumsily done, and Mr. Meredith asked one of the men, the following day, "if he were such a fool as to believe that the Crodjee really sucked the crystals out of the bark?" The fellow winked, nodded, and looked wondrously wise, and intimated that he certainly knew better, but that it would not do to say so. And thus is fraud perpetuated, alike by savage and by civilized men, and thus ever do policy and expediency take the place of truth and honesty!

One of the aboriginal dances is called "the Kangaroo dance," and one man, wearing a long tail, drops down on his hands and feet, pretending to graze, starting to look about, and mimicking the demeanour of the animal as nearly as possible; the others, in the character of dogs and hunters, performing their part of the play in a circle round him, at a very short distance . . .

27 October 1839 (first performance)

St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney

29 October 1839 (first notice)

REID, James Aquinas (composer)

Mass no. 1 in C

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS, vocal parts MSS)


[News], Australasian Chronicle (29 October 1839), 1s

ON Sunday, a solemn Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral in thanksgiving for the safe arrival of the French missionaries who are about to proceed to New Zealand. The altar was neatly fitted up, and the grand and impressive ceremonies of the Pontifical were gone through with much dignity and effect. After the Gospel, the Vicar General delivered an eloquent discourse, suitable to the occasion, of which we regret much we cannot give an outline.

The new choir and orchestra of the Cathedral performed publicly for the first time on this occasion, and we have pleasure in adding in a style which surprised and delighted every body. The Mass was Reid's No. 1 in C, which is, upon the whole, a charming composition. The Kyrie, which, like Mozart's No. 12, is written upon the dominant of the key, is a beautiful piece of genuine church music, in which every part is a melody, and the combined effect of which is truly fine. The Gloria is chiefly remarkable for its combining brilliancy with a full body of harmony. But the Credo is our especial favourite. Its opening and concluding movements contain some of the finest natural modulation with which we are acquainted, and the melody is throughout most pleasing. We venture to predict that the succession of sounds of which this piece consists, will be speedily heard resounding in all parts of our capital, as the Jager Chor of Weber was formerly in every part of Europe.

The Benedictus, as sung by the Misses Reid, accompanied by the Seraphine and Violoncello produced a very fine effect. The subject of the Agnus Dei is the same as that of the Kyrie, and forms the conclusion of a musical composition, of which any composer might be proud. To criticise severely a first performance would be unfair, but severity itself would here be compelled to admit, that if there was evidence of its being a first attempt, there was, on the other hand, realized all the success that could be looked for.

At the conclusion of Mass, the clergy, including the missionaries, chaunted the Te Deum, which carried the mind back to other days, and must have warmed every heart present. We hope to see these solemnities often renewed. They have the best tendency, and admirably confirm the truth of Dr. Johnson's remark, that whatever carries our minds into the past, the distant, or the future, advances us in the scale of rational beings.

Bibliography and resources:

Skinner 2011

29 October 1839

Port Phillip district, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Scottish immigrants . . . see a grand corrborie of the blacks



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 29 October 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Tuesday 29 October 1839 - 10 am went to the natives camp. Natives absent, had gone as I was informed by an old man to Port Phillip. All their things were at their huts. I was annoyed at seeing this as they the natives had promised me they would leave at day light. The emigrants from Scotland per "David Clark" has arrived 250, a very respectable body of people in 50 tents encamped on the bank opposite the Scotch milkhouse. The natives are encamped next to them. Went into Melbourne and saw the natives who promised to move the afternoon part of the day. Returned to the native camp and remained until they moved to their new grounds. Visited the emigrants. A young lad that had been in Hobart Town orphan school came to the ground and took a gun from one of the natives. I saw it and went and took it from him. The natives brought in no guns, took powder from King, also my letters for Thomas. Mr King drunk and disorderly. 7 pm the natives had a grand corobery. Met Arden at the corobery, also Dr Landle, Cox, Day, Connelly and others who had travelled overland from Port Fairy. Dr Landle was so disguised by a flannel jacket and round pointer hat that when he saluted me I did not knew him. I walked with him to the emigrants tents. A large party of emigrants was present at the corrobbery. Men and women and one Scotch man played the bagpipes. The emigrants were all Scotch, arrived in "David Clark".

"PORT PHILLIP PAPERS - To Nov. 9th", Launceston Advertiser (21 November 1839), 1 supplement 

THE immigrants per David Clark seem now to be nearly all engaged; their account of the voyage and reception here seems full of content and enjoyment of future good prospects. This vessel has been five months upon her voyage from Leith, and has landed two hundred and twenty-nine passengers, out of two hundred and thirty, one male only having died before crossing the line . . .

Upon arrival they were landed in the ship's boats at the beach, opposite Williams Town, and having walked overland two miles to the banks of the Yarra Yarra, they were received in tents which were pitched, to the number of fifty, in three parallel lines, each numbered to avoid confusion, on a green wooded rising ground. They were of course visited by swarms of the white natives, as the cannie Scot facetiously designates the European inhabitants, and many were engaged upon the lapse of a few hours. The females, who did not exceed thirty, seemed most in requisition, for the purposes of washing, nursing, and cooking. In the evening the piper struck off with some of his wild national airs, and the greater part of the immigrants danced by moonlight on the grass; after some time passed in this way, the whole party, headed by the man of wind and pipes, went off through the bush for about a mile, to see a grand corroborie of the blacks; it was singular to hear the blending of our highland music with the deep monotonous chaunt and beat of the Austral aborigines; what must have been their ideas upon seeing those grounds which five years past were tenanted by themselves alone, teeming with hundreds of fresh and strange arrivals, it would be highly curious but difficult to divine.

"PORT PHILLIP", The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen's Land Gazette (22 November 1839), 3 

"PORT PHILLIP", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (3 December 1839), 2 

29 October 1839 (first performance)

Mechanics' School of Arts, Sydney, NSW

1 November 1839 (first notice)

Sydney, NSW

DEANE, John Philip (composer)

Trios for 2 violins and violoncello



"MR. DEANE'S SOIREE", Australasian Chronicle (1 November 1839), 1s

This entertainment was rather thinly attended on Tuesday, on account of the weather, but it went off with more than the usual effect. Two songs by Mrs. Clancy were deservedly encored; a Fantasia of Herz, by Miss Deane, a Violoncello Solo, by Master E. Deane, and a Trio, by Messrs. Deane, were much applauded. These concerts continue to be given at the School of Arts every Tuesday evening.

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (1 November 1839), 4

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (8 November 1839), 4s

WEEKLY CONCERT. MR. DEANE begs to inform the Gentry and Public that his Weekly Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music will take place at the Mechanics' School of Arts, on TUESDAY EVENING NEXT, Nov. 12, 1839.



1. Trio, two Violins and Violoncello - Mr. Deane, Mr. J. Deane, and Master E. Deane.
2. Song, "Roland the Brave," Mr. Thomson.
3. Song, "Mountain Maid," Miss Deane.
4. Song, "Let us seek the Yellow Shore," Mrs. Clancy.
5. Solo, Pianoforte - "The Fall of Paris," Moschleles - Miss Deane.
6. Glee - Master Weavers, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. Deane.
7. Song, "Pilgrim of Love," Mrs. Clancy.


1. Trio, Two Violins and Violoncello - Mr. Deane, Mr. J. Deane, & Master E. Deane.
2. Song, "Meet me in the Willow Glen Love", Miss Deane.
3. Solo, Violincello - Master E. Deane.
4. Duetto, "The Singing Lesson," Miss Deane, and Mr. Deane.
5. Song, "Roy's Wife." Mrs. Clancy.
6. Song, "Death of Nelson," Mr. Thomson.
7. Glee, "Hark, 'tis the Indian Drum," Miss Deane, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. Deane.

To commence at 8 o'clock precisely. Admission 2s. 6d. Quarterly Subscription Tickets 21s. Double Ticket to admit Lady and Gentleman. 30s. To be had of Mr. DEANE, Macquarie-street. Nov. 8, 1836.

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (3 January 1840), 4s

Bibliography and resources:

Orchard 1952, 27

A Deane concert in September, 1845, was distinguished by his own Chamber Music in the form of a trio for two violins and 'cello, played by the Deane family . . .

Skinner 2011, 90-91

Deane himself has also previously been imagined to be the composer of the earliest documented piece of Australian chamber music, usually reported as a (single) lost trio for 2 violins and cello, composed in Sydney, on the basis of which, for instance, Peter Sculthorpe based the scoring of the concertante string trio in his Port Essington (1977) on that of Deane's work - 2 violins and cello . . .


The preceding are the first of many references to Deane and his sons playing trios for 2 violins and violoncello; these works are unattributed, though several later such trios were attributed to "Deane"; a further trio was attributed to "Pixis" and "Muller".


[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (10 December 1839), 3

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (21 January 1840), 1

8 November 1839 (first notice)

13 November 1839 (first performance)

Saloon, Royal Hotel, George Street, Sydney, NSW

GAUTROT, Joseph (composer, arranger)

Air, with variations

Solo, violin, composed and executed by Monsieur Gautrot

Australia, a pastoral

Composed for the Ladies of the Colony for violin solo

The soldier tir'd

[Arne] with new orchestral accompaniments by Mons. Gautrot



[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (8 November 1839), 3

GRAND CONCERT. MONSIEUR and MADAME GAUTROT have the honor to announce that their CONCERT will take place on WEDNESDAY EVENING, November 13, in the Saloon of the Royal Hotel. Monsieur and Madame Gautrot will have, on this occasion, the valuable assistance of Mrs. Bushelle, Mr. Bushelle, Mr. Worgan, Miss Fernandez, Mr. S. W. Wallace, Mr. Peck, Mr. Leggatt, Mr Deane and Sons, and, by permission of Colonel Wodehouse, the Band of the 50th Regiment will attend.

Part I.

Overture - "The Siege of Rochelle."
1. Trio - "Mid these shades, (from Il Crociato) Meyerbeer, Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle and Mr. Worgan.
2. Song - "Le plaisir du rang supreme," Auber. Madame Gautrot.
3. Song - "As burns the charger," Shield, Mr. Bushelle.
4. Song - "Fatal Goffredo," Donizetti . Mrs. Bushelle.
5. "Recollections of Scotland," (Piano) Moscheles. Miss Fernandez.
6. Duet - "Se a caso Madama", Mozart. Madame Gautrot and Mr. Bushelle.
7. Song - "The magical Maydew," (Irish Melody), Lover. Mrs. Bushelle.
8. Solo - Violin - Air, with Variations, composed and executed by Monsieur Gautrot

Part II.

Overture - Il Barbiere de Seviglia."
1. Duet - Opening duet "Le Nozze di Figaro", Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle.
2. Song - "Quando un guerrier splendido". Madame Gautrot.
3. Solo - Clarionet. Mr. Leggatt.
4. Song - "Qui sdegno," Zauberflote. Mr Bushelle.
5. Song - "The Macgregor's gathering". Mrs. Bushelle.
6. Solo - "Australia," a Pastoral, composed by Mons. Gautrot, for the Ladies of the Colony. Mons. Gautrot.
7. Song - "The Soldier Tir'd of war's alarms," Arne, with full orchestral accompaniment, arranged by Mons. Gautrot. Madame Gautrot.
8. "Laughing Glee," Martini, Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle and Mr. Worgan.

The Concert will commence at eight o'clock. Tickets may be had at Mr. Ellard's Music Saloon, George-street; Mr. Tyrer's; Mr. Sparke's, Royal Hotel; Mr. Aldis, Tobacconist, George street; and at Monsieur Gautrot's residence, 105 Pitt-street.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(9 November 1839), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (13 November 1839), 1

"M. GAUTROT'S CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (15 November 1839), 1s

This Concert was rather thinly attended on Wednesday evening, at which we were much disappointed, considering the pains that had been taken to select good music. The performances were, notwithstanding this discouragement, very creditable, at least to the vocal performers. The instruments being entirely left to themselves, went every one his own way in glorious confusion. The best executed vocal pieces were Shield's "As burns the charger," and Lover's "Magical Mildew" by Mrs. Bushelle - "Le plaisir du rang supreme," by Madame Gautrot, and a Duett from Figaro by Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle. Martini's "Vadasi via di qua" was by-far too melancholy. Mr. Worgan should never attempt to laugh, for he is a "melancholy man." Miss Fernandez was deservedly encored in her Scotch medley. We should have had something to say in favour of Mr. Leggatt's "Exile of Erin," if he had not put us out of all patience previously to his performing it, by his conceited capers on the platform playing voluntaries, interludes and symphonies, and God knows what. Mons. Gautrot's first solo was good, and performed with great taste and purity of tone. We cannot say that it is very original, having anticipated every bar before we heard it; but, as we have said, it was good. The solo "Australia" was also well performed and much more original; but que diable, Monsieur, what do you mean by calling this a pastoral? - you might as well call it an opera or a mottet! On the whole, this Concert ought to have attracted much more notice; and we shall be glad to see M. Gautrot's next effort crowned with better success.

"MONSIEUR GAUTROT'S CONCERT", The Sydney Herald (18 November 1839), 2

. . . With Monsieur Gautrot's violin playing, the public are now pretty familiar. He is the most chaste player we have ever heard is the Colony. His must, indeed, be a nice ear, which can detect a false note in Monsieur Gautrot's stopping. There is no mountebankism about his playing. He is of the school of Mori, the most classical violinist of modern times. We fear that Monsieur and Madame Gautrot will not realise much by their concert . . .

{Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (3 December 1839), 4

WEEKLY CONCERT. MR. DEANE begs to inform the Gentry and public that his Weekly Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music will take place at the Mechanics' School of Art, on Tuesday Evening Next, 3 December . . . [Part 1, No. 7] Air, with variations on the Violin - Monsieur Gautrot . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor (11 December 1839), 3

. . . [Part 2 No. 8] "The Soldier Tir'd," (with new Orchestral accompaniments by Mons. Gautrot). Mad. Gautrot

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser(14 December 1839), 1

"Mrs. Bushelle's Concert", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (20 December 1839), 2

"MRS. BUSHELLE'S CONCERT", The Sydney Herald (25 December 1839), 2

. . . Madame Gautrot afforded just cause to sustain the opinion we have formed and expressed of her. With a pleasing appearance, she brings a powerful voice, and, evidently, very considerable acquaintance with musical science. She sang that showy but meagre composition of Arne's - The Soldier tired - with very great power . . .

Music concordances (Arne):

The soldier tir'd, compos'd by Dr. Arne ([unidentified edition, ? US, c.1800]) (DIGITISED)

18 November 1839

Melbourne, Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)




George Augustus Robinson, journal, 18 November 1839; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Monday 18 November 1839 - . . . Visited the native camp. Remained the greater part of the afternoon at the camp with Mr Dredge and Thomas. Met the Goulburn women and children at the punt, [blank] in number. 1 pm waited on Mr La Trobe and invited him and Mrs La Trobe to the naragain, a native dance for the evening. As I went to Mrs La Trobe and his honor and invited hiim and Mrs La Trobe to see the dance. I conducted Mr La Trobe about the ground. His honor remained until 12. Crossed and recrossed himself in my boat. Mrs Robinson and Eliza met with me and accompanied Mrs La Trobe. The Goulburn and Port Phillip blacks danced. There was a large assemblage of people from the settlement. Mr Dredge selected his police men. Mr Thomas, as usual, sent Mr La Trobe a note inviting him to the corrobbery, and a note to me to send my boat. Mr and Mrs La Trobe much pleased with the entertainment.

24 December 1839 (date of report)

Wellington Valley, NSW

Some of them sung Church music uncommonly well



"Original Correspondence. MISSION AT WELLINGTON VALLEY. TO THE EDITOR", The Colonist (8 January 1840), 2 

Bathurst, December 24, 1839. SIRS, - Although you no longer profess to edit a religious journal, yet I feel assured, both from your avowed principles and uniform practice, that you will still continue to exert yourself as you have hitherto, done, in promoting the great cause of religion in this colony. It is under this impression that I now send you a few hurried remarks, relative to the present state of the Mission to the Aborigines at Wellington Valley.

Having just returned from that district, where I had the pleasure of examining the black natives, who are now receiving instruction from the Rev. Messrs. William Watson and James Gunther, the two resident Missionaries, I will so far trespass on your time and patience as to state the following particuldrs which you are at liberty either to publish or suppress as you may think proper. In the Rev. Mr. Watson's house there are now residing fifteen native blacks (nine boys and six girls), whose ages vary from four to fourteen years; the greater number of them, however, are apparently about seven or eight. The majority of these can both read and write well. I also examined them on Watts' Catechism, and proposed to them several questions suggested by the chapters of the New Testament which formed the subject of the lessons read. With both of these exercises they seemed to be qnite familiar. A few of the pupils were able to repeat in English several religious hymns, and whole chapters out of the New Testament. Mr. Watson, who has been here for many years (I believe from the very commencement of the mission,) can speak the native language with tolerable fluency, but so far as I have observed he teaches the natives through the medium of the English language only.

The number of blacks that live with the Rev. Mr. Gunther (whose residence is nearly half-a-mile distant from Mr. Watson's), is from twele to eighteen. Nearly all these have arrived at the years of maturity. Many more blacks, sometimes from forty to fifty, attend occasionally during the day, but return at night to their camps in the woods . . . Their deportment at family-worship, &c., at Mr. G's. lectures was extremely solemn; they seemed to be very attentive, and some of them sung Church music uncommonly well . . .

. . . Yours, STAT UMBRA.

December 1839

Sydney and environs, NSW


DRAYTON, Joseph (transcriber)

Australian native chants

See main entry:

Before end of 1839 (1837, 1838, 1839)

South-west and North-west regions, WA


GREY, George (transcriber, reporter)

1 Fighting song



Grey 1841, 2, 301

2 Warbunga's Song

A very favorite song of the natives north of Perth



Grey 1841, 2, 306

3 One of their comic songs

Often sung by the natives in the vicinity of King George Sound



Grey 1841, 2, 307

4 Funeral chant

Sung by a chorus of females of all ages



Grey 1841, 2, 308

5 War chant or song

Of the men . . . working themselves up into a passion



Grey 1841, 2, 309

See separate entry on Songs composed when Miago was taken away from Perth and on his safe return (1838)

6-10 Five further songs

No 7, Song of natives a few miles to the North of Swan River"

No 10, "given by Ugat"

11-12, collected by Alfred P. Bussell



Grey 1841, volume 2, 311-12

11 Chant to old Weer-ang her husband



Grey 1841, volume 2, 313

12 Chant to incite the men

Chant sung by an old woman, to incite the men to avenge the death of a young man



Grey 1841, volume 2, 313


Source and documentation (complete):

Grey 1841, 2, 300-16 "SONGS AND POETRY


Like all other savage races the natives of Western Australia are very fond of singing and dancing: to a sulky old native his song is what a quid of tobacco is to a sailor; is he angry, he sings; is he glad, he sings; is he hungry, he sings; if he is full, provided he is not so full as to be in a state of stupor, he sings more lustily than ever; and it is the peculiar character of their songs which renders them under all circumstances so solacing to them. The songs are short, containing generally only one or two ideas, and are constantly repeated over and over again in a manner doubtless grating to the untutored ear of a European, but to one skilled in Australian music lulling and harmonious in the extreme, and producing much the same effect as the singing of a nurse does upon a child.

Nothing can give a better idea of the character of these people than their songs. In England an


elderly gentleman, who has been at all put out of his way by encroachments and trespasses upon his property, sits over his fire in the evening, sipping his port and brooding over vengeance by means of the law; but the law is tortuous, expensive, and uncertain; his revenge is very distant from him; under these circumstances the more the elderly gentleman talks the more irate he becomes. Very different is the conduct of the elderly Australian gentleman. He comes to his hut at night in a towering passion; tucks his legs under him, and seats himself upon his heels before the fire; he calls to his wife for pieces of quartz and some dried kangaroo sinews, then forthwith begins sharpening and polishing his spears, and whilst thus occupied, sings to himself:

I'll spear his liver,
I'll spear his lights,
I'll spear his heart,
I'll spear his thigh,
etc. etc. etc.

After a while he pauses and examines the point he has been working at; it is very sharp, and he gives a grunt of satisfaction. His wives now chime in:

The wooden-headed,
Thin-thighed fellows--
The bone-rumped,
Thin-thighed fellows.

The old gentleman looks rather more murderous,


but withal more pleasant, and as he begins to sharpen his second spear he chants out:

I'll spear their liver,
I'll spear their bowels,
I'll spear their hearts,
I'll spear their loins.

As he warms on the subject he ships his spear in the throwing-stick, quivers it in the air, and imitates rapidly the adventures of the fight of the coming day: then the recollections of the deeds of his youth rush through his mind; he changes his measure to a sort of recitative, and commences an account of some celebrated fray of bygone times; the children and young men crowd round from the neighbouring huts, the old gentleman becomes more and more vociferous, first he sticks his spear point under his arm and lies on his side to imitate a man dying, yet chanting away furiously all the time, then he grows still more animated, occasionally adjusting his spear with his throwing-stick and quivering it with a peculiar grace. The young women now come timidly up to see what is going on; little flirtations take place in the background, whereat the very elderly gentlemen with very young wives, whose dignity would be compromised by appearing to take an interest in passing events, and who have therefore remained seated in their own huts, wax jealous, and despatch their mothers and aged wives to look after the younger ladies. These venerable females have a dread of evil spirits, and


consequently will not move from the fire without carrying a fire-stick in their hands; the bush is now dotted about with these little moving points of fire, all making for a common centre, at which are congregated old and young; jest follows jest, one peal of laughter rings close upon the heels of another, the elderly gentleman is loudly applauded by the bystanders, and, having fairly sung the wrath out of himself, he assists in getting up the dances and songs with which their evening terminates.

Is a native afraid, he sings himself full of courage; in fact under all circumstances he finds aid and comfort from a song. Their songs are therefore naturally varied in their form; but they are all concise and convey in the simplest manner the most moving ideas: by a song or wild chant composed under the excitement of the moment the women irritate the men to acts of vengeance; and four or five mischievously inclined old women can soon stir up forty or fifty men to any deed of blood by means of their chants, which are accompanied by tears and groans, until the men are worked into a perfect state of frenzy.

A true poet in Australia is highly appreciated. Simple as their songs appear, there are in them many niceties which a European cannot detect; it is probable that what is most highly estimated by this people is that the cadence of the song, and the wild air to which it is chanted, should express well to their ideas the feelings and passions intended to predominate in the mind at the moment in


which it is sung: hence we find that the compositions of some of these poets pass from family to family, and from district to district, until they have very probably traversed the whole continent; the natives themselves having at last no idea of the point where they originated, or of the meaning of the words which they sing, successive changes of dialect having so altered the song that probably not one of the original words remains; but they sing sounds analogous to these, to the proper air. And this is not confined to Western Australia, for Mr. Threlkeld, in his Australian Grammar, [page 90] says:

There are poets among them who compose songs which are sung and danced to by their own tribe in the first place, after which other tribes learn the song and dance, which itinerates from tribe to tribe throughout the country, until, from change of dialect, the very words are not understood by the blacks.

A family seldom make a distant friendly visit to other tribes, but they bring back a new song or two with them, and these, for a time, are quite as much the rage as a new fashionable song in England. Occasionally the songs also bear the name of the poet who composed them, though this is not often the case; there are however two or three poets in Australia who enjoy a great celebrity, but whether they are living, or belonged to ancient times, or whether they are merely imaginary beings I have never been able to discover.


Their own songs are, according to their idea, the very perfection of harmony, rude and discordant as they are to our ears; perhaps no more extraordinary instance of the force of habit and diversity of taste than this could be advanced. A native sings joyously the most barbarous and savage sounds, which rend asunder the refined ears of the European, who turns away in agony from the discordant noise while the surrounding natives loudly applaud as soon as the singer has concluded. But should the astounded European endeavour to charm these wild men by one of his refined and elegant lays they would laugh at it as a combination of silly and effeminate notes, and for weeks afterwards entertain their distant friends, at their casual meetings, by mimicking the tone and attitude of the white man; an exhibition which never fails to draw down loud shouts of applause.

Some of the natives are not however insensible to the charms of our music. Warrup, a native youth who lived with me for several months as a servant, once accompanied me to an amateur theatre at Perth, and when the actors came forward and sang God save the Queen he burst into tears. He certainly could not have comprehended the words of the song, and therefore must have been affected by the music alone.

The only accompaniment to their songs used in the southern parts of the continent is the clapping of hands or the beating of a short round stick against the flat board with which they


throw their spears; in this latter case the rounded stick is held in its centre, between the fingers and thumb of the right hand, and its ends are alternately struck against the flat board in such a manner as to produce a rude kind of music, in time to the air they are singing. Although this appears to be so very simple an instrument it requires some practice to beat the time accurately, and by young men who desire to have the reputation of being exquisites this is considered to be a very necessary accomplishment.

Some songs have a peculiar dance connected with them; this however is not always the case, and I have occasionally seen the same dance adapted to different songs.

Having given this general outline of their songs I will now add such a selection of them as will convey some idea of the character of their poetry, at the same time there is reason to believe that a good deal of it is traditional, and may date its origin from a very remote epoch. Some of their dances have also a very peculiar mystical character about them, and these they very unwillingly exhibit in the presence of Europeans.

The following is a very favourite song of the natives to the north of Perth; it is sung to a wild and plaintive air, and relates to some action of a native who lived in that part of the continent, of the name of Warbunga. A little boy, a descendant of his, is still living, who bears the same name.


Kad-ju bar-dook,
Kad-ju bar-dook,

They then commence again, constantly repeating these words in the same order.


Thy hatchet is near thee,
Oh Warbunga,
Oh Warbunga.
Thy hatchet is near thee,

A favourite song of the natives in the district of the Murray in Western Australia is:

Kar-ro yool, i, yool-a!
Kar-ro yool, i, yool-a!
etc. etc. etc.

And these words they go on singing for an hour together, in the event of the absence of any of their relatives or friends upon a hunting or war excursion.


Return hither, hither ho!
Return hither, hither ho!

The following is a very good specimen of one of their comic songs. It is often sung by the natives in the vicinity of King George's Sound.


Mat-ta, mat-ta,
Yungore bya,
Mat-ta, mat-ta,
Yungore bya,
etc. etc. etc.


Oh what legs, oh what legs,
The Kangaroo-rumped fellows,
Oh what legs, oh what legs,
etc. etc. etc.

Nothing can awake in the breast more melancholy feelings than the funeral chants of these people. They are sung by a whole chorus of females of all ages and the effect produced upon the bystanders by this wild music is indescribable. I will give one chant which I have heard sung upon several occasions.

