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A register of Australian colonial musical organisations, venues, events, &c., active before 1861, A-Z

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "A register of Australian colonial musical organisations, venues, events, &c., active before 1861, A-Z", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 3 April 2020


Adelaide Choral Society

Adelaide, SA, from c.1841 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Adelaide Liedertafel (Deutsche Liedertafel; German Liedertafel; German Chorus)

Active Adelaide, SA, from 1858 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier)


"THE ADELAIDE LIEDERTAFEL", The Register (22 September 1908), 6 

From "One of the Originators": - "The interesting account of the growth and progress of the Adelaide Liedertafel, as given in The Register of September 17, is worthy of a little further elucidation. The original founders were all members of the Deutscher Club, which used to meet at the Hotel Europe, at the corner of Gawler place and Grenfell street. A party of younger members who, under the leadership of Herr Carl Linger, carried out the musical programme of the club, having had a slight dissension with some of the older and less hilarious members, broke away from tbe Deutscher Club altogether, and assembled at the Hamburg Hotel, where they were heartily welcomed by "Father" Kopke. A set of rules having been drawn up and passed, Mr. Fritz Armbruster was elected President, and Mr. Schluter hon. secretary and librarian. The leadership was again undertaken by Herr Linger, and the members were:

First tenors, Messrs. Julius Eitzen, Nitsche, Reinhardt, and Schluter; second tenors, Messrs. Louis Maraun, Nettlebeck, and F. Wurm; first basses, Messrs. Oscar Ziegler, Braun, Schlemich, and Bielefeld; second basses, Messrs. F. Armbruster, Schierenbeck, and Eimer.

Thus in September, 1858, the Adelaide Liedertafel was founded; and from then on, under the conductorship of the beloved leader and under fresh and unrestrained conditions, was formed a new brotherhood. The words of the old "Waffenschmidt" express the personal reminiscences of the writer "Das war eine Kostlicke Zeit." Herr Spitzka, who joined about three years later, afterwards succeeded Herr Linger at leader, and occupied that position until his death through an accident. It is hardly correct, however, to say that this was the first "Adelaide Liedertafel," as a society under that name used to meet in 1854 and 1855 at Messrs. Wiener & Fischer's Coffee Rooms, in Rundle street. Mr. Fischer was a very sweet tenor, and among other members one recalls the names of Messrs. von der Heide, Schomburg, Henry Wurm, Lellman, and Butefisch; also Mr. Schulze, whose death was announced in The Register recently. Herr Carl Linger was also leader of this society, and the writer recalls many hanpy evenings spent in their midst. This select little company, which comprised many prominent singers and talented musicians, broke up when Messrs. Wiener and Fischer left Adelaide for Tanunda.

For one or more organisations operating before 1858, see Deutsche Liedertafel Adelaide (c.1850-58)

Adelaide Sacred Harmonic Society

Active Adelaide, SA, from 1857-60 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Argyle Rooms (Hobart Town) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Australian Dramatic and Musical Association (NSW)

Sydney, NSW, 1859 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Australian Harmonic Club (also occasionally Australian Harmonic Society)

Sydney, NSW, 1841-47 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Australian Harmonic Society

Sydney, NSW, 1833-34 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Australian Philharmonic Concerts

Sydney, 1844 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Backus Minstrels (Sydney, NSW, 1855-56)

American serenader troupe

Arrived Sydney, NSW, 23 October 1855 (per Audobon, from San Francisco, 9 August, and Honolulu, 8 September)
Departed Sydney, NSW, 7 April 1856 (per What Cheer, for San Francisco)

PERSONNEL: Charles Backus; S. C. Campbell; W. M. Parker; Jerry Bryant; C. D. Abbott; A. Morgan; W. A. Porter; D. F. Boley; O. N. Burbank (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Bands of British regiments in Australia

See mainpage: 

Ballarat Philharmonic Society

Ballarat, VIC (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"BALLARAT PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY", Armagh Guardian [Ireland] (17 September 1858), 8

The first two Concerts have been complete triumphs, and they have now established themselves as a society in every way worthy of the patronage and support of the Ballarat public. The music selected was Handel's Messiah. After the Overture to the Oratoria, exceedingly well played by the band under the direction of Mr. Turner, Mr. Williams, a gentleman amateur from Melbourne, sang the recitativ "Comfort ye my People," and the air "Every valley," in a style which gave good earnest of the excellent manner in which the solos were to performed. With a fine tenor voice, this gentleman possesses an excellent taste, and gives evidence of good and careful study. In the second part he sang the recitative "Thy rebuke," and the air "Behold and see," which drew down the well deserved plaudits of the house. Mrs. Hancock sang the solos entrusted to her in her usual correct and finished style. Her rendering of the air "O luce di quest anima," from the opera "Linda di Chamonni," made it one of the sweetest morceaux in the evening's entertainments. Mrs. Turner sang with great taste the airs "Oh thou that tellest," "Rejoice greatly," "He was despised," &c. Dr. Kupferberg has very fine baratune voice, and his exquisite rendering the recitative "For behold darkness," and the air "The people who walked in darkness," showed him to be a perfect master of the vocal art. Mrs. Moss's singing in "But thou didst not leave," it would impossible to speak too highly. It is exceedingly gratifying that we have in Ballarat lady who can sing admirably, and we anticipate having many more opportunities of hearing her sweet voice. Mr. Hancock sang well throughout, but "The trumpet shall sound," perhaps owing to the excellent Cornet obligato, played Mr. Labalestrier, was uuquestionably his best effort. Last, but not least, of the soloists, Mr. Oliver, the active secretary of the society, sang Handel's "Haste thee Nymph," in excellent style. The Cborusses throughout were admirably given, and grdat credit is due to the director Mr. Austin T. Turner, and to the leaders Messrs. Fleury, and Paltzer, for the complete manner in which the musical portion was conducted. We particularly noticed the admirable playing of the selections from Herolds's "Pre aux clercs," the Orchestra.

Bendigo Philharmonic Society

Bendigo, VIC, 1859-61 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Blythe Waterland Serenaders (Waterland and Reading Serenaders)

Originally all-English serenader troupe

Founded by Henry Burton, Sydney, NSW, March 1850
Disbanded Sydney, NSW, October 1850

PERSONNEL: Blythe Waterland (alias of Henry Burton); George B. Howard (alias of George B. Mason); Charles V. Howard (alias of Charles V. Mason); James W. Reading

Revised line-up, Sydney, from June 1850

PERSONNEL: Waterland/Burton; Reading; S. Walgrove; Lavater West (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Also (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Brisbane Choral Society

(1) Brisbane, NSW (QLD), 1859-1861 (from September 1861 Brisbane Philharmonic Society) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Brisbane Choral Society (2) formed c. 1881-83

Brunswick Band (Brunswick Brass Band; Schrader's Brunswick Band; Schrader's Band)

Active Adelaide, SA, by 1857-66  (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)  (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"THE BRUNSWICK BAND", South Australian Register (2 November 1857), 3

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (6 December 1858), 1

THE BRUNSWICK BAND having fulfilled their engagement at the Theatre, will now be able to provide Brass or String Bands for Balls, Dinners, Picnics, &c. Apply to Mr. Shrader [Schrader], Pulteney-street; Mr. Heydecke, Rundle-street Kent Town; or R. White, Ward-street, North Adelaide.