The young women sing: Kar-dang.
The old women sing: Mam-mul.
Together: gar-ro.
Me-la nad-jo
Together: gar-ro.
Me-la nad-jo
etc. etc. etc.


My young brother
My young son
In future shall I
never see.
My young brother
My young son
In future shall I
never see.


In this chant the old and young women respectively sing "my young son," and, "my young brother:" the metre and rhyme are also very carefully preserved, and the word Kardang is evidently expressly selected for this purpose; for were they speaking in prose they would use a term denoting eldest brother, youngest brother, second brother, or some similar one; whilst I have heard the word Kardang always used in this chant whether the deceased was the first, second, or third brother.

The men have also certain war-chants or songs; these they sing as they go walking rapidly to and fro, quivering their spears in order to work themselves up into a passion. The following is a very common one:

Yu-do dan-na,
Nan-do dan-na,
My-eree dan-na,
Goor-doo dan-na,
Boon-gal-la dan-na,
Gonog-o dan-na,
Dow-al dan-na,
Nar-ra dan-na.
etc. etc. etc.


Spear his forehead,
Spear his breast,
Spear his liver,
Spear his heart,
Spear his loins,
Spear his shoulder,
Spear his thigh,
Spear his ribs,
etc. etc. etc.


Thus rapidly enumerating all the parts in which they intend to strike their enemies.

It is very rarely that any remarkable circumstance occurs but songs are composed in order to perpetuate the remembrance of it. For example, when Miago, the first native who ever quitted Perth, was taken away in H.M. surveying vessel Beagle in 1838, the following song was composed by a native and was constantly sung by his mother (at least so she says) during his absence, and it has ever since been a great favourite:

Ship bal win-jal bat-tar-dal gool-an-een,
Ship bal win-jal bat-tar-dal gool-an-een.
etc. etc. etc. etc.

Whither is that lone ship wandering,
Whither is that lone ship wandering,
etc. etc. etc. etc.

Again, on Miago's safe return, the song given below was composed by a native after he had heard Miago recount his adventures:

Kan-de maar-o, kan-de maar-a-lo,
Tsail-o mar-ra, tsail-o mar-ra-lo.
etc. etc. etc. etc.

Unsteadily shifts the wind-o, unsteadily shifts the wind-o,
The sails-o handle, the sails-o handle-ho.

I will now add several other songs which are composed in different dialects; these will serve both as examples of their metre and style of poetry and as specimens for the purpose of comparison with the songs of the natives of the other portions of the continent.

311, "SONGS"

No. 1.

One voice:

Mong-a-da, mong-a-da,
Mong-a-da, mong-a-da,
Mong-a-da, mong-a-da.

One voice:

Wun-a-da, wun-a-da,
Wun-a-da, wun-a-da,
Wun-a-da, wun-a-da.
etc. etc. etc.

They all join in the chorus of:

Mong-a-da, etc. etc.
Wun-a-da, etc. etc.

And clap their hands in time to the air to which this chorus is sung, so that the effect produced is very good. I am unable to render this song into English.

No. 2.

Dow-al nid-ja kotiay bool-a,
Woor-ar wur-rang-een,
Dow-al nid-ja kotiay bool-a,
Woor-ar wur-rang-een
Dow-al nid-ja kotiay bool-a,
Woor-ar wur-rang-een.

These lines are repeated three times more, and then follows the chorus:

Ban-yee wur-rang-een,
Koong-arree, wur-rang-een,
Ban-yee wur-rang-een,
Koong-arree, war-rang-een.
etc. etc. etc.


Number 3.

Kat-ta ga-roo,
etc. etc. etc.

Number 4.

Yerib-a-balo, may-il boyne ga-ree,
Yerib-a-balo, may-il boyne ga-ree.
etc. etc. etc.

Number 5.

Mar-ra boor-ba, boor-ba nung-a,
Mar-ra gul-ga, gul-ga nung-a.

These songs give however no idea of the manner in which they chant forth their feelings. When irritated by any passionate emotions they then pour out with the greatest volubility torrents of reproach, all in a measured cadence and with at least the same number of syllables in each line, but even the rhyme is generally preserved; the two following translations of chants of this sort are rendered as literally into English as the great difference between the languages permits.

The reader must imagine a little hut, formed of sticks fixed slanting into the ground with pieces of bark resting against them, so as to form a rude shelter from the wind; underneath this were seated round a fire five persons--an old man, and his four wives; one of these was considerably younger than


the others, and being a new acquisition, all but herself were treated with cold neglect. One of her rivals had resolved not to submit patiently to this, and when she saw her husband's cloak spread to form a couch for the newcomer she commenced chanting as follows, addressing old Weerang her husband:

Wherefore came you, Weerang,
In my beauty's pride,
Stealing cautiously
Like the tawny boreang,*
On an unwilling bride.
'Twas thus you stole me
From one who loved me tenderly:
A better man he was than thee,
Who having forced me thus to wed,
Now so oft deserts my bed.

Yang, yang, yang, yoh--

Oh where is he who won
My youthful heart,
Who oft used to bless,
And call me loved one:
You Weerang tore apart,
From his fond caress,
Her, whom you now desert and shun;
Out upon thee faithless one:
Oh may the Boyl-yas** bite and tear,
Her, whom you take your bed to share.

Yang, yang, yang, yoh--

Wherefore does she slumber
Upon thy breast,
Once again to-night,
Whilst I must number
Hours of sad unrest,
And broken plight.
Is it for this that I rebuke
Young men, who dare at me to look?
Whilst she, replete with arts and wiles,
Dishonours you and still beguiles.

(*Footnote. Boreang is the word for a male native dog.)
(**Footnote. Boyl-ya is the native name for a sorcerer.)


This attack upon her character was more than the younger female could be expected to submit to, she therefore in return chanted:

Oh, you lying, artful one,
Wag away your dirty tongue,
I have watched your tell-tale eyes,
Beaming love without disguise:
I've seen young Imbat nod and wink,
Oftener perhaps than you may think.

What further she might have said I know not; but a blow upon the head from her rival, which was given with the stick the women dig up the roots with, brought on a general engagement, and the dispute was finally settled by the husband beating several of his wives severely about the head with a hammer.

The ferocity of the women when they are excited exceeds that of the men; they deal dreadful blows at one another with their long sticks, and if ever the husband is about to spear or beat one of his wives the others are certain to set on her and treat her with great inhumanity.

The next translation is that of a chant sung by an old woman to incite the men to avenge the


death of a young man who died from a natural cause, but whose death she attributed to witchcraft and sorcery; the natives, who listened to her attentively, called her chanting goranween, or abusing. She stood with her legs wide apart, waving her wanna, or long digging stick in the air, and rocking her body to and fro, whilst her kangaroo-skin cloak floated behind her in the wind. She was thus quite the beau ideal of a witch. The following is the sense of the words she used, at least as nearly as it is possible to express their force and meaning in English.

The blear-eyed sorcerers of the north,
Their vile enchantments sung and wove,
And in the night they issued forth,
A direful people-eating drove.
Feasting on our loved one,
With gore-dripping teeth and tongue,
The wretches sat, and gnawed, and ate,
Whilst their victim soundly slept.

Yho, yang, yho yang, yang yho.

Aye--unconsciously he rested
In a slumber too profound;
The vile boyl-yas sat and feasted
On the victim they had bound
In resistless lethargy.
Mooli-go, our dear young brother,
Where is another like to thee?
Tenderly loved by thy mother,
We again shall never see
Mooli-go, our dear young brother,

Yho, yang yho, ho, ho.

Men, who ever bold have been,
Are your long spears sharpened well?


Is the keen quartz fixed anew?
Let each shaft upon them tell.
Poise your meer-ros long and true:
Let the kileys whiz and whirl
In strange contortions through the air;
Heavy dow-uks at them hurl;
Shout the yell they dread to hear.
Let the young men leap on high,
To avoid the quivering spear;
Light of limb, and quick of eye,
Who sees well has nought to fear.
Let them shift, and let them leap,
When the quick spear whistling flies;
Woe to him who cannot leap!
Woe to him who has bad eyes!

When one of these old hags has entered upon a chant of this kind nothing but complete exhaustion induces her to stop, and the instant she pauses another takes up the burden of her song. The effect some of them produce upon the assembled men is very great; in fact these addresses of the old women are the cause of most of the disturbances which take place. The above translations, without being exactly literal, are as near the original as I could render them. As they are entirely uttered on the spur of the moment there is generally abundant evidence of passion and feeling about them; and although I might have added a great variety, I think that the above will give the English reader as good an idea of the peculiar mode of address of this people as it is in my power to do.

Bibliography and resources:

Bleek 1858, 36 [no. 43], 37 [46a], 37-38 [48], 38 [49]

Perron d'Arc 1869

Calvert 1892, 31-34 

Calvert 1894, 32-34 


SA, Port Phillip District, NSW

RUSSELL, Andrew (reporter)

Corrobbories . . . emu dance . . . mimicking New Zealanders' singing



Russell 1840, A tour through the Australian colonies in 1839 . . . second edition

[Chapter 7, Aborigines, SA, "a corrobbory"], (79-86), 84-86 

. . . There are a few huts set apart in Adelaide for the aborigines; but it is only in the wet weather they appear to enjoy them, preferring to encamp on the bank of the Torrens, or elsewhere, with their original mode of shelter, a break weather formed by the boughs of trees, set around where they usually hold their corrobborries. I had an opportumity of visiting them during two of these festivals. It takes place in the evenings, generally about full moon. On the first occasion, it was on the north bank of the Torrens. While sitting at tea, we were attracted with the uncommon sounds made by them, and set off to the spot from whence they proceeded. On reaching the place, I found them squatted round several fires, having their few [85] clothes laid aside in one corner. The men used two short sticks, which they struck cross ways, taking the lead with their voice, uttering the most singular notes, while the women and children had generally a piece of skin or cloth doubled across the palm of their left hand. This they continued beating upon with the right hand, and keeping time with the voice, producing a sort of hollow sound; at times beating most violently, while screaming to the utmost pitch of the voice, then falling to a very low monotonous strain, starting off again as before, leaving it impossible to convey a proper idea of the singular effect these cadences produce on the ear of a stranger. This continues for some minutes, when a cessation takes place. During which interval, they enter familiarly into conversation with those around them, the females being particularly loquacious. I here remarked the very shrill voice of the gins, at first mistaking them for a few children, till my old dinner acquaintance Jamie, who was one of the party, shewed me two of his gins amongst them. He, on this occasion, regaled himself with a pipe of tobacco, which was presented to him, along with what would purchase some bread for next day. This was a very striking scene, the moon shining with all its clearness, while this apparently happy tribe enjoyed themselves in their own way with lighted fires, sending the blaze upwards, the lurid sky reflecting on their dark countenances back again, [86] altogether so very different from any festival I had ever before witnessed . . .

[Chapter 17, Aborigines, Port Phillip district], (177-87) 

[Chapter 26, Aborigines, NSW], (258-76), 270-74 

. . . The amusements of the aborigines are many and various in their form. Although wars and strifes occasionally take place, yet they are withal friendly in their intercourse by deputations and visits. For instance, if any tribe should happen to acquire a new dance (of which exercise they are very fond) one or more will go over to the next tribe and teach them, continuing to spread it along in the same way to each other. [271] Before I left New South Wales a new dance, called the emu, was the favourite. This was done by having a likness of that bird, rudely carved and partly painted on a piece of wood, one person held it, while the others danced around him, the holder making it exhibit a sort of pecking motion. My friend who witnessed this, described it as very amusing . . . The corroborries are very similar here to those formerly described at South Australia, taking place in moonlight. Although the men have been noticed to enjoy these amusements to the greatest [272] extent, in some cases almost to the exclusion of their wives, yet, at times, the women have their own dances and amusements which are of a very joyous kind. This mostly happens when their lords and masters are out on some excursion after their prey . . . [273] . . . The natives, generally speaking, are on very good terms with their own personal appearance. A few rather laughable instances have occurred, on their meeting with Africans brought by some family to the colony. They lose no time, however, in making known their opinion of the black [274] fellow who has got no hair, considering the short woolly appearance of the latter unworthy the name of hair; and from the number of New Zealanders now employed in New South Wales they have frequent opportunities of meeting them. The New Zealander in dancing or singing distorts his features very much, suiting the action to the words sung; this affords much amusement to the aborigines, who in their own way attempt a travesty of it afterwards . . .

References: (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

[News], The Argus (15 February 1868), 4 

The announcement in our yesterday's issue of the death, on the 10th December last, at Boulogne-sur-Mer, of Mr. Andrew Russell, was, no doubt, lead with regret by many old colonists to whom the deceased gentleman was familiar. Mr. Russell, it will be remembered, was one of the earliest of our Melbourne merchants, and occupied the premises in Little Collins-street which were subsequently used for the purposes of a County Court. He was one of the first aldermen elected in 1842, and subsequently, filled the office of mayor with great credit. He was also a member of the old nominee Legislative Council. He retired from business about ten years ago and left for England, but has since visited the colony, and was amongst the guests at the corporation dinner, May, 1865, as an ex-mayor. He again left for England shortly afterwards.

"Andrew Russell (Australian politician)", Wikipedia

Neil Thomas, "Andrew Russell 1809-1867, descendants and ancestry", posted 3 September 2014 

Andrew Russell was born Glasgow, Scotland, 14 January 1809 to John Russell, spirits dealer, and spouse Janet Philp (married Glasgow 1804).

1839 (year of publication)

Western Australia; London, England (place of publication)

IRWIN, Frederick Chidley (reporter)

OGLE, Nathaniel (author, reporter)

They all evince an ear for music, and are fond of dancing



Nathaniel Ogle, The colony of Western Australia: a manual for emigrants to that settlement or its dependencies, comprising its discovery, settlement, Aborigines, land-regulations . . . with the most correct map extant (London: James Fraser, 1839), 61-62 

[61] . . . They all evince an ear for music, and are fond of dancing. The only attempt at a musical instrument yet seen among them, is a kind of drum, made of kangaroo-skin stretched over a bundle, and beaten with the fists of the women and children; they strike in correct time, and sing simultaneously, and in a monotonous kind of chant. To this music the men and boys dance, singing at the same time. This dance is evidently expressive of their gallantry and readiness to defend the weaker sex. They retreat together in exact step, then turn and give on tip-toe a curious agitation to the legs, which are widely distended; suddenly they rush towards the women, raising their voices, extending their arms, and placing themselves in a defensive attitude.

Another and chief amusement is a representation of hunting the kangaroo. It is thus well described by Captain Irwin:

"Their facility of imitation renders their pantomimic dances, which they delight in, lively pictures of some of their pursuits. In these dances, called by them corrobories, they engage generally at night near a blazing fire. Their representation of killing the kangaroo is peculiarly striking. Two are selected out of the circle to represent the hunter and the kangaroo; one assumes the attitude of the animal when grazing, and exhibits the cautious timidity natural to it, pausing from time to time, rising up on end, looking about, and anxiously listening, as it were, to ascertain whether an enemy be nigh. The hunter, approaching against the wind, with extreme caution steals on his prey, and, after frequent change of his position, retreating or throwing himself on the ground, the scene at length closes with the triumph of the hunter, on his discharging the spear which is supposed to pierce the animal."

Thomas John Buckton, Western Australia, a description of the vicinity of Australind, and Port Leschenault (London: John Ollivier, 1840), 95 

Reprints Ogle's text verbatim


Frederick Chidley Irwin, The state and position of Western Australia, commonly called the Swan-River Settlement (London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1835), 24;view=1up;seq=34 

[22] The Aborigines: The tribes who frequent the districts in the vicinity of the Swan, Port Augusta, and King George's Sound (the territory now occupied by the settlers), do not exceed, perhaps, a thousand souls . . .

[24] . . . The talent of these natives for mimickry is considerable, and shows their habits of observation. They repeat with great accuracy the conversation of the Europeans, and pro nounce each word correctly, excepting those beginning with an S; for instance, "Swan," they call "On." They have also been seen imitating the walk and gesture of a number of Europeans, some of whom they had but occasionally met, with such exactness, that the standers-by were instantly en abled to name the persons intended. This facility of imitation renders their pantomimic dances, which they delight in, lively pictures of some of their pursuits. In these dances, called by them corrobories, they engage generally at night, near a blazing fire. Their representation of killing the kan garoo is peculiarly striking. Two are selected out of the circle to represent the hunter and the kangaroo. One assumes the attitude of the animal when grazing, and exhibits the cautious timidity natural to it, pausing from time to time, rising upon end, looking about, and anxiously listening as it were, to ascertain whether an enemy be nigh. The hunter, approaching against the wind, with extreme caution steals on his prey; and, after frequent change of his position retreating, or throwing himself on the ground, the scene at length closes with the triumph of the hunter, on his discharging the spear, which is supposed to pierce the animal . . .

1839 - New Year 1840

Wollongong area, NSW

AGATE, Alfred Thomas (artist)

CLARKE, William Branwhite (reporter)

Wollongong corroborees



"Corrobory (dance) N.H." [Indigenous corroboree, Illawarra region, NSW, 1839; from Twenty years before the mast by Charles Erskine, between pages 100-101, drawn by Alfred T. Agate, engraved by E. G. Dunnell

Bibliography and resources:

Organ and Speechley 1997

The last record of a corroboree / initiation rite (bunan ceremony) in Wollongong occurred in the New Year of 1839-40. On that occasion a number of Aborigines from various parts of coastal New South Wales were in attendance. As a new song was acted out in the darkness by people from Kiama, Wollongong, Liverpool, Brisbane Water and Newcastle, a recently arrived Anglican parson by the name of W. B. Clarke observed the proceedings. He recorded the following in his diary:

[5 January 1840] On inquiry I find the burden of the song to be: "that the white man came to Sydney in ships and landed the horses in the saltwater". It is of such ridiculous subjects that the Blacks of New Holland make their songs - and any trifling event is celebrated by a song.


10 January 1840

Woolloomooloo, NSW


POLDING, John Bede (reporter)

Corroboree ground . . . Woolloomooloo



Polding, Sydney (10 January 1840); Birt 1911, Benedictine pioneers, volume 1, 457 

. . . They have a particular predilection for a little spot on the coast opposite where I live. Several times during the year they assemble there to celebrate what they call a corroboree. Their singing is plaintive, - I should say, melancholy, - even when they wish to express joy. It is in the night-time they meet, and the noise they make awakens all the neighbourhood. Although my residence in this country does not go beyond some years, I am able to ascertain of myself that the number of aborigines is rapidly diminishing. In a little time hence this people will have entirely disappeared before the destructive breath of a civilisation, which is neither inspired nor directed by religion . . .

21 January 1840

Loddon area, Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

The air of the highland laddie,



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 21 January 1840; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Tuesday 21 January 1840 - Fine morning. 7 am, 2 young women, 1 old woman came to the camp. I asked one where her husband was, said quamby, dead, tado VDL. Distributed beads, knives to the natives. Said they were very hungry. It is astonishing the quantity of food they eat. They were eating all day yesterday, and wanted still. One of the blacks sang, to the air of the highland laddie, tilbut: cockatoo . . . Mr. Perer taught Jemmy to sing "Bon.ny Logan".

11 February 1840

Adelaide, SA

Australian melodies by "A voice from the bush"


[Advertisement], Adelaide Chronicle and South Australian Advertiser (11 February 1840), 2 


IN the Press, and will be published in Numbers, or as soon as they can be executed - which is not yet an easy matter in this Province - one or two a week regularly, after the appearance of the first, Twelve pure Australian Melodies being (as our poetical rival "---in the Bush" says, "written both in and upon the Province."

The first will consist of a South Australian and Colonial Anthem, which will be respectfully dedicated to Miss GAWLER, daughter of His Excellency the Governor:-

Again, adopting our metrical Rival's idea about the Sibyl's leaves - the price will be, to non-Subscribers, 4s. each Melody, or 30s. the set. To Subscribers, whose faith and kindness may be so great, as to support the publication by anticipating its appearance by their orders, half price only will be charged; and during the progress of the Publication of the Melodies, half price for the still unpublished Numbers, but full price for those published previously to the period of subscribing.

A Glee, and several of the Songs, will be set to music composed expressly for the words - others will go to the beautiful and popular airs already immortalized by Erin's Bard, such as -

"Believe me of ail those endearing young charms
Farewell to the Mountains
The Old English Gentleman
Incledon's celebrated Storm, with some variation.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, &c., &c."

Subscribers' names are received at each of the Newspaper Offices.

18 February 1840

Adelaide, SA

. . . the monotonous howling of the corrobories



[News], Adelaide Chronicle and South Australian Advertiser (18 February 1840), 3 

Many of our friends at home, who may have been startled by Mr. Horton James's veracious assertion, that a person might lose himself in the bush in the city of Adelaide, and sleep all night under a tree, for want of a better roof, will be a little surprized to see in the advertizing columns of the Adelaide papers, a notice oi the concert to be given on Wednesday, next, by Messrs Platts & Bennett; and will agree with us in thinking, that an evening may be much more agreeably passed under the roof-tree of such really elegant rooms as those of the Messrs. Solomon, in listening to the strains of the masterspirits of harmony of our own land, and to the vocal melody of the our emigrant brethren, than in endeavouring to repose under the finest South Australian gum-tree, listening to, and shrinking from, the monotonous howling of the corrobories of our sable brethren. Still more surprized will they be, if they should happen to see the handsome tinted "programmes" of the music selected for the occasion, creditable alike to the taste of our "masters of the tuneful art," and to the neatness of the "printer's hand" in South Australia. We trust Messrs. Platts and Bennett will have liberal encouragement to renew their praiseworthy endeavours to provide elegant and innocent amusement for the evening hours of our lieges.


The above notice was for a forthcoming concert to be given by Charles Platts and George Bennett, the first professional concert presented in the colony.


[Advertisement], South Australian Register (15 February 1840), 1 

"FIRST PROFESSIONAL CONCERT IN ADELAIDE", South Australian Register (15 February 1840), 6

28 February 1840 (first notice)

3 March 1840 (first performance)

Old Court House, Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW

GAUTROT, Joseph (composer)

Success (song)

Words by Linsburg - Music by Mons. Gautrot



[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (28 February 1840), 1

UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF LADY O'CONNELL. MRS. CLANCY HAS THE HONOUR TO ANNOUNCE THAT HER Concert Will take place in THE OLD COURT HOUSE, Castlereagh Street, On TUESDAY EVENING, March 3, 1840, On which occasion she will be assisted by Madame and Monsieur Gautrot, Mr. Worgan, Mr. Deane and Family, Mr. Leggett, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Sippe and the Cecilian Society, who have kindly offered their assistance. Leader of the Orchestra, Mr. S. W. WALLACE, Piano, Mr. Johnson, who have also kindly given their assistance.
Programme Concert:


1. Overture - Preciosa, Weber
2. Song - Success, (Words by Linsburg, Music by Monsieur Gautrot,) Madame Gautrot . . .

[Advertisement], The Colonist (29 February 1840), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (2 March 1840), 1

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (3 March 1840), 1

[News], The Australian (5 March 1840), 2

Mrs. Clancy's concert was very flatteringly attended on Tuesday, and presented on the whole a very pleasant evening's entertainment. There was nothing perhaps very brilliant, but there is more gratification in a quiet, unobtrusive exhibition, than one with higher pretensions which may not effect what it promises . . . Madame Gautrot sang two pieces in very good style, the first, a French air, was animating and melodious, but somewhat lengthy; the second, Black Eyed Susan, was very successfully executed, and with few exceptions her defect of accent was not perceptible . . .

"LOCAL", Australasian Chronicle (6 March 1840), 2

11 March 1840 (date of event)

Melbourne, Port Phillip district, NSW (VIC)

A corrobora took place



"PORT PHILLIP (From the Port Phillip Gazette, March 18)", The Australian (9 April 1840), 2 

On Wednesday last, some of the inhabitants of Melbourne had very foolishly supplied several blacks belonging to the Melbourne tribe with spirits; and in the evening, the two tribes being encamped at no great distance from each other, a corrobora took place which was suddenly converted into a fight by some of the drunken blacks throwing several spears in among the dancers. No great mischief was done, but the noise made by the women and childien attracted crowds of people from Melbourne, who went in expectation of seeing a corrobora, or war-dance. One poor fellow belonging to the Barrabool tribe was hit by a spear, the point of which went through the fleshy part of the one leg, and wounded the other. We know not whether any of the Protectors are in Melbourne at present, if so, they should surely endeavour to prevent the effusion of blood, which must follow the allowing two hostile tribes to continue longer in such close proximity.

19 March 1840 (first published)

Adelaide, SA

ANONYMOUS = ? HAILES, Nathaniel (songwriter, satirist)

NATHAN, Isaac (composer)

The Adelaide "Tambourgi"

A War-Song after Byron (Gazette, O! Gazette, O! Thy 'larum afar)


Sources and documentation:

"THE ADELAIDE TAMBOURGI", Southern Australian (19 March 1840), 4


A War-Song AFTER Byron.


Gazette, O ! Gazette, O !. Thy 'larum afar
Gives hope to the valiant and promise of war;
Lo the sons of the City arise at the note
From Rundle Street, Hindley Street, Grenfell and Grote.


Oh who are so gay as our own bold Dragoons,
With their "forage caps, jackets," and cheap "pantaloons."
To the flies and the dust they leave storehouse and shop
To frighten the parrots with clatter and pop.


Will Adelaide men like tame citizens live?
To their sons an example so dastardly give?
No! forth as a torrent of valour they go.
To annihilate (when they can find one) the foe!


Woe, woe to the Emu and tall Kangaroo!
Woe, woe, to the native, now we've spear men too!
Though fierce, and as black as black-berry he be,
Our Berry's a far fiercer lancer than he!


Go, savage, and seek thy last bed in the waves!
Or hide thy dark form in interior caves !
For thine "Olivers" now (howe'er ample the store)
We have "Rowlands" and 50 good cavalry more!


There are Berkeley, and Hardy, McPherson, and Holmes,
Who on horseback are noble as fairies or gnomes!
Our Wigley, too, rules on both saddle and hench,
Now facing a felon - now leaping a trench!


O! who is so brave as Colonial hussar!
That is - who so fearless of bullet and scar!
What thought (as his ranks rusk like waves of the sea)
What thought of defeat, or of dying has he?


O! think, and with awe, of the first Grand Review!
The drum's rub-a-dud, and the fife's tu-tu-tu!
The Artillery's thunder, and clatter, and flash!
And the War Timors prancing, and plunging slap-dash!