"GRAND CONCERT AT THE GAWLER INSTITUTE", The South Australian Advertiser (14 December 1859), 3

"GAWLER INSTITUTE", South Australian Register (14 December 1859), 3

. . . At a later period in the evening the air [Song of Australia] was presented to the audience under other forms, as arranged by Herr Linger. These were a fantasia for the pianoforte, which was executed by Miss Rowe in as brilliant a style as could possibly be expected, seeing that the instrument was a cottage piano of second-rate tone, and which was evidently out of tune; and a somewhat novel arrangement for the full band of the national airs of various countries. The latter commenced with Old England's "God save the Queen" followed by the recognised national anthems of Prussia, Russia, France, Italy, Holstein, Austria, Holland, and Belgium, with our own, "There is a Land" as the finale. In the last, as in the first, the audience rose en masse and remained standing during its performance.

"TOPICS OF THE WEEK", South Australian Weekly Chronicle (8 December 1866), 4s

Buffalo Gals (The Buffalo Gals; Buffalo Female Minstrels)

Active VIC, 1860-61 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Buninyong Philharmonic Society

Active Buninyong, VIC, 1848


"BUNINYONG {FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT]", Port Phillip Gazette and Settler's Journal (16 February 1848), 2 

. . . Since I wrote you last, a society has been established here, entitled "The Buninyong Philharmonic Society," having for its object the advancement of its members in the science of music, and the establishment of an instrumental band. Its members already number nine, and will, it is expected, be shortly doubled. Mr. Clarke of Melbourne has been treated with, and will sapply the society with instruments. Such a society in the bush tends to destroy the monotony of bush life, and bring into harmonizing union the different members of our fast increasing township. In connection with this subject, I have to make mention of the very handsoaio donation to the Society, by the Rev. Mr. Hastie, our resident and much esteemed pastor, of a dozen copies of the New Testament illustrated, with a considerable collection of psalm tunes bound up with each. Buninyong, Feb. 12, 1847.

ASSOCIATIONS: William Clarke

Burton's Band (Henry Burton's Circus)

Active by 1852 and until 1871


"MUDGEE", The Sydney Morning Herald (15 May 1852), 3

Mr. Burton's band ably performed their part as musicians, relieved occasionally by some of the ladies, who sung, and played upon the piano to admiration. Mr. Nathan, from Sydney, likewise played and sung to the great delight of the company.

"MOUNT BARKER: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4", South Australian Register (7 November 1856), 3

Jacob Young, Jacob Düne, Conrad Sander, Heinrich Rodenbout, Carl Leonhardt, Daniel Miller, and Christian Prothenback, known as "Burton's Band", appeared to answer the complaint of Mr. Henry Burton, for that they, having contracted to serve the said Henry Burton as musicians, and having entered into his service, did neglect and refuse to fulfil the same. Henry Burton, sworn, said the defendants, who had played for him in Victoria, were engaged by his agent to play for him in Adelaide and South Australia at £16 per week, their own terms (agreement put in and acknowledged). That the day before the Circus left Port Adelaide, after they had received their week's wages, £16 (receipt put in), they said they would not go into the country with witness, unless he paid them £3 per week extra . . .

"MOUNT BARKER: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5", South Australian Register (7 November 1856), 3

The same persons appeared to answer another charge preferred against them by Mr. Burton, for having, on the night of the 4th instant been guilty of gross misconduct in the execution of their duty, and for having, on the morning of the 5th, refused to obey the orders of Mr. Burton. It appeared that immediately after the decision of yesterday, they had broken the music-stands, and at the night performance had played most unsuitable, inferior, and discordant music, and had resorted to every possible means of annoyance, and that this morning they had refused to come from their inn to the stables to take their seats in the van for the purpose of proceeding to Macclesfield, whither the establishment is removing. The charge was clearly proved against them, and the Bench ordered them to be committed to Gaol for a month. Mr. Burton told the Bench he was dis posed to try them again if they would apologize to him for their improper conduct, and again promise attention to their duties, but the Bench thought they could listen to no proposal for compromise after the evident contumacy of the defendants. A warrant of commitment was therefore made out and signed, and the refractory musicians were forthwith sent off to Gaol in charge of a police-trooper.



Captain Piper's band of music (Captain Piper's Band; Piper's Band)

Sydney, NSW, and Bathurst, NSW, c.1823-47's+Band (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Castlemaine Philharmonic Society

Castlemaine, VIC, 1857 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Cecilian Society

Sydney, NSW, 1838-42 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

City Band (Sydney, NSW)

Sydney, NSW, from 1842 (bandmaster George HUDSON; ? formerly "Town Band") (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Collingwood Harmonic Society

Active Collingwood, VIC, 1857-59 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Cremorne Gardens (Richmond/Burnley, Melbourne) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Cremorne Gardens (Cremorne, Sydney) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Deutsche Liedertafel (Adelaide) (German Chorus; German Glee Club; German Amateur Chorus)

One or more organisations active Adelaide, SA, c.1850-58 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See also Adelaide Liedertafel (founded 1858, and still extant, as "Adelaider Liedertafel 1858", but frequently documentated as "Deutsche Liedertafel")

Dilletanti Society (Sydney)

Active Sydney, NSW, 1840 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Empire Minstrels (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Eridutio Musica (Sydney, c.1856) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

ASSOCIATIONS: William Henry Paling (convenor)

English Opera Company (1856-60)

Arrived Melbourne, VIC, 27 June 1856; Sydney, NSW, 30 June 1856 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

"THEATRICAL", The Argus (27 June 1856), 5 

By the James Baines the following members of the musical and theatrical professions have arrived: - Miss Julia Harland, soprano; Mr. Walter Sherwin, tenor; and Mr. Robert Farquharson, bass. Mr. Linley Inman has accompanied these artistes as musical director and conductor, and they bring with them a repertory of thirty operas, with dresses and personal appointments complete. Mr. Hoskins, a light comedian of ability, formerly attached to the Sadler's Wells Theatre, also forms part of the troupe, and will proceed forthwith to Sydney, where they are under engagement for the present.


June 27 - James Baines, R.M, ship, 2315 tons, C. McDonald, from Liverpool 6th April . . .

"THEATRICAL AND MUSICAL", The Age (28 June 1856), 3 

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Age (28 June 1856), 2 

JUNE 30. -London (s.), 700 tons, Captain Watts, from Melbourne 28th instant. Passengers . . . Miss Harland, Mrs. Farquharson . . . Messrs. . . . Norman, Hoskins, Sherwin, Farquharson . . .