O think of our phalanx of grim grenadiers,
Nobly charged by light-horsemen with pennons and spears!
While advancing, retiring, and dodging between,
Lo ! the greenest sharp-shooters that ever were seen!


Hurra! To the field! fear not shot-wound nor scar!
And we, the unmartial, will watch ye from far!
And beholding your feats betwixt mountains and shore,
Should we quite die with laughter - we'll see you no more!

"ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE", Southern Australian (2 April 1840), 4

THE ARMY. To the Editor of the Southern Australian. Mr. Editor, - In common with all well meaning and patriotic inhabitants of Adelaide, I have felt some sorrow and much indignation, at a copy of verses which you published in a late Number of the Southern Australian, entitled, "The Adelaide Tambourgi." I trust that with that spirit of fairness which should characterise a public Journalist, and which I believe has always characterised you, you will give insertion to the following remarks thereon, or rather, on the subject to which they relate. The writer of those verses is, I presume, a very young man. At least he is a very flippant and malicious one, or he would not attempt to cast ridicule on the gallant defenders of the people of South Australia . . .

"THE ADELAIDE TAMBOURGI", The Hobart Town Courier (17 April 1840), 3

Bibliography and resources:

Music concordances:

Tambourgi! Tambourgi! sung by Mr. Braham at the oratorios, Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, poet Lord Byron, composer I. Nathan (London: H. Falkner, [1831]) (NLA, 1980s ABC photocopy of copy in SL-NSW) (DIGITISED)


[Music reviews], The Athenaeum 200 (27 August 1831), 556

4 April 1840

? Maitland, and Sydney, NSW

"FOGHARTY O'FLAHERTY" (pseud.; songrwiter)

Paddy's corrobory at Maitland (song)



"PADDY'S CORROBORY AT MAITLAND", The Colonist (4 April 1840), 2 

We do not know whether this was Maitland East or Maitland West, but we have little doubt it is from Maitland.

Sure where have you been--at nate Paddy O'Flare?
With your long togs, thin brogues, and frizzling hair,
Faith I've been with the Pats, next door to the clink!
Where lots of good fun and nate poteen to drink;
With fiddling, dancing, and drinking, that sober he
The Devil could not come from the Irish Corrobory.

Hurrah for the Pats, they're the lads for the quality,
For loving and fighting and rale hospitality;
They ax'd all the English and Scots, their descindents,
And the Jonathans too, who are now indepindents;
Besides we had there all the nobs and the nobbery,
That ever were seen at an Irish Corrobory.

We had flaring red coats,--but where were the blue Jackets?
Just ax the Committee who gave out the tickets;
Who must know the pure blood from the "Gim of the sea,"
Now double distilled in this land of the free;
But among them we had all the snobs and the snobbery,
That Sydney could send to the Irish Corrobory.

We had all the great O's, the Macs and the Micks too,
Sure the mighty descindents of Brian Boroo;
The Judys, and Biddys, and Norahs, and Blarneys,
[. . . ? Line missing . . .]
Dancing jigs o'er our hearts, with their bobs and their bobbery,
Beating time heel and toe at the Irish Corrobory.

There was Highland and Lowland, and Christian and Turk,
All playing good fists at the knife and the fork;
Sheep Counts and their wives, like princesses were seen,
But not dressed from the wool, which they ought to have been;
And we'd scrambling, and squeezing, and gobbling, and gobbery,
Faith you ne'er saw the like at an Irish Corrobory.

We'd land buyers and sellers, and people who lent,
Or will lend you their money at fifty per cent.
There were breeders of cattle and pigs, and horse jockeys,
And folks that were up to all hokeys and pokeys;
Some with mighty big purses from jobs and from jobbery,
Who were mighty big wigs at the Irish Corrobory.

"And who paid the piper," pray? Patrick O'Flare,
Sure a tinpenny's face could not show itself there;
'Twas entirely a trate, both the drink and the jig,
Only ax of the spalpeen, that's Paddy the Big,
Och! the Pats are the boys for trating the quality,
For loving, and fighting, and rale hospitality;
Free gratis for nothing, a trate and no robbery,
Who the devil would'nt go to an Irish Corrobory?

FOGHARTY O'FLAHERTY, Blarney Hall, Maitland.

25 and 26 April, 11 and 27 May 1840

Murray River region, Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Said it was his song . . . a large corroberry . . . natives singing native songs



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 25 and 26 April 1840; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Saturday 25 April 1840 - Rose at day light, was fine and pleasant and I was thankful for the rest I had received . . .

I was much satisfied with this my first view of the far famed Murry River. On the north and near to the road was some low ranges terminating nearly to the banks of the river. On the opposite side and nearly in a range with these hills were others on the acclivity of which were situate about 50 or 60 feet up, the police barrack having a neat cottage appearance with a verandah in front . . .

Visited the small settlement consisting of a blacksmith shop kept by Brown and a son kept, has his son. He has also a paddock ploughed up in which he intends to grow wheat. Visited the black's encampment. They had several carcases and intrails of sheep. The sheep had been drowned in crossing. One black was singing a song and said he had made it about a black fellow being tired crossing sheep. At the crossing place on the east side there is an old tree with "HUME" cut out of the wood. Got a collection of words and information from the blacks. A black was staying with the soldiers at the barracks. Had been there 15 or 18 months. He is quite domestic, does all the work that a white person could do.

Murry blacks: 25 April: [vocabulary] . . . corrobbery: -;

Hume River, Saturday, 25 April '40. - 1.; 2. Ome.he; alias Joe, the Hume black, who was cooking a sheep's head, was good natured and was singing. I asked what was the burden or nature of his song. Said it was his song. Said it was one he had made about black fellow being tired crossing sheep and indeed such exertions deserved to be recognised in song, for I witnessed their efforts and labor. They worked hard indeed and was more useful than any white man. 1., 2., alias Harry, was also cooking sheep that had been drowned.

Sunday 26 April 1840 - We forded the river, up to the horse's girth. Rode on [to] Ewin's on whom I called and enquired of his health. He said his men who were in charge of dray belonging to Mitchell, who has a store near the Murrumbigger, and who resides in Melbourne, the men were on their way to Port Phillip. Had seen some blacks at the Black Dog Creek and had run away from them and left there dray and things behind. He said they were two fools and he believed they had gone on to the river. Euing, he said the blacks in that country would not hurt any person. They had had a large corroberry as is their custom and were returning home.

George Augustus Robinson, journal, 11 and 27 May 1840; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark

Monday 11 May 1840 Rose at day dawn, a cold and sivere frosty morning, but fine and continued so throughout the day . . .

On Sunday morning they came to the hut I gave them 14 lbs of meat and some wheat which they ground which afforded them a good breakfast . . .

The Murrumbidgee black was by the fire. One of the natives Jaggy Jaggy wanted the black "Yarry" to sit down, hear a song. He would not but stood up on the edge of the creek with his face to the blacks. He saw a black ship his spear and make believe to throw it another way and suddenly turned around and threw it at him. He stooped suddenly down and the spear took an oblique direction in his shoulder. The force of the blow knocked hiim down into the creek. The man when he threw the spear was not five yards from him. He aimed at his breast with all his force. The fell out when the man fell and he bled profusely.

Wednesday 27 May 1840 . . . Natives said about two [...] he blind, the same tumbled down, he was tired out, did not want to say so. Squrrels called [blank] made noise tonight oo he &c. Natives singing native songs., where we slept, belongs to Night, fetched, long night and of fear. I heard a noise at fires, was persuaded to kill me, heard around the fire, was scared and that they were to take and torture me and got for having resigned to die . . .

25 May 1840 (first performance)

Norfolk Island, NSW

WITTON, Henry John (composer, songwriter)

Old England for ever

Song, H. Witton [1840]

NO COPY IDENTIFIED (? composer's MS)

Old England I live but for you, the poetry by F. Drake, Esq.; an officer late of H.M. Service; composed and arranged with accompaniments for the piano forte, by H. J. Witton, R.A.M. ([? : ?, ? by 1846]

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; ? printed edition of the above


[Playbill], "ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE, Norfolk Island (25 May 1840) (NLA MS 2738)

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. NORFOLK ISLAND", The Sydney Herald (24 June 1840), 2

On Monday, 25th May, in honour of HER MAJESTY'S BIRTH-DAY,
Will be Performed, by Permission, Two Acts of the admired Comic Opera of the

Don Caesar. John Lawrence
Scipio. George Rolfe
Fernando. James Walker
Alphonso. Henry Witton
Spado. James King
Pedrillo. James Monds
Sanguino. James Cranston
Rapino. James Porter
Calvette. William Smith
Vasquez. R. Sanderson
Lorenza. [blank]
Banditti, &c.


Glee - Prithee, Brothers, speed to the Boat, Witton, Walker, Porter, Cranston, Sanderson, Smith
Song - Old England for ever, H. Witton
Comic Song - Walker, the Two-penny Postman, J. Monds
Song - Bound 'Prentice to a Waterman, J. Lawrence
Glee - Fisherman's Glee, same as first
Song - Paddy from Cork, J. Walker
Song - Powder Monkey Peter, J. Lawrence
Glee - As before
Song - Spirit of the Storm, H. Witton
Song - The tight Irishman, J. Porter
Glee - Some love to roam, as before
Song - The Old Commodore, J. Lawrence.
The Tent Scene in Richard III, by H. Witton.

Dance - Tyrolese Waltz, by Thomas Barry.

After which, the. Musical Entertainment of THE PURSE; OR, THE BENEVOLENT TAR.

The Baron. James Cranston
Theodore. G. Rolfe
Edmond. W. Yelverton
Will Steady. John Lawrence
Sally. James Monds
Page. John Rae

After which, Paddy Carey, in character, by John Lawrence.
Song - Banner of War, H. Witton.

The whole to conclude with the National Anthem GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.

"NORFOLK ISLAND", The Sydney Herald (24 June 1840), 2

"PROCLAMATION", The Sydney Herald (24 June 1840), 2

"NEW MUSIC", Morning Chronicle (24 January 1846), 2

We have to acknowledge the receipt of a new piece of music, entitled "Old England I live but for you;" the poetry by F. Drake, Esq., an officer late of H.M. Service; composed and arranged with accompaniments for the piano forte, by H. J. Witton, R.A.M. The work is very neatly executed; but, as it is our misfortune not to be versed in "harmony divine," we are unable to speak as to the merits of the composition.

"OLD ENGLAND, I LIVE BUT FOR YOU", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (21 February 1846), 2

We have been favored, with a rehearsal of this song, from which we are disposed to think it will become a great favorite. Its poetical merit is rather questionable; but the air is beautifully adapted to the words, and the accompaniments are appropriate, simple, and harmonious. It would, perhaps, have better suited the generality of voices in B flat, but where it can be sung in the present key (C) it is preferable. We earnestly recommend it to all lovers of the "divine science" as [much for] its own deserts as from the circumstance [of its having been] produced in the colony.

Bibliography and resources:

West 1852, volume 2, 284 

Never was Norfolk Island so gay, or its inhabitants so joyful, as on the 25th May, 1840. A proclamation had been issued by Maconochie, describing the pleasures and festivities he contemplated. On this occasion he resolved to forget the distinction between good and bad, and to make no exception from the general indulgence; but he entreated the men to remember that on the success of this experiment his confidence would greatly depend: he warned them to suppress the first tokens of disorder, and by retiring to their quarters at the sound of the bugle, prove that they might be trusted with safety. On the morning of the day, the signal colours floated from the staff, crowned with the union jack: twenty-one guns, collected from the vessels and from the government-house, were mounted on the top of a hill, and fired a royal salute. The gates were thrown open, and eighteen hundred prisoners were set free, and joined in various amusements, of which Captain Maconochie was a frequent spectator. Eighteen hundred prisoners sat down to dinner, and at its close, having received each a small quantity of spirits with water, they drank health to the Queen and Maconochie - three times three for Victoria and the captain rent the air. They then renewed their sports, or attended a theatrical performance. New scenery, dresses, music, and songs, contributed to the hilarity of the party. The performances were, the Castle of Andalusia, in which the comic powers of the prisoners were exhibited to their companions, a variety of glees and songs, the tent scene of Richard III., the Purse, or the Benevolent Tar, and finally the national anthem.[235] At the termination, no accident had occurred; the gaol was entirely unoccupied; no theft or disorder had disgraced the day; and thus the notion of Maconochie seemed to be illustrated by the experiment. The contrast with the past system created the greatest [Pg 285] amazement, and the description of this extraordinary scene excited universal laughter.

Wills 2009


Unidentified edition was possibly printed at Norfolk Island, while Witton was a prisoner there.

13 June 1840 (first notice of publication)

Adelaide, SA

INDIGENOUS (South-East region, SA)

TEICHELMANN, Christian Gottlieb (transcriber)

SCHÜRMANN, Clamor Wilhelm (transcriber)

Kadlitpiko palti (Captain Jack's song)


Mullawirraburkarna palti (King John's song)


Nguyapalti (small-pox song)

Which they learnt from the eastern tribes, by the singing of which the disease is believed to be prevented or stopped in its progress


Source and documentation:

Teichelmann and Schürmann 1840, 73 

Pindi mai birkibirki parrato, parrato. (Da capo bis.)
The European food, the pease, I wished to eat, I wished to eat.

Natta ngai padlo ngaityarni-appi; watteyernaurlo tappandi ngaityo parni tatti. (Da capo.)
Now it (viz. the road or track) has tired me; throughout Yerna there is here unto me a continuous road.

Teichelmann and Schürmann 1840, 34 

Ngunyawaieti, s. play; dance; corrobberee . . .

Nguya, s. pustule; the disease of small-pox, from which the aborigines suffered before the Colony [SA] was founded. They universally assert that it came from the east, or the Murray tribes, so that is not at all improbable that the disease was at first brought among the natives by European settlers on the eastern coast [NSW]. They have not suffered from it for some years -, but about a decennium ago it was, according to their statement, universal; when it diminished their numbers considerably, and on many left the marks of its ravages, to be seen at this day. They have no remedy against it, except the nguyapalti.

Nguyapalti, small-pox song, which they learnt from the eastern tribes, by the singing of which the disease is believed to be prevented or stopped in its progress.

Bibliography and resources:

Russell 1840, 82-83 

As there are no military in this province, the constabulary force musters strong, and some natives are employed at times as such. Amongst them [83] are three called by the Europeans king John, Captain Jack, and Rodney, who were instrumental in bringing to justice those two natives who were recently executed in front of the government stores for murder; the natives generally acknowledging the justice of their punishment, attended the execution of the two unfortunates, till their bodies were interred within the precincts of the jail, a small building on the south side. It is said that the criminals themselves made some rather singular dying requests, two of which being so very opposite may be instanced. The first was, that they might have plenty of bread and cheese before execution. The other was, that they might be buried on their own hunting ground.

King John appears to be as proud of his office as a constable, as in the dignity of his kingship. Captain Jack is a very active looking fellow, and crossed lately with an exploring party to Port Lincoln, in the hope of his being able to negotiate with the natives there, but found the language of that tribe quite different from that of the Adelaide one.

Eyre 1845, volume 2, 240-241 

16 June 1840 (first publication)

? Illawarra, NSW

ANONYMOUS (songwriter, satirist)

A favourite new song of the Wollongong Blacks



"Original Poetry", Australasian Chronicle (16 June 1840), 4

A favourite new song of the Wollongong Blacks, sung by Chief "Frying Pan" at the last corroboree

Tune - "The Sea!"

My farm! my farm! my goodly farm;
My rich, my gay, any fertile farm;
My gay, my fertile farm.
I know its marks, I know its bounds,
I've march'd it, paced it round and round;
It feeds my cows, my grain supplies,
And in its bosom a quarry lies.
And in its bosom a quarry lies.

I'll keep my farm, I'll keep my farm,
I care not who may think it harm.
The bishop above or the flock below;
And so I talk where'er I go.
If scandal arise, and awake my sheep,
No matter! I my farm will keep.
I my farm will keep.

I love ; oh ! how I love to stand
Over my men with their hoes in hand,
Their hoes, their hoes in hand!
When every man strains his sinewy arm,
To my "FIFTY" tune, and my "LASH" alarm,
Or works the quarry within my lawn
To evening's dusk from morning's dawn.
To evening's dusk from morning's dawn.

I never think of the vulgar poor,
But I love my own farm more and more;
I prize it more within my breast,
Like a bird that loveth its mother's nest.
And a goodly mother I count my farm,
Rich in potatoes, wheat, and corn
Potatoes, wheat, and corn.

The fields were green, the landlord warm,
When I fell in with this lucky farm
This lucky, lucky farm.
The dewdrops glistened, the garden smiled,
The woods, festooned with their tapestry wild
Of green leafed creepers, sang the song
Of joy, by the notes of the feathered throng.
Of joy, by the notes of the feathered throng.

I've lived since then, midst hoes and ploughs,
A farmer's life, milking forty cows,
With a quarry to lend, and a power to range.
Oh! I'd never sigh, nor seek for change.
Avert, ye fates, the direful morn,
When I shall have to resign my farm!
Shall have to resign my farm!

Omnes - Budgerry! Budgerry! Budgerry!

Music concordances:

The sea, a song, sung by Mr. Phillips, at the public concerts to the poetry by Barry Cornwall esqr., the music composed & dedicated to his friend Captain Gosling by the Chevalier Sigismond Neukomm (London: Cramer, Addison & Beale, [n.d.]) 


It would seem uncharacteristic of the Chronicle's liberal editor W. A. Duncan to include what appears to be this Indigenous parody. But it's real subject probably relates to settler Protestant bigotry concerning the new Catholic Church in Wollongong. See also The chief Fryingpan again below.


"FRYINGPAN JUNIOR. MR. EDITOR", Australasian Chronicle (24 October 1849), 2

6 July 1840 (first advertised)

8 July 1840 (first performance)

Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW

GAUTROT, Joseph (composer)


For 2 tenors (violas), 2 violoncellos, and double bass

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; ? composer's MS and parts


[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (6 July 1840), 6

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. GRAND CONCERT under the distinguished Patronage of Lady Gipps, Lady O'Connell, Miss Deas Thomson, Miss Gibbs, and other ladies of distinction. - Mr. DEANE begs to inform his friends and the public that, under the above distinguished patronage his CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music, on a very extensive scale, will take place at the Theatre Royal, on WEDNESDAY, July 8th, 1840 . . .

[Part II] 4. Quintett - Composed by Mons. Gautrot, for two Tenors, two Violoncellos, and one Double Bass. 1st Tenor, Mons. Gautrot; 2nd, Mr. Deane; Violoncellos, Mr. Curtis, and Mr. E. Deane; Double Bass, Mr. Parbury.

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (7 July 1840), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (8 July 1840), 1

"MR. DEANE'S CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (9 July 1840), 2

We have just returned from this concert, and have only time to say that it went off with great eclat; . . . that Monsieur Gautrot's and Master Deane'e fiddles were in good tune; and that all would have been well but far certain stupid rascals who had got themselves perched among the gods aloft, and who took it into their heads to encore everything; in consequence of which his Excellency the Governor took his departure in the middle of the second part . . .

"CONCERT", The Sydney Herald (10 July 1840), 2

Mr. Deane's concert in the Victoria Theatre on Wednesday, went off remarkably well. The house, notwithstanding the weather, and the state of the streets, was very nearly full . . . Monsieur Gautrot's quartette [sic] was ably led by himself his tenor violin playing being a perfect master piece.

"ORATORIO", Colonial Times (19 October 1844), 3

A performance, somewhat novel here, took place on Tuesday evening last in the hall of the Mechanics' Institute, by the members of the Choral Society, of an oratorio, the second since the formation of this very admirable Society. There were thirty-six performers, including vocal and instrumental; and when we say that the oratorio went off with eclât, we shall, we are quite sure, be amply borne out by some three or four hundred hearers, who were all abundantly gratified. The instrumental department was the most efficiently managed, especially the opening overture, and Monsieur Gautrot's exquisite quintette, the composer himself conducting . . .

20 July 1840 (date of original letter)

Woolabula, NSW

A grand corrobora



"Original Correspondence", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (18 February 1841), 2 

To the Editor of the Sydney Gazette. Sir - The following, as well as those communications which you have already published in the Gazette, are merely transcripts of letters sent to a friend in England; they were never intended to meet-the public eye, but such as they are, they are at your disposal. The condition of the Aborigines of the Isles of the Pacific and New Holland has, I perceive at last, drawn the attention of the press "at home," and if the following brief remarks on the same subject should in the most remote degree tend to arouse public sympathy in favour of this fallen and degraded class of our fellow men, then would I be truly gratified. Yours, &c. A BUSHMAN. Woolabula, 6th Feb, 1841.

. . . Should it interest you to know where this has been penned, be it known to you that I am now scribbling (20th July, 1840) in a bark hut at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, 400 miles from Sydney, and close to the sources of the Snowy River and the Murrumbidgee, the parent of the great Murray River . . .

. . . They have a certain ceremony when a lad attains the age of fourteen, or thereabout, that they throw a good deal of mystery over, and which some assert to he a religious rite, though I am inclined to think otherwise, but as they strictly exclude every "whitefellow" from the ceremony, it is almost impossible to state the particulars; suffice it to say, that the tribe musters their whole strength, when they select all the lads on whom the operation has not been performed, these they take to a secluded spot, where all preliminaries being settled, one youth after another is taken and the front tooth of the upper jaw extracted; the youths remain on the place for a certain number of days, when they are introduced to the tribe as warriors at a grand corrobora held on the occasion. The gins are not allowed to be present when the teeth are extracted; the mothers of the lads keep at some distance, and during all the period the operation is going on they carry in their hands a lighted torch which on no account they allow to be extinguished . . .

24 July and 18 August 1840

Adelaide, SA

. . . white chalk and red ochre . . . for their filthy corrobories . . . beastly corrobories . . . discordant orgies



{Editorial], South Australian Register (1 August 1840), 4 

THE official correspondence published in our last regarding the question of priority of selection by the preliminary purchasers of land in the southern districts and the natives, with the commentary thereon by an OLD SETTLER, which we subjoin, afford ample scope for reflection and discussion. By no means inclined to admit, to their full extent, the validity of the arguments in favor of the native rights to the absolute proprietorship of the soil of the territory, we are, nevertheless, most willing to concede that a lawful obligation is imposed upon the government to provide liberally for their physical wants, as well as for their moral and religious improvement . . .

To the Editors of the South Australian Register. July 24, 1840. GENTLEMEN - . . . I deny the existence of any rights on the part of the natives in the land, or that can be called proprietary. There possessory rights do not extend beyong the produce of the soil to the soil itself. No native right in the soil is acknowledged by the colonial laws of England . . .

It would be difficult to define what conceivable proprietary rights were ever enjoyed by the miserable savages of South Australia, who never cultivated an inch of the soil, and whose ideas of the value of its direct produce never extended beyond obtaining a sufficiency of pieces of white chalk and red ochre, wherewith to bedaub their bodies for their filthy corrobories . . .

. . . With these views, and holding the opinions I do on the rights of the natives, it is impossible to admit that they are legally entitled to priority of selection, or that the waste land of the province for any purpose whatever - public or private - can be appreciated but in the manner directed by the South Australian Act. I am, Gentleman, Your most obedient servant, AN OLD SETTLER.

"THE NATIVES", South Australian Register (15 August 1840), 5 

To the Editors of the South Australian Register. GENTLEMEN - Not long ago, I saw in the Gazette a notice to the effect that the police and park-keepers were to consider it their duty to prevent as far as possible the natives from cutting wood on that portion of the park lands lying between North and South Adelaide. After this notice, I was rather surprised the other morning to see a whole body of natives hewing and cutting away at the fine trees nearly opposite Government House; and not only this, but one fine tree was set on fire and continued burning during the whole day and succeeding night. Now, it is to me, and must be I think to every citizen of Adelaide, a matter of regret to see the only part of the park lands on which the trees have been preserved, and the only part which can now be converted into a pleasure ground, thus left for the natives to do as they please with . . .

. . . Again, where is the use of appropriating land for them in country districts, if they are to be allowed to loiter about our park lands doing nothing but mischief? . . . I am, Gentlemen, Yours, &c. A TOWNSMAN.

The above letter refers to a subject we have often had it in contemplation to bring under public notice. It is impossible for our readers who do not reside in North Adelaide to form any idea not only of the wholesale destruction of the finest trees of the park which the natives are committing with absolute impunity, but of the nuisance of their beastly corrobories, the noise of which is so frequently carried far into the night. Surely it were desirable for the Protector to take some order on these points. Could they not, at least, be persuaded to celebrate their discordant orgies at some greater distance from town? - EDITORS.]

"THE NATIVES", Southern Australian (21 August 1840), 2 

IN looking over a late file of the Perth Gazette, we stumbled accidentally upon the following approval of a late article in the Register. We give both the article and the comment entire. It may, perhaps, act as a freshener to the memory of the Register - the denouncer of the "beastly corrobories" of the natives - in his forthcoming article upon them . . .

[Editorial], Southern Australian (2 March 1841), 3 

22 August 1840 (first published)

The Illawarra, NSW

ANONYMOUS (songwriter, satirist)

The chief Fryingpan again



"Original Poetry", Australasian Chronicle (22 August 1840), 4


[An incorrect version of the following speech having appeared in the Sydney Herald, we are induced to publish the following, which we have just received from our Illawarra correspondent, whose proximity to the scene enables him to picture it with accuracy.]

The chief is enraged with his tribe for hunting the opossum while he was absent in pursuit of the kangaroo; his royal wrath is the more enkindled, inasmuch as he returned from the chase without one kangaroo fat enough for the butcher's shop: and, whenever he falls in with the vassals of his territory in corrobora assembled, he bursts forth into impassioned speeches, as loud and incoherent as a drunken man in a public-house.

Know ye not, sons of Koomla* that I am your chief?
As sable+ as midnight--uncurbed as the deep!
I'm your master at boomerang, spear, and canoe,
I am foremost in chasing the wild kangaroo.

Behold me then, vassals dark, foaming in wrath;
I am choking with rage--I'm almost out of breath
At your daring presumption, while I was away
After game, at the kangaroo grounds, t' other day.

Yes! have ye not daringly hunted for food,
For your poor piccaninies, through my royal wood?
You have traversed my mountains, have fished my lagoons,
To procure meat and drink for your low-bred gossoons.