ORIGINAL MEMBERSHIP: Julia Harland (soprano, Mrs. William Hoskins); Walter Sherwin (tenor); Robert Farquharson (bass); Linly Norman (pianist, conductor); William Hoskins (manager)

Ethiopian Serenaders (VDL (TAS), 1848-49) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


[Advertisement], The Cornwall Chronicle (13 June 1849), 647 

To be followed by the ETHIOPIAN SERENADERS.
introducing the negro melodies of "Old Dan Tucker," "Buffalo Girls," and "Boatmen Dance;" by Messrs. Lee, Holloway, Hubbard, Chappel and Reuben.

[Advertisement], The Cornwall Chronicle (4 August 1849), 773 

RADFORD'S ROYAL AMPHITHEATRE . . . First appearance in these colonies of Mr. A. Howson, who has kindly offered his services, for this night only . . . FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KEBBLE . . . The Interlude will consist of a daring act of HORSEMANSHIP, by Mr. Mills. After which, the Ethiopian Serenaders will display their instrumental and vocal talent in the following negro melodies: - "Buffalo Gals," "De Boatmen Dance," and "Goodmorning, ladies &c." - by Messrs. KEBBLE, HOWSON, HOLLOWAY, HUBBARD, and CHAPPEL . . .

European Band (also "The English European Band"; see also London Quadrille Band)

Active Sydney, NSW, from July 1857, to early 1862 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


[Advertisement], Empire (23 July 1857), 1 

EUROPEAN BAND. - A superior English Brass or String Band can be engaged for balls, pic-nic parties, excursions, and dinner partios, &c., &c. Address EUROPEAN BAND, Vine Inn, 75, George-street North.

ASSOCIATIONS: At least some of the original members appear to have arrived in Sydney onboard the steamship European in June 1857; see George Sutch (member, leader); see also J. Bishop (member); George Arnold (member, leader); London Quadrille Band


Foreign Operatic Company 1842

Active Sydney, NSW, 1842 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

French Operatic Company 1839

Active Sydney, NSW, 1839 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Geelong Sacred Harmonic Society

Active Geelong, VIC (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Hobart Town Choral Society

Hobart, VDL (TAS), c.1844-50 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Hobart Town Concerts

Hobart, VDL (TAS), 1826-27 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See also mainpage: 

Hobart Town Glee Club

Hobart, TAS, c. 1860 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

[Advertisement], The Mercury (12 January 1861), 1 

Howard's Serenaders

Formed by the brothers Mason (alias Howard), Sydney, June 1850; active, with interruptions and changes of personnel, until 1855

PERSONNEL (1850): George B. Howard (alias of George B. Mason); Charles V. Howard (alias of Charles V. Mason); Charles A. Upson; Samuel T. Holmes's+Serenaders (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Ipswich Choral Society (Moreton Bay district, NSW (QLD)) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Italian Opera Company (1860-61) - also Bianchi opera troupe (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)




Launceston Philharmonic Society

Launceston, VDL (TAS) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Launceston Sacred Harmonic Society

Launceston Harmonic Society

Launceston, VDL (TAS) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

London Quadrille Band ("late European Band")

Active Sydney and region, NSW, by late 1859, to early 1862 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

ASSOCIATIONS: George Arnold (member, leader); European Band

Longford Philharmonic Society

Longford, VDL (TAS) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Lyceum Theatre (Sydney) (Our Lyceum; Royal Lyceum)

Sydney, NSW, from 1854 (formerly Malcolm's Amphitheatre) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Maitland Philharmonic Institute (Maitland Philharmonic Institution; Maitland Philharmonic Societyn)

Maitland, NSW, founded 1857 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"MAITLAND PHILHARMONIC INSTITUTE", Northern Times (7 April 1858), 2 

Malcolm's Amphitheatre (Sydney)'s+Amphitheatre+Sydney (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Melbourne Amateur Concerts

Melbourne, NSW (VIC), 1840-41 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Melbourne Harmonic Society c. 1840-42

Active Melbourne, NSW (VIC), 1846-47  (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Melbourne Philharmonic Society c. 1843-48

Active Melbourne, NSW (VIC), c. 1843-48  (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

According to Alexander Sutherland, Victoria and its metropolis (1888), I, 198:

The first musical society was inaugurated on the 10th of July 1840, and styled itself the "Philharmonic," but it was not until the end of 1845 that it was able to furnisg the community with a concert of high class music . . .

Melbourne Philharmonic Society

Founded Melbourne, VIC, 1854  (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"THE ORATORIO", The Argus (17 April 1856), 5

Had Messrs. G. Holmes and Co. contracted to remove the Pyramids and to re-erect them upon Batman's swamp we should scarcely have anticipated a more doubtful success for the undertaking than we did for the performance of Spohr's Oratorio The Last Judgment by the Philharmonic Society. The proper rendering of this oratorio requires a power of orchestra and chorus far beyond the ability of this society to furnish, and, exaggerated as the comparative case of difficulty which we have set up may at first appear, the hyperbole is not so extravagant when the peculiar requirements of Spohr's great work are considered. The subtle harmonies and elaborately-constructed orchestration relied upon by the composer to give the descriptive effects which his subject demands, can only be completely realised by an orchestra perfect in every department, and the choral pieces demand an equal completeness in each of the vocal divisions. Whatever may be the general opinion as to the intrinsic merit of the work as one of high musical art, or of the success of the composer in the illustrations he has given of his awful subject, there can be but one upon the absolute necessity, in order to give the faintest idea of the character of this extraordinary composition, of rendering it with the full effect demanded by the score. If the Melbourne Philharmonic Society have failed where the Sacred Harmonic Society of London have seldom or never triumphed, the former can hardly be accused of their ambition being greatly in excess of their merit . . .

Music for the million (movement) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Musical Union (Melbourne, VIC)

Founded Fitzroy, VIC, 1860

See also Orpheus Union, founded 1860


[Advertisement], The Argus (22 May 1861), 8

MUSICAL UNION. GRAND CONCERT, in aid of the Fund for Relief of the Widows and orphans of the Soldiers of the 40th Regiment who have fallen in New Zealand, will be given in the
Under the patronage of His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B., And Lady Barkly, Major-General Pratt, C.B., Colonel Pitt, Captain Hall, Captain Pitt, the Officers Commanding Corps, And the Victorian Volunteers.
Programme will consist of
Overture - "Ruy Blas" - Mendelssohn.
And Mr. Henry Leslie's JUDITH.
All for the first time In Victoria.
(The latter work composed expressly for, and performed at, the Birmingham Musical Festival, Sept. 1863.)
Principal Vocalists:
Principal Violin - Mr. A. J. LESLIE.
Conductor - Mr. G. R. G. PRINGLE.
First Violins. Messrs. Leslie, A. J., Edwards, Fischer, Levy, Peters, Strebinger, Smith, Zeplin.
Second Violins. Messrs. Ryder, Fredlein, Lewis, R. E., Lewis, Megson, Pringle, A., Putman, Spensley.
Violas. Messrs. Thomas, Cousins, Hines, Izard, Jolly.
Violoncellos. Messrs. Reed, Jones, Kent, Montague.
Double Basses, Messrs. Hardman, Gover, Peters, Thorne.
Flutes. Messrs. Johnson, F., Boom.
Oboes. Messrs. Hornidge, Mortimer.
Clarionets, Messrs. Johnson, Clark.
Bassoons. Messrs. Winterbottom, J., Hore.
Trumpets, Messrs. Richardson, Wallerstein.
Horns. Messrs. Kohler, Verso, Graner, Hore, J.
Trombones. Messrs. Hore, R., Huenerbein, Carrington.
Ophecleide. Mr. Hore.
Double Drums. Mr. Tolhurst.
Side Drum. Mr. Mullens.
Bass Drum. Mr. Lissignol.
Harp. Mr. Scabrooke.
Chorus of 100 Performers.
Tickets - Floor, 6s.; gallery, 2s. 8d. Which may be procured from all the music warehouses in the city, from the officers commanding Volunteer corps, the members of the Relief Fund Committee, the managers of the Musical Union, and Messrs. Jones and Co., ironmongers, Gertrude-street, Fitzroy.
Doors open at 7; Perfornance to commence at half past 7 o'clock precisely. Carriages may be ordered for 10 o'clock.
THOS. FORD, Hon. Sec.


New Orleans Serenaders (1852; 1857)

2 American minstrel serenader combinations

(1) Active Sydney, NSW, 1852

PERSONNEL (1852): W. (? F.) Harrington; J. W. Sandford; W. Newton; G. Price and J. F. Price; J. P. Hall (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

(2) Active Sydney, NSW, July 1857
Arrived Brisbane, NSW (QLD), 3 August 1857 (per Yarra Yarra, from Sydney, 30 July)

PERSONNEL (1857): D. F. Boley; T. P. Brower; Dave Carson; J. M. Foans; J. C. Battle (Sydney only); W. A. Porter (Sydney only) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

New Queen's Theatre (Adelaide)

Opened 2 November 1846's+Theatre+Adelaide (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"NEW QUEEN'S THEATRE", South Australian (18 February 1848), 2

. . . The Orchestral Department will be considerably augmented, and consist of - Mr. Lee (leader), Mr. Richards (second violin), Mr. Thomson (violincello), Mr. Poltridge (cornet-a-piston), Mr. Hewitt (trombone), Mr. Swift (tenor), Mr. Kaebet (master of the German Band, flute)

New York Serenaders

Originally all-American company

Arrived (1) George Town, near Launceston, TAS, 26 February 1851 (per Spartan, from California, via Tahiti)
Departed (1) Fremantle, WA, 10 December (per Royal Saxon, for Calcutta)

Arrived (2) Sydney, NSW, 16 May 1853 (per Mary and Ellen, from California, via Melbourne)
Disbanded by January 1854
Reformed Adelaide, October 1854 for proposed tour
Departed (2) Fremantle, WA, 4 January 1855 (per Eleanor, for Port Louis, Mauritius) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

PERSONNEL: Charles Cushing (returned to California September 1851); James Edward Kitts; J. C. Lee; J. P. Nash; J. O. Pierce; Bill White (1851 tour only); James W. Reading (replaced Cushing, September 1851)

North Adelaide Choral Society

Active North Adelaide, SA, from 1854 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Ohio Serenaders

Sydney, April 1850 (1 performance only, company of Royal Victoria Theatre); NSW, SA, 1851 (Reading and Howard company) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Orpheus Union (Melbourne, VIC) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Parramatta Lunatic Assylum


"MUSIC HATH CHARMS", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 December 1850), 2:

"MUSIC HATH CHARMS." - So says the poet, and truly never was this saying more clearly demonstrated than on Thuraday last at the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum. A respectable person, who is particularly skilful in playing the flutina, called to see the Superintendent, and the latter gentleman (from knowing well the habits and disposition of the lunatics) requested his friend to play them a few tunes. The music had an indescribably pleasing effect, and would have gladdened the least sensitive heart. It was first tried upon the male lunatics, who, one and all, were immediately softened and animated; some clapped their hands, others imitated the flute, the clarionet, the cymbals, and the tambourine ; whilst some, in an ecstacy of joy, danced most manfully ; and what more than all proved the good effect of this procedure, no symptom of viciousness manifested itself. The amusement was next tried upon the females, and produced a similar effect; they sang for joy; there was one poor creature especially, who had been confined by a strait waistcoat, showed such an amount of pleasure that Mr. Statham had the waistcoat taken off, and she danced beautifully. The effect, without exception, was singularly good.

Penitentiary Church (Trinity Church), Hobart Town


"CHURCH MUSIC. TO THE EDITOR", The Argus (13 July 1859), 1

The church of the Foundling Hospital in London, and the Penitentiary Church, Hobart Town, may be adduced as well-known instances of the powerful attraction of music, being usually crowded, while the cathedrals are, in comparison, thinly attended. But these instances, striking as they are, would not bear out the recommendation of a church choir for mere concert or oratorio exhibition, and certainly not in any way calculated to increase devotional feelings when rendered lifeless or Ianguid from other causes.

People's Vocal Music Association

Sydney, NSW, 1859-64's+Vocal+Music+Association (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Perth Philharmonic Society

Active Perth, WA (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Philharmonic Society (Sydney 1833-37)

Philharmonic concerts

Active Sydney, NSW, 1833-37 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Picton Choral Society

Active Picton NSW, 1860-63 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"PICTON", Empire (7 July 1860), 5

. . . The Episcopalian Church of Picton has for a few Sundays past been made the theatre of a very disgraceful performance - at least as far as the actors therein are concerned. The Picton Choral Society, a local institution (on which, by the way, I fear that the gods have bestowed the gift of music more liberally than that of good sense), have for some time been at variance with their clergyman on the subject of singing anthems in the church, the consequence of which is that the service on Sunday has become the ring where the rival parties test their strength. I understand there is something to be said on both aides; and would not notice it here, but most heartily leave the reverend and very irreverent disputants to say that something, were it not that numbers of people come a considerable distance, Sabbath after Sabbath, and find the "sanctuary defiled, God dishonoured, and the sacrifice made of none effect."

"TO THE EDITOR", Empire (14 July 1860), 5

"TO THE EDITOR", Empire (23 July 1860), 5

"PICTON CHURCH. TO THE EDITOR", The Sydney Morning Herald (25 July 1860), 3

[Advertisement], Empire (26 June 1861), 1

"PICTON CHORAL SOCIETY", Bell's Life in Sydney (2 May 1863), 3

"PICTON", Bell's Life in Sydney (18 July 1863), 3

Port Adelaide Musical Society

Port Adelaide, SA, founded early 1860 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Prince of Wales Theatre, Sydney (Prince of Wales Opera House)

Sydney, NSW, opened 12 March 1855 

Professional and Vocal Union (Sydney)

Sydney, NSW, 1859-60 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Queen's Theatre (Melbourne)'s+Theatre+Melbourne (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Rainer's Serenaders (1852-55)

Originally all-American minstrel serenader troupe

Arrived Sydney, NSW, 19 September 1852 (per Speed, from San Francisco, 28 July)
Active NSW, ? until July 1855

PERSONNEL (on arrival, 1852): J. C. Rainer; T. P. Brower; M. W. (Bill) White; N. Bryant; J. M. Foans; F. Moran's+Serenaders (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Rowe's American Circus (Melbourne, VIC, 1852-54)

Arrived Melbourne, VIC, 1 May 1852
Departed 1854's+American+Circus+Melbourne (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See Joseph Andrew Rowe

Royal City Theatre (Sydney)

Short opening season May-June 1843 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Royal Polytechnic Insitution (Sydney)

Sydney, NSW, 1854-60 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Royal Prince of Wales Theatre (Bathurst)

Bathurst, NSW, by 1855 

Royal Victoria Theatre, Hobart Town

Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), by mid 1838 

Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney

Sydney, NSW, from 1838 

Company & orchestra lists:

[News], The Australian (6 March 1838), 4 

Mrs Cousins, the late Miss Grant, made her debut during the management of Capt. Polhill, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and was a pupil of Siguior Lanza and Alexander Lee. We understand that she is engaged to appear at the opening of the "Royal Victoria Theatre," Sydney.

"Theatricals", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (17 September 1842), 2:

. . . The following are the members of the Corps Dramatique, for the season:- Messrs. Nesbitt, Knowles, Fenton, Jones, Peat, Lee, Chambers, Collins, Simes, Dibden, and Grove; Mesdames. O'Flaherty, Thomson, Knowles, Larra, and Wallace; two Misses Jones, Miss Thompson, and 6 from England. The Orchestra: Mr. [S.] W. Wallace; Mr. Wallace, sen. Mr. Leggatt; Mr. Deane; Messrs. Deane, Portbury [sic], Walton, O'Flaherty, Pappin, Downes, and Weston; also Mr. Gibbs, from England, who is expected daily by the Trial.

[Advertisement], Empire (25 August 1854), 1

[Advertisement], Bell's Life in Sydney (26 August 1854), 3


St. James's Church, Sydney

Sydney, NSW


"CHANTS TO SUIT THE CLIMATE. To the Editor", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 April 1854), 3 

Sir,- Will your correspondent, the reforming parishioner of St. James's, be so condescending as to enlighten me, as one of the "many of your readers," upon the composition of his "climate chants," as, although I have studied melody as well as harmony a little, and have also heard of "music for the million," up to the present time I have not been fortunate enough to learn anything about "music for the climate." I should also feel greatly obliged if your correspondent would at the same time inform me where I can obtain a copy of his "uniform Gregorian chants." I have puzzled my brains a good deal in I endeavouring to ascertain what Gregory could have been so audacious as to compose chants on a model quite at the antipodes of that of the great Gregory, namely, on the "uniform system." From all I have been able to learn of the system of chanting introduced by Pope Gregory, his chants (commonly called " The Gregorian Chants" are irregular in their measure, and, therefore, not uniform; and I believe all these chants are quite within "the reach of ordinary voices." Perhaps, however, I am very ill-informed on the subject, and need the illumination of your musical parishioner. Your obedient Servant, ANOTHER PARISHIONER.

St. Patrick's Band (Sydney)

St. Patrick's Total Abstinence Society (Sydney)

Band active Sydney, NSW, by c. August 1842's+Band (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)-


"ST. PATRICK'S DAY. - ST. PATRICK'S TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY", Australasian Chronicle (21 March 1843), 2 

. . . Your committee also contemplates the introduction into the society of the German method of teaching music, known as "Maenzer's Music for the Million." The Apostle of Temperance had introduced this system into the societies in Ireland with the happiest results. Your committee think it quite practicable to introduce the same system here, and hope ere long to hear some of the sublime pieces of Handel and Mozart sung at the tea parties of St. Patrick's Total Abstinence Society . . .

St. Joseph's Band (Launceston, TAS)

Formed Launceston, VDL (TAS), July 1845's+Band (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


John AGNEW (first master)


"ST. JOSEPH'S BAND. FIFTY YEARS' HISTORY", Launceston Examiner (6 July 1895), 3

On Monday, 22nd inst., the members of St. Joseph's Band will celebrate the jubilee of the organisation with a fancy dress ball in the Albert Hall . . . St. Joseph's Band was formed in July, 1845, in connection with St. Joseph's Total Abstinence Society, and may therefore be said to be the oldest association of its character in the colonies. The original members met for the sake of a pleasure able diversion as well as for the purpose of becoming useful as a band of musicians. So thorough has been the spirit of earnest ness that the band is, after an existence of half a century, regarded - and justly regarded - as a musical organisation of which the city should be proud. The members have followed the study of music under proper direction, and by their efforts have been able to do good in an effectual and extensive manner, the work of alleviating distress having formed one of the chief features in the history of the band. The first bandmaster was the late Mr. John Agnew, of the 96th Regiment, and the original members were Messrs Charles Galvin, John McKenzie, William Mainsbridge, Andrew Skate, Arthur McIver, Francis McIver, Morgan O'Meara, William O'Meara, David O'Keefe, Thomas Keogh, Thomas Leary, John Murphy, and Bernard Lynch. Ten of these early players are dead, the only surviving members of the original band being Messrs Morgan O'Meara, who is now in New Zealand; David O'Keefe, at present in Victoria; and Thomas Leary, who is carrying on business as a chemist in Victoria. Mr. Joseph Galvin, one of the early members, is still an officer in the band. When Mr. Agnew left with his regiment for India he was succeeded by Mr. Michael Dillan, solo clarionet player of the 96th Regiment band, and after him Mr. Drum-Major Allen, who had retired from the 96th Regiment and remained at Launceston. Mr. Allen was the father of Mr. C. W. Allen, a member of the present Westbury Council. He was succeeded by the late Mr. Charles Galvin, one of the founders of the institution, who always took a warm interest in its progress until the date of his death a short time ago. Mr Galvin was band master until Mr. John McGuire was appointed, and the latter, who was a good clarionet player, continued for some time to lead the members to a higher state of musical excellence.

"The World's Oldest Band Celebrates Its Centenary", Examiner (25 August 1945), 11

THE FORMATION OF ST. JOSEPH'S BAND was the outcome of a temperance campaign conducted at Launceston by the Irish apostle of temperance, Theobold Mathew, at St. Joseph's Church, then on a site near that of the existing Church of the Apostles. Mathew, who was known as the Rev. Father Mathew, formed the St. John's Total Abstinence Society in 1845, and to further the work of the society St. Joseph's Band was formed the same year. The meeting at which the band was formed took place in St. Joseph's Hall, Margaret St., Launceston. "The Same Old Joes" as they are affectionately called, is the oldest band in the world, and is known throughout the Commonwealth. The original members met for the sake of a pleasurable diversion as well as for the purpose of becoming useful as a band of musicians. The first bandmaster was the late Mr. John Agnew, of the 96th Regiment, and the original members were: Messrs. Charles Galvin, John McKenzie, William Mainsbridge, William Robins, Andrew Skafe, Arthur McIver, Francis Mclver, Morgan O'Meara, William O'Meara, David O'Keefe, Thomas Keogh, Thomas Leary, John Leary, John Murphy, and Bernard Lynch. The first president was the late Rev. Dean Thomas Butler. Subsequently Mr. Joseph Galvin, John Galvin, Thomas J. Doolan, John L. Doolan, James Doolan, and Michael Doolan became members of the band. When Mr. John Agnew left with his regiment for India he was succeeded by Mr. Michael Dillon, solo clarionet player of the 11th Regiment Band, and after him Drum-Major C. W. Allen, who had retired from the 96th Regiment, and remained in Launceston. Mr. Allen was the father of the late Mr. C. W. Allen, who was for many years a member of the Westbury Council, and for a term a member of the House of Assembly. He was succeeded by Mr. Charles Galvin, one of the founders of the institution, who always took a warm interest in. its progress until the date of his death. He was the father of Mr. Bart J. Galvin, who is still the band's patron. Mr. Charles Galvin was bandmaster until Mr. John McGuire was appointed.

St. Mary's Choral Society (Sydney)

Active Sydney, NSW, from 1851's+Choral+Society (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

San Francisco Minstrels (1857-61)

American minstrel serenader troupe

Arrived Sydney, NSW, November 1857
Departed Melbourne, VIC, 25 July 1861

PERSONNEL (on arrival, 1857): G. W. Demerest; O. N. Burbank; D. F. Boley; Dave Carson; J. M. Foans

PERSONNEL (Melbbourne, June 1861): T. P. Brower; Dave Carson; J. O. Pierce; G. W. Demerest; Billy White; W. Robson; W. Robson; A. Martin; J. Lockyer (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Salle de Valentino (Melbourne, VIC)

Active Melbourne, VIC, by 1850 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Shamrock Theatre (Shamrock Concert Hall; Shamrock Hotel, Bendigo, VIC) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"THE SHAMROCK HOTEL", Bendigo Advertiser (20 October 1855), 3 

We understand that Mr. Heffernan has in contemplation the erection of a splendid concert room, superior to any on the Bendigo . . . Beyond question, the Shamrock Hotel has one of the best musical companies in the district, and the large support it receives is well deserved. The engagement of Miss Urie still continues, and her excellent singing meets with the same popularity as ever. Under most disadvantageous circumstances this lady acquits herself remarkably well. Mr. Gibson, the favorite Irish singer, is also engaged at the Shamrock, and his humorous and pleasant style of singing is no small attraction. Mr. Dixon, the tenor, and Mr. Leman, bass singer, are well deserving of notice. The latter gentleman has a very fine powerful voice, which enables him to sing certain songs with striking effect. The place of Mr. White, who ably presided at the pianoforte, and whose accompaniments in no small degree contributed to the success of the evening concerts, is at present filled by Mr. Salaman, the former gentleman being on a visit to town . . .

"DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM HEFFERNAN", Bendigo Advertiser (23 March 1891), 3 

Star Concert Hall (Ballarat, VIC)

Star Concert Room / Star Hotel

Active Ballarat, VIC, by 1855 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Sydney Amateur Concerts

Sydney, NSW, 1826-27 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See mainpage: 

Sydney Band

See Town Band, Sydney (before 1842)

See City Band, Sydney (after 1842)

Sydney Catch Club

Active Sydney, NSW, 1843

Catch Clubs for the convivial singing of catches (rounds, or canons), glees, and other often ribald songs, proliferated in British cities and towns during the 18th century. A good account of the phenomenon is Brian Robin's Catch and glee culture in eighteenth-century England. Printed collections like The Catch Club or Merry Companions (c.1700), and The muses delight: catches, glees, canzonets, and canons (1786) supplied their core repertory. London's famous Catch Club became and remained the model for most of these bodies, and was undoubtedly still the model for the Sydney Catch Club in the 1840s.

In October 1843, toward the end of his first Australian season at the Royal Victoria Theatre, the actor and singer George Coppin began transferring his entrepreneurial activities to his newly acquired hotel across the street. He named the new establishment the Clown Hotel, and, in an advertisement first run in the press on 30 October, offered  its large saloon as suitable for "Dinner Parties, Balls, Clubs, Societies or Public Meetings", adding as footnote: NB: A Catch Club will be established, and held every Tuesday evening. Coppin gave a little further information about the new Sydney club in an advertisement first run on 9 November: ACATCH CLUB will be held every Tuesday evening, at which every encouragement will be given to professional singers, and gentlemen amateurs desirous of perfecting themselves in the delightful science of music. A meeting of members was called in January 1844 to discuss important business. This was probably the appointment of a music director, for, as Coppin advertised on 23 January:

Mr. C. is instructed by the Committee of the SYDNEY CATCH CLUB to inform young gentlemen desirous of perfecting themselves in the delightful science of Music, that a professional gentlemen is engaged to arrange and instruct them in Glee and Catch Singing, free of expense, to attend the Club every Tuesday evening.

In April, a special meeting was called for the evening of Wednesday 24th, ostensibly to "make arrangements for the ensuing winter season". Coppin, however, may simply have been trying to drum up an audience for his regular entertainers, for the members were promised: "Messrs. Flachon, Fillmore, Coppin, and Jones, will contribute to the evening's entertainment." Whether the Sydney Catch Club continued after this point is unclear, though after George Skinner took over the Clown's license from Coppin in October, a rare advertisement in song (to be sung to the tune Derry Down) continued to offer catch singing as one of the attractions of the venue:

If you wish to partake in a glee or a catch,
 Why you've only to hint your desire to Joe Hatch,
And the sons of Apollo, with voices in tune,
 Can enjoy a long pull there, in Skinner's Saloon!

At least one later attempt at forming a catch and glee in Sydney is on record, but this press advertisement of 10 August 1855 is its sole mention.

More on catches in colonial Australia: English catches and glees were the staples of secular convivial part-singing in early colonial Australia. Unlike simpler songs and ballads, which relied on the singer's vocal qualities and memory, part singing required a level of what colonists would have called "scientific" musical skill. As a result, part singing most often relied on a professional musician (or a professionally-taught amateur) to direct it. Glees (harmonised part songs) and catches (rounds and canons) were usually in three, or occasionally four voice parts. They made perfect after dinner music. In Hobart in 1826 at a dinner given to Major Abbot, prior to his moving to Launceston, the singers included John Philip Deane, Hobart's leading non-military musical professional. According to the report in the Colonial Times: "Several excellent songs were given by different Gentlemen, particularly by Mr. Roberts and Mr. Deane, who with some other amateurs, sung favourite catches and glees." Deane was also a music-seller, and on a list of music-for-sale in 1828, he advertised under the heading FAVOURITE CATCHES one called Look, neighbours look. Some glees and catches were also considered suitable for formal concerts. For his concert in Sydney in November 1829, according to The Australian, the publican and entrepreneur Barnett Levey promised that he himself would: "introduce one or two of his favourite catches, and those who had the luck to be present at the last Olio will acknowledge the fun they enjoyed on that occasion." In Adelaide, South Australia, at New Year 1844, local "professor of music", George Bennett (1817-1854) gave a concert at which, the Southern Australian reported: The little catch, "Ah! how, Sophia," was successfully performed by Messrs Ewens, Harward, and Bennett. It is Celebrated for its puns, having been expressly composed for cockney singers. "Ah! how, Sophia" ("a house o'fire"), cries one; "Go fetch the indian's" (engines), rejoins another; and the third quaintly remarks, "I'm but a lodger." The company were much amused, and heartily encored the piece. The following are the words:

Ah! how Sophia, can you leave
Your lover, and of hope bereave?
Go fetch the Indian's borrowed plume -
Yet, richer far than that you bloom.
I'm but a lodger in your heart.
And more than me, I fear, have part.

Altogether, this, we should say was one of the best concerts we have had in Adelaide. Here is the opening (and a link to the complete music) of Calcott's setting from The Musical Times (1854). Catches and glees were also reportedly among the music sung by the convicts on Norfolk Island during and even after the controversial tenure of the reforming commandant Alexander Maconochie. To the amusement of the press and consternation of his critics, in 1840 Maconochie bought up the complete stock of manuscript music and manuscript paper of the Sydney music-seller, Andrew Ellard, intending "to employ in copying Music such old, lame, sick or other infirm Prisoners under my care as can be instructed in it." From Sydney in early 1840, Maconochie also hired the recent and somewhat shadowy é migré musician and physician, Dr. James A. Reid, to be one of his medical officers on Norfolk Island. And among the new prisoners who arrived from England that year was the composer and convicted forger Charles Packer. By 1845 Maconochie, Reid, and Packer had all left the island, but their influence perhaps lingered on. As The Australian noted as late as 1846, reporting on an escape attempt: "Amongst the prisoners . . . are some really good singers, and these kept up a concert of catches and glees, while others were employed in filing away their irons . . . "

Sydney Choral Society

Sydney, NSW, c.1844-57 (TROVE public tag)


[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (22 April 1845), 1

PATRON The Lord Bishop of Australia.
COMMITTEE: Rev. Dr. Cowper; Mr. Nathan, M.R.C.S.;
Rev. R. Allwood; Mr. H. Tingcombe;
Rev. R. K. Sconce; Mr. W. McDonell;
Rev. J. C. Grylls; Mr. J. Deane;
Rev. W. H. Walsh; Mr. C. D. Logan.
Chairman - ; Mr. H. J. Hatch, Secretary; Mr. J. Johnson, Conductor;
Mr. J. R. Hurst. Treasurer. Mr. W. Johnson, Leader.
THE above Society has been formed by Members of the Church of England, in the hope that by encouraging a taste for choral singing generally, much improvement may be effected in the Chaunting and Psalmody of Divine Worship.
In furtherance of so important an object, it is requested that all persons who are possessed of musical talent, and are desirous of rendering their assistance as singing members, will give in their names to one or other of the Committee on or before Wednesday next.
Churchmen generally, whether they join the Quires or not, may be admitted as members. The meetings of the Society will be held, by permission of the Reverend the Incumbent, in the St. James's Infant School, Castlereagh-street, every Wednesday evening, at half-past seven o'clock.
The entrance fee is ten shillings; and the subscription one pound a year, or two shillings a month, to be paid in advance.
Further information may be obtained by application to the Secretary, at Napoleon Cottage, Sheriff's Gardens, from whom may be obtained the separate parts of the pieces ordered for practice on Wednesday evening next.
H. J. HATCH, Secretary.

ASSOCIATIONS: William Grant Broughton (bishop, patron); Henry John Hatch (secretary); Charles Nathan (committee); Henry Tingcombe (committee); Charles David Logan (committee); James Johnson (conductor); William Johnson (leader)

Sydney Harmonicon

Musical publication, periodical; Sydney: W. J. Johnson, 1855 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


W. J. JOHNSON (publisher)

Sydney Liedertafel

Active Sydney, NSW, by c. 1855-59

Also referred to as the German Glee Club and German Liederkranz (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Sydney Philharmonic Society

Founded Sydney, NSW, March 1854 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


[Advertisement], Empire (8 March 1854), 1 

THIS Society has been established by a number of musical gentlemen, for the cultivation and performance of the most approved vocal and instrumental music.
The proceeds after paying the necessary expenses to go towards a fund for the encouragement of musical talent in this colony.
The Society to be supported by annual subscriptions, and by voluntary contributions, and to consist of members, subscribers, and associates.
Members to take an active part in the Society, and subscribers to be admitted to the concerts; the former to pay and annual subscription of £2, and the latter, £1 1s.
Associates aer elected by the Committee, and admitted gratuitously.
Parties desirous of joining the Society, will please send their names and the amount of their subscriptions, either to the
Treasurer, Mr. B. Mountcastle, George-street, the gentlemen of the Committee -
Mr. Gilbert Wright, King-street
Mr. Frederick Kellerman, Church-hill
Mr. Charles Younger, Pitt-street
Mr. Francis Clarke, Woolloomooloo
Mr. William MacDonnell, George-street,
Or to MONS. EUGENE PARIS, Hon. Sectretary, 231, Elizabeth-street.

[Advertisement], Empire (12 April 1854), 3 

Sydney Vocal Harmonic Society

Sydney, 1858-62 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"SYDNEY VOCAL HARMONIC SOCIETY", The Sydney Morning Herald (15 January 1859), 4 

Sydney University Musical Festival

Sydney, NSW, July 1859 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Lewis Henry LAVENU (conductor)


[Advertisements], Empire (4 July 1859), 6 

SYDNEY UNIVERSITY MUSICAL FESTIVAL. On TUESDAY, July 19th, and THREE FOLLOWING DAYS, a series of GRAND MUSICAL PERFORMANCES Will be held to celebrate the opening of the HALL of the Sydney University in which the performances will take place.

The following gentlemen form the General Committee of direction: - Sir Charles Nicholson, Bart., D.C.L., Provost; The Hon. Francis L. S. Merewether, B.A., Vice-Provost; His Grace Archbishop Polding, Fellow of the Senate; The Hon. E. Deas Thomson, C.B., ditto; The Hon. H. G. Douglass ditto; The Hon. J. H. Plunkett, B.A., ditto; The Rev. Robert Allwood, B.A , ditto; Alfred Denison, Esq., M.A., ditto; Professor Woolley, D.C.L.; Professor Pell, B.A.; Professor Smith, M.D.; The Rev. Henry J. Hose, M.A., Warden of St. Paul's; E. T. Blacket, Esq., University Architect; Charles Nathan, Esq., President of the Vocal Harmonic Society; The Honorable Robert Johnson, Esq., Committee of the Vocal Harmonic Society; The Rev. W. H. Walsh, M.A., ditto; W. J. Johnson, Esq., ditto; The Rev. W. Cuthbertson, B.A., ditto; C. H. Woolcott, Esq , ditto; J. Waller, Esq., ditto; D. Dickson, Esq., ditto; J. G. Waller, Esq., Committee of the Philharmonic Society; L. Rawack, Esq., ditto; W. McDonnell, Esq., ditto; W. H. Aldis, Esq., ditto; J. Dyer, Esq., ditto; John Deane, Esq., Conductor of the Philharmonic Society; W. J. Cordner, Esq., Conductor of the Vocal Harmonic Society.

The Committee have already made engagements with tho following artists:- CONDUCTOR - Mr. L. H. LAVENU; Principal Soprani - Madame CARANDINI; Mrs. TESTAR, of Melbourne; Mrs. ST. JOHN ADCOCK; and also Lady amateur - Miss BRADY; Miss NINA SPAGNOLETTI; Miss ADCOCK; Principal Contralto - Madame SARA FLOWER; Principal Tenori - Mr. WALTER SHERWIN; Mr. F. ELLARD; SIGNOR SPAGNOLETTI; Mr. JOHN HOWSON; Herr B. SUSSMILCH; Principal Bassi, Mr. JOHN GREGG; Mr. FRANK HOWSON and also, An AMATEUR - Mr. WALLER.

PRINCIPAL INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMERS. PIANOFORTE, LADY AMATEUR. Mr. CHAPMAN (of Melbourne), Violoncello and Double Bass; Mr. KOHLER (of Melbourne), Cornet; Mr. WINTERBOTTOM, Bassoon; Mr. W. J. CORDNER, Choir-master.

The ORCHESTRA will, be more numerous and efficient than any that has over before been heard in these Colonies. By the kind permission of the Colonel and Officers of the 12th Foot part of the band of that Regiment will assist in the orchestra. The following Instrumental Performers have already been engaged: -

FIRST VIOLINS, Mr. John Deane, Conductor of the Philharmonic Society; Mr. Eigenschenk, leader of Orchestra of the Prince of Wales Theatre; Mr. Alfred Usher, leader of Orchestra of the Victoria Theatre; Mr. Charles Smith; Mr. Richard Herz; Mr. J. Davis; With the gentlemen amateurs of the Philharmonic Society; SECOND VIOLINS. - Mr. George Peck; Mr. Adolphe Grebet; Mr. John Thomas Hall; With the gentlemen Amateurs of the Philharmonic Society; VIOLE. - Mr. Walter Rice; Mr. William Friedander; Martin Josephson; With the gentlemen amateurs of the Philharmonic Society; VIOLONCELLI. - Mr. E. S. Deane; Mr. T. L. Williamson; Mr. F. Howson, jun.; And the gentleman amateurs of the Philharmonic Society; CONTBABASSI. - Mr. Chapman, from Melbourne; Mr. J. Brown; Mr. A. H. Chate; And a gentleman amateur, member of the Philharmonic Society.

1st CLARINETTE - Mr. A. Fowle, 12th Regiment; 2nd DITTO - Mr. E. Kim, 12th Regiment; 1st OBOE - 2nd OBOE} Gentlemen Amateurs; SOLO BASSOON, Mr. J. WINTERBOTTOM; 1st BASSOON - Mr. E. Fahey, 12th Regiment; 2nd BASSOON - Mr. G. Wright, 12th Regiment; FLUTES - 1st FLUTE - Mr. Robert Vaughan; 2nd DITTO - Mr. Gottfried Smith; With Gentlemen Amateurs. 1st FRENCH HORN - Mr. M. McCarthy, 12th Regiment; 2nd Ditto ditto - Mr. H. Sullivan, 12th Regiment; TENOR TROMBONE- Mr. William Northcote, 12th Regt.; BASS TROMBONE - Mr. William Woolbridge, 12th Regt.; TENOR SAXE HORN - Gentleman amateur; CORNETS-A-PISTON - Mr. Kohler, from Melbourne; Mr. C. Fredericks; Band-Sergeant Prince; And a gentlemen amateur; TRUMPETS - Mr. - - ; BARITONE SAXE HORN - Mr. DONAHOE; OPHICLEIDE - Mr. Readett, Band Master of the Royal Artillery; Ditto - Mr. WHITE; KETTLE DRUMS - Mr. F. Sharp; SIDE DRUMS - Mr. W. Sullivan.

The Chorus will number 250 voices, among whom are some professional leaders. The chorus is composed chiefly of the members of the Sydney Vocal Harmonic Society, the members of Mr. Chizlett's advanced music class, the members of the German Choral Society, and individual associates of various choirs in this city. This body of vocalists has been engaged in the practice of the works now to be performed for the past six months, and have had several rehearsals with the full orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Lavenu.

The Festival will commence on TUESDAY, July 19th, at one o'clock p.m., on which occasion will be performed Handel's Sacred Oratorio, "THE MESSIAH."

On WEDNESDAY, at one o'clock p.m., will be performed Haydn's Oratorio, "THE CREATION."

On WEDNESDAY EVENING, at eight o'clock, there will be a GRAND MISCELLANEOUS CONCERT of secular music.

On THURSDAY EVENING, at eight o'clock, there will be a GRAND MISCELLANEOUS CONCERT. The first part will comprise a selection of Sacred Music, and the second part a selection of Secular Music.

On FRIDAY, at 1 o'clock p.m., Handel's Sacred Oratorio of "THE MESSIAH" will be repeated.

The price of admission to each performance will be ten shillings, and each seat will be numbered and reserved. Plans of the Hall may be seen ot Mr. W. J. JOHNSON'S Pianoforte Warehouse, Pitt-street, where seats may now be secured. Tickets of admission may be purchased on MONDAY, the 4th July, at Mr. W. J. Johnson's Pianoforte Warehouse, Pitt-street; Messrs. Sands and Kenny, George- street; J. R. Clarke, George-street ; Sherriff, George-street; D, Buist, George-street; J, W. Waugh, George-street; Moss, Hunter-street; Hurford, Castlereagh- street; W. H. Aldis, George