Hear my voice, sons of Koomla, nor breathe while I speak,
Impressed be my words in your hearts long and deep;
I'm the natural guardian of Wollongong's youth--
And you'd feed your young fry in my absence, forsooth.

To the cries of your offspring mean, craving relief,
You have hearkened, and slighted the pride of your chief;
You've sought for your children the daintiest food,
Though ye knew I would keep it for children of blood.

Neither wallaby, emu, opossum, nor fish,
Was reputed for beggars too dainty a dish.
Oh! "Disgrace!" oh! "Dishonour!!" "Impertinence" too!!!
I'm surprised you don't treat them to fat kangaroo.

Ye are wheedled and puzzled, confounded as mules,
Ye have given the lie to your chiefs, stupid fools;
Go undo what you've done, else the fire of my brow
Will be kindled against you, I'll kick up a row.

Let immediate reaction take place, out of hand,
Come, besiege the old Gonieu at my dread command:
What! hesitate! stammer!! explain!!! disobey!!!!
Oh, thou ghost of thy father! I envy thy day.

Haste, thy spirit infuse in the veins of thy son;
Thy Fryingpan's checked in his pride, he's undone:
My glory is tarnished--it remains for the grave,
To commingle my bones with the dust of the slave.

* Koomla is a prominent and noble mountain in the Illawarra range.

+ Of their sable colour the blacks of Illawarra are as proud as ever were the Yorkites of Knickerbocker; they bless their stars that, born black and beautiful, they are free from all tinge of the half-caste orange hue.

11 October 1840 (date of event)

Port Phillip, NSW (VIC)


The military and police break up a corroborra and kill Winberry



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 11-14 October 1840; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Sunday 11 October 1840 - About 9 a.m. His Honor and Major Lettsom called at my office to report that the three tribes, Boongerongs, Waverongs, and Tar.doon.gerongs had been surrounded by the military and police force and were all lodged in the stockade at the prison barracks, and that Windberri who had resisted the authorities had been shot dead . . . [Robinson gives the names and descriptions of many of the imprisoned natives] . . . Some of the white ruffians had stolen and taken away a variety of articles belonging to the natives. There was no merit in attacking the natives they were encamped on open ground and contiguous to Melbourne. All the troops [...] and mounted and border police surrounded them and all mill around. The Port Phillip natives made no resistance. One man Tom saw the armed party approach first and gave the alarm . . .

Monday 12 October 1840 - . . . I went to the natives over the punt and then a scene of grief took place which distressed me much. I gave orders to have them well supplied. The black shot in store buried today along side Winberri on south side. I saw him buried . . .

Wednesday 14 October 1840 - Held the examination on the death of Windberri in police barracks. Myself and Parker see evidence. Natives unwell in gaol.

"THE BLACKS", Port Phillip Gazette (14 October 1840), p. 3 

In consequence of representations having been made to the Authorities of the approach of several tribes of Natives to the vicinity of the town, for the purpose of holding a Corroborra previous to a battle, it was resolved to attempt their capture; the more especially as it had been made known that two or three of the most desperate character, (Jagga Jagga, Winberry, and Billy Hamilton) were among the tribes. Accordingly the Military under the command of Captain Smith and Lieutenant Vignolles of the 28th Regiment, with the Border Police headed by Major Letsom and Mr. Russell, and a number of Constables proceeded about midnight to the scene of the natives' festivities, situated between two and three miles from the town. Upon seeing themselves surrounded, the blacks were thrown into considerable consternation; and finding that their weapons had been seized, would have surrendered quietly, but for the opposition made by "Winberry," who, being thus entrapped, made a desperate blow at Mr. Vignolles. He, however, missed his aim; but recovering was about to repeat the attempt before that gentleman could even draw his sword to defend himself; whereupon the sergeant discharged his musket, and this notorious murderer and robber instantly fell. It appeared that the ball had passed through a main artery of the head.

The remainder of the gang were secured, consisting of between two and three hundred (including women and children) and were led captive into town and placed in a yard in the rear of the Military Hospital for identification, by any of the settlers as having been concerned in any outrages. Thirty three were picked out as having been aggressors in numerous cases of cattle and sheep stealing, as well as being concerned in several of the murders which from time to time have occurred in the interior districts. These ruffians were placed in irons and deposited in the jail, including Jagga Jagga or Jacky Jacky and Billy Hamilton. The remainder were locked up during Sunday and the night in the newly erected store of Mr. Rattenbury, at the back of the new church, being placed under the custody of only two constables. The consequence was, as might have been anticipated, from having so slender a guard, that some thirty or forty of the men effected their escape during the night. They had been deprived of all their tomahawks and other implements, but nevertheless they contrived to undermine the foundation of the building, and excavated a hole sufficiently large to enable one man at a time to creep through. It seems that when every thing was ready for escape, they had sufficient sagacity to resort to a ruse for the purpose of withdraw ing the attention of the constables from the spot, which was on one side of the store, whence they meant to effect their release. A small number, some three or four old decrepid men, made a rush towards the entrance to the stores, which having no door was barricaded with Fix this textboards nailed across. One of the constables conceiving that the blacks were intending to force their way through, and it being about two o'clock in the morning, at a time when there was no possibility of obtaining any assistance, fired his musket at the ringleader whom he killed, and this decisive measure had the effect of producing instant quiet. It was, however, very soon afterwards discovered that the whole of the men with the exception of those employed in this manoeuvre, had escaped. Those that remained were released at Twelve o'clock on Monday morning, and being rationed with small supplies were allowed to return to their Mia-Mia's in the bush.

The whole off the spears and waddies found with the blacks were destroyed; and a number of muskets were taken from them. At the same time by direction of the government, the greater portion of their dogs were put to death.

The thirty-three natives confined in the jail will be detained for trial, or subject to such orders as may issue from head quarters. In the mean time they are allowed to be inspected by those settlers who may have suffered from their depredations, for the purposes of identification.

"THE BLACKS", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (24 October 1840), 2 

"PORT PHILLIP. THE BLACKS", The Sydney Herald (24 October 1840), 2 

"Port Phillip. THE BLACKS", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (24 October 1840), 2 

"PORT PHILLIP EXTRACTS", Commercial Journal and Advertiser (28 October 1840), 4 

"THE BLACKS, The Australian (29 October 1840), 2 

On Friday last the Goulburn blacks arrived in the vicinity of Melbourne on their way to avenge the murder of one of their tribe by some of the Barrabool blacks on the other tide of the Yarra Yarra some months ago. On Saturdny night the Goulburn and Melbourne blacks, between four and five hundred in number, encamped together within two miles of the town, and on Sunday night were to have held a grand corroborra in honour of the meeting; - their festivitles were however, broken in upon in a manner quite unexpected. It having been ascertalned in Melbourne thut Winberry and a number of other ruffians concerned in the outrags at the Ovens River, to effect whose capture Major Lettsom and his police troopers had been sent overland by an order of the Governor, it was resolved to make the attempt to get hold of the ruffians during the night of Saturday, or rather early on Sunday morning. Warrants were accordingly prepared, and the whole of the military and police forces under the command of Major Lettrnirn and Mr. Rusaell of the Mounted Police, and Captain Smith and Mr. Vignolles, of the 28th, proceeded to the scene of action, and succeeded in capturing the whole of the blacks excepting the notorious Winberry, who was shot by Sergeant Leary, of the Mounted Police when in the act of striking at Mr. Vignolles with his waddy, and one man and two women who escapcd by hiding themselves under the trunk of a fallen tree. On Sunday morning the captives were marched into Melbourne and turned into the yard in the rear of the hospital. The blacks suspected of being concerned in the murders at Mr. Waugh's and Dr. Mackay's stations, were then picked out and lodged in the jail until evidence can be obtained from the scene of the recent outrages. The Melbourne blacks were allowed to go at large about mid-day, but the Goulburn blacks were detained in custody awaiting further examination. - Port Phillip Herald. Oct. 12 [?]

"PORT PHILLIP EXTRACTS", Tasmanian Weekly Dispatch (30 October 1840), 6 

12 October 1840

Parramatta, NSW

. . . many a barbarian corrobery, and . . . the wild chant of the native tribes



"MILITARY FETE CHAMPETRE AT PARRAMATTA", The Sydney Herald (15 October 1840), 2 

This dny (Monday [12 October]) has been a merry one and will long be remembered by many happy partakers of the hospitalities of Her Majesty's gallant 28th . . . our English friends might have, from an inspection of the tableau, thought more favorably of the Australian bush, than it has been represented in the published accounts of the Colony. One could hardly have conceived it possible, that such a scene could have been witnessed - in a place where scarcely fifty years ago the kangaroo and the savage roamed at will. The splendid trees that studded the landscape there, have no doubt witnessed many a barbarian corrobery, and echoed with the wild chant of the native tribes. Today the forest was rife with civilized grace and gentleness, and echoed the music of one of the finest bands that ever charmed the listening zephyrs . . .

15 October 1840

Melbourne area, Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Dance last night was a religious ceremony



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 15 October 1840; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

1. Murrenne.cole.leen, 2. Wor.rone.ber.mile, a religious ceremony performed 15 October '40, on account of Bayolite’s boy. Governor present. Religious ceremony was on account of the boy with Bayolite. Religious ceremony called 1. Murrenecoleleen, 2. Wor.rone.ber.mile.

Last night, 15 October '40, saw Murrene.cole.leen with governor at camp.

Banebedorra [. . .] throw spear readed ones like hail. They are thrown by an invisible hand and come like a shower of hail and kill children and women.

The dance last night was a religious ceremony, like a white man's Sunday. It consisted of certain mystic ceremonies. Each individual had a torch of dried leaves in each hand they then walked in single file and walked and ran in a serpertine manner among the trees alternately waving the lighted torches. It lasted about a half an hour and when the sun went down the ceremony ceased. They said it could not go on after that or they should die. I visited all the camp and the governor was pleased and so was the natives. Parker came at the conclusion of the ceremony. Ningkallerbell to go with him in reply to which Ningkallerbel very sarcastically said who tell your governor and Mr Robinson tell you when I explained it Mr La Trobe laughed heartily at the wit &c.

11 November 1840 (first performance)

Campbell Town, VDL (TAS)

KOWARZIK, Francis Frederick (music composed, arranged)

Air and variations, on I give thee all

Violin solo, variations, composed for the occasion, with full orchestral accompaniments



[Advertisement], The Cornwall Chronicle (7 November 1840), 1 

"THE CAMPBELL TOWN BALL AND CONCERT", Launceston Courier (23 November 1840), 2

Then followed the violin solo by Monsieur Kowarzik. An air, with variations, composed for the occasion, with full orchestra accompaniments, from the air of "I give thee all" . . .

Music concordance:

I give thee all = My heart and lute (Thomas Moore)

My heart and lute, a ballad, sung with great applause by Mr. Pearman, written & arranged by Thomas Moore esq. (New York: Dubois & Stodart, n.d.) (DIGITISED)

15 November 1840

Liverpool, England (report of observation at King George Sound (WA)

LANG, John Dunmore (reporter)

GREY, George (recorder, reporter)

EYRE, Edward John (reporter)

NEIL, John (reporter, artist)

Kangaroo dance


Kangaroo Dance of King George's Sound, from drawing by J. Neil, Eyre 1845, plate before 229 (previous page)


Grey 1841, volume 2, 232-36, especially 234-35

[232]. . . I cannot establish the fact and the universality of this institution better than by the following letter addressed by Dr. Lang, the Principal of Sydney College, New South Wales, to Dr. Hodgkin, the zealous advocate of the Aboriginal Races

[233] Liverpool, 15M Nov. 1840 . . .

[234] . . . But particular districts are not merely the property of particular tribes; particular sections or portions of these districts are universally recognised [235 EFFECTS OF EUROPEAN APPROPRIATION] by the natives as the property of individual members of these tribes; and when the owner of such a section or portion of territory (as I ascertained was the case at King George's Island) has determined on burning off the grass on his land, which is done for the double purpose of enabling the natives to take the older animals more easily, and to provide a new crop of sweeter grass for the rising generation of the forest, not only all the other individuals of his own tribe, but whole tribes from other districts, are invited to the hunting party and the feast and dance, or corrobory that ensue; the wild animals on the ground being all considered the property of the owner of the land. I have often heard natives myself tell me, in answer to my own questions on the subject, who were the Aboriginal owners of particular tracts of land now held by Europeans; and indeed this idea of property in the soil, for hunting purposes, is universal among the Aborigines . . .

Eyre 1845, volume 2, plate before 229 (image above), 297-99

22 November 1840

Melbourne area, Port Phillip District, NSW (VIC)

ROBINSON, George Augustus (reporter)

Native orphan can sing psalms



George Augustus Robinson, journal, 22 November 1840; State Library of New South Wales; ed. Clark 

Sunday 22 November 1840 - A.M. Jefferies arrived from the Goulburn with William Bertram, constables, and two native boys,, alias Tom, the orphan who was formerly with Dredge and can sing psalms, also Kor.per.look, alias Timmy, who are being made bullock drivers.

28 and 30 December 1840

Wellington Valley, NSW

GUNTHER, James (reporter)

Grand corroberry . . . new dance



Gunther, journal entries, 28 and 30 December 1840 (Journal 8: 1840, pages 46-47; C N/O 47/13); Wellington Valley Project 

Decbr 28. Several of the Young men came from the Camp this morning & did some work during the day but off they went again in the evening. Tommy who is at present our Cook stayed alone. They expect the Bathurst tribe up to perform a grand corroberry, in their opinion so important an event that it is worthwhile talking about some time before

[page 47] Decbr 30. Several of the Young men came from the camp this morning but as it appeared only to get some breakfast for soon they were all off and Tommy our Cook, with them. They now all old & young proceeded to the appointed place for the long expected performance of a new dance. Foolish as it may look they should make so much of their wild dances, it strikes me that their folly is no greater, considering their savage condition, than the parade there is with many highly civilised people about Balls & theatrical performances.

1840 (year of first publication)

Sydney - London, 1830s

LANG, John Dunmore (translator, hymn writer)

Specimens of an improved metrical translation of the Psalms of David . . . for the use of the Presbyterian Church in Australia and New Zealand


Sources and documentation:

Specimens of an improved metrical translation of the Psalms of David: intended for the use of the Presbyterian Church in Australia and New Zealand, with a preliminary dissertation . . . by John Dunmore Lang . . . (Philadelphia: Adam Waldie, 1840) 

Phillipsland; or the country hitherto designated Port Phillip . . . by John Dunmore Lang . . . (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1847), 167-68 

. . . There is something peculiarly dreary in the aspect of these blackened plains, immediately after an extensive conflagration of this kind. The richer the land is, the worse it looks on such occasions; for as the long thick grass, which the summer sun has previously deprived of its juices and fitted for the flames, presents a continuous surface to the fire, every green thing is burnt completely off the face of the earth for miles and miles around. But the change that takes place in such localities, almost immediately after the first fall of rain thatsucceeds one of these extensive conflagrations, is truly remarkable. The whole face of the earth, so recently the very picture of extreme desolation, is then all at once covered with a thick carpet of the richest green. Every pool is again filled with water, and every brook begins to flow; and the flocks and herds, that were famishing before, participate with their lord and master, man, in the general jubilee of creation. The climate of Australia appears to be remarkably similar to that of ancient Judea in this respect, and the transitions from drought and desolation, to universal verdure and abundance, [168] seem to have been equally rapid and refreshing in that Holy Land. It is unquestionably one of these remarkable transitions that the Shepherd King describes so beautifully in the latter half of the 65th Psalm; which, as a peculiarly vivid picture of Australian, as well as of Jewish scenery, I beg to present to the reader in an Australian dress. The scene in the following passage commences with a beautiful allusion to the awful thunder and lightning that usually ushers in the rain in these climates after a long period of drought:

Remotest tribes are thrill'd with fear,
When in the heavens thy signs appear;
Anon Thou utterest thy dread voice,
And east and west alike rejoice . . .

Poems: sacred and secular; written chiefly at sea, within the last half century by John Dunmore Lang . . . (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searles, 1873), iv-v, part 3, 176-95 

PART THIRD consists of a few specimens of an Improved Metrical Translation of the Psalms of David, which occupied much of the Author's time and attention, during successive voyages to and from the mother-country from 1830 to 1853. It was commenced during a protracted gale from the South East, in view of the North Eastern mountains of New Zealand, which the Author then saw for the first time, in the month of August, 1830. The whole of the Psalms then completed - from the first to the seventieth inclusive, and all after the hundred and nineteenth - were published in Philadelphia, during the Author's visit to the United States of America, in the year 1840, under the title of Specimens of an Improved Metrical Translation of the Psalms of David . . . The remaining Translations, written subsequently, have never been published . . . 

Part third, specimens of a metrical translation of the psalms of David, written wholly at sea, on different voyages, between the years 1830 and 1853 . . .


Emerald Hill, Port Phillip, NSW (VIC)

LIARDET, Wilbraham Frederick Evelyn (reporter, artist)

Ngargee on Emerald Hill



Ngargee on Emerald Hill, 1840; W. F. E. Liardet, c.1875 [detail]; State Library of Victoria

? c.1840

Southern NSW


PHELPS, Phillip Henry F. (artist)

State ball in Australia - kangaroo dance



From "Native Scenes", by P. H. F. Phelps, ? Moruya, c.1840-41; State Library of New South Wales (TROVE RECORD) (CATALOGUE RECORD) (IMAGE)

References: (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

"DEATHS", The Belfest Newsletter [Ireland] (31 October 1872), 1

PHELPS - Oct. 25, at Chichester, Captain P. H. F. Phelps, late 48th Regt., aged 65 years.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (27 February 1924), 21 

THE CALVERT COLLECTION OF BOOKS ON AUSTRALIA. MESSRS. HODGSON AND CO. (Established 1807), 115 Chancery-lane, London, England, will sell by auction, at their Rooms, on FRIDAY, MAY 2nd, as above mentioned, the CALVERT COLLECTION OF INTERESTING AND RARE BOOKS, relating to the DOMINIONS OF AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, and THE SOUTH SEAS, including . . . THREE INTERESTING ALBUMS OF ORIGINAL DRAWINGS, etc (ca. 1843), executed by P. H. F. Phelps, an early Settler, comprising Sketches of the Aborigines, Views of Sydney, a Map and Plan of the Moruya Estate, County of St. Vincent, N.S.W., and Coloured Drawings of Birds . . .

c. 1840

? Adelaide region, SA

JAMESON, R. G. (reporter)




New Zealand, South Australia, and New South Wales: a record of recent travels in these colonies . . . by R. G. Jameson, esq. . . . (London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1842), 56-60 (see also on the haka, with comparisons to the corrobory, 269-70) 

. . . The next great nuisance was occasioned by the dogs - a gaunt race, between the greyhound and the mastiff, bred for the chase of the kangaroo, which herded about the town towards nightfall, and rendered it a dangerous undertaking to perambulate without a weapon capable of creating lasting impressions upon the hides of the unsightly brutes. Their howlings conspired with the native corrobories to render hideous those beautiful moonlight nights which are chosen by the aborigines for the performance of their singular mysteries.

A Corrobory was a sight not to be lost. I had previously seen these people assembled by the Cockatoo-man, (so they called his Excellency, from the plume of feathers which he wore in his cocked-hat,) for the purpose of bestowing on them a feast of roast beef, biscuit, tea, and sugar, and of witnessing their dexterity in throwing the spear, the waddy, and other savage performances. On [57] that occasion, they had either gorged themselves to excess, or were influenced by the presence of the numerous white people who surrounded them. At any rate, they exhibited no very formidable dexterity in the use of the spear, for few of them struck the target at the distance of thirty yards; and the boomerang, used with such singular dexterity by the "black fellows" of New South Wales, is unknown to those of South Australia. It appeared to me, that a hundred Europeans with muskets and ammunition could protect themselves against thousands of New Hollanders; and that a British regiment could conquer the whole continent of Australia, as the legions of Julius Caesar overcame the scattered and barbarous tribes of ancient Europe.

Having ascertained from King Jack, the chief of the Adelaide tribe - a very intelligent personage, that a grand corrobory was to be held in a day or two, I resolved to witness it. To King Jack I had been introduced a few days previously, as he sat sunning himself at the foot of a gum-tree, surrounded by his four gins (wives), and their numerous offspring. On that occasion he rose, and, as a token of respect to a stranger to whom he was then introduced for the first time, he put on his pantaloons, which till then he wore gracefully over his shoulders, like a shawl. Being a favourite at Government House, he had recently been appointed to the office of constable, to which was afterwards added that of postman between Adelaide and the port. King Jack was therefore a man of some consequence, and, like all those individuals among savage races who hold the distinction of chiefdom, he was possessed of great muscular strength, and a sagacity superior to that of his fellows.

[58 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT] On the night appointed, I repaired with a few friends to the scene of action - a spot about four miles from Adelaide, upon the banks of the Torrens. The moon had not yet risen, but the firmament was bright with innumerable constellations, and the air had all the softness of an Australian night. As we approached the native bivouac, we perceived their small fires; for these people consume fuel very sparingly, being of opinion that thus hiding their light under a bushel they are less likely to attract the observation of their enemies. The yelping of curs and the laughing of females and children welcomed our arrival, and we had forthwith to shake hands with King Jack and all the principal personages of his court. About a hundred aud fifty natives were collected, and their spears, jagged with pieces of glass, reflected the light of the fires, and added to the wildness of the scene. We had not waited long ere it was intimated that the performances of the evening were about to commence.

The chief began with a low and muttered chant, beating time with his waddy upon his shield. He was speedily joined by others, who followed his example, whilst the females, squatting in a circle, beat with the palms of their hands upon kangaroo skins, doubled up into balls. By degrees the whole assemblage collected around; the women seating themselves, and the men adding to the strange chant, which very gradually increased in loudness, although the tones were by no means musical.

At length the men began to arrange themselves in a circle, towards the centre of which they advanced with a succession of leaps, uttering at the same time a peculiar noise, which is an imitation of the kangaroo. In this [59 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT] movement their legs were outstretched to the utmost. They then leaped round in the circumference of the circle, and sometimes advanced in the same grotesque manner for a few yards, whilst their shouts became momentarily louder, and derived an additional wildness from the shrill voices and the ceaseless drumming of the women, who constituted the orchestra to this extraordinary ballet. A strange excitement soon became apparent in the gestures and countenances of the dancers. The gradually increasing uproar was accompanied with a fierce brandishing of waddies, as if they menaced some visionary foe; and their voices rose to the pitch of a loud and simultaneous howl, which ever and anon ceased all of a sudden, and was succeeded by the deep silence of the forest. The suddenness with which the outcry was followed by an interval of perfect silence constituted the remarkable feature of the performance.

After a short interval for breathing, the dance recommenced, and was continued in the same manner for two hours, during which the performers underwent the most violent exercises of their voices and limbs, whilst the perspiration ran down their naked and shining bodies. At length they had worked themselves up to a state of excitement bordering on frenzy, their eyes flashed, and the expression of their countenances became almost diabolical. Having no desire to witness the last of this exhibition, we took our departure. The hour was past twelve, and "a fine moonlight night;" but not until we had reached the town did we cease to hear the loud and prolonged howl, and the drumming orchestra of the corrobory.

The language and many of the usages of the Australian aborigines differ at almost every part of the coast; [60 THE ABORIGINES ] but throughout New Holland, from the Swan River to Port Jackson, the corrobory is universally practised. Regarding its origin, I am unable to offer a conjecture. By many old settlers in New South Wales it is supposed to be borrowed from the kangaroos, which strange animals, they roundly assert, are sometimes seen to go through a series of similar movements; dancing in a circle, with a peculiar grunting noise, like that uttered at some stages of the corrobory. Regarding this theory, and the wonderful facts on which it is grounded, the reader will form his own opinion. There may be more things in the nature of the kangaroo than are dreamt of in our philosophy . . .

First reviews of this book appeared as early as October 1841


"REVIEWS", The New Zealand Journal [London] 2 (1841), 273 

The author of this interesting volume sailed for the colony of South Australia as Surgeon Superintendent of "the Surrey" emigrant ship, in June, 1838. After remaining some time in that colony, and making himself well acquainted with its condition, he repaired to New South Wales . . . Our examination of the portion of the volume which relates to the Australian colonies, however, has been but superficial, our attention having been fixed upon the other and larger portion which relates to New Zealand. To the last named colony Mr. James paid two visits; one in the autumn of 1839, and a second in 1840; the record of these visits occupies upwards of two hundred pages of the volume . . .

c. 1840

? Southern and central western, WA

MOORE, George Fletcher (reporter)

Song and dance vocabulary



A descriptive vocabulary of the language in common use amongst the Aborigines of Western Australia . . . by George Fletcher Moore . . . (London: Wm. S. Orr, 1842), 34, 48, 70-71, 84, 106, 111-12, 113, 116 

[34] . . . DTOWAL, subst. - The thigh.
DTOWALGUORRYN - The name of a dance among the Eastern natives, during which the muscles of the thigh are made to quiver in a very singular manner. A dance of this sort is common among the Malay girls.

[48] . . . INJI, subst. - The peeled ornamental sticks worn by the natives at the Yallor, or native dance.

[70-71] . . . MARROMARRO, subst. - The peeled sticks, like curled orna- [71] -mental candlelighters, worn on the head by the performers at the Yallor, or native dance . . .

[84] . . . NILGE, subst. - The name of a dance among the natives to the north-east . . .

[106] . . . WIRBE, subst. - The name of a dance amongst the natives living to the south-east . . .

[111] . . . YALLOR, subst. - The name of the native dance among the northern men; as also the chaunt, or tune, if it may be so called, to which the dance is performed. The dance is generally performed by the young men. Women seldom take any part in it. Their dances frequently represent the chase, and motions of the kangaroo and emu, the pursuit of a wounded cockatoo, the course of a snake, the transformations or feats of a magician with a wand, as well as the measured step and concerted movement of a dance of ten or twelve persons; and, although the figures are somewhat uncouth, the gestures are not ungraceful; and as seen in the forest on a clear night, by the bright blaze of a fire, surrounded by groups of admiring spectators, the whole scene presents a pleasing and animated picture of the recreations of a savage life.
YALLOR-WĂNGOW, verb - To chaunt. From Yallor, the native dance, and Wangow, to speak.
[112] YALLOR-GANNOW, verb - To dance. Compounded of Yallor, the native dance, and Gannow, to step . . .

[113] . . . YEDD1-GĂROW, verb - To sing . . .

[116] . . . . YUYLTUNMITCH - (K.G.S.) A native dance.

  Go to 1841

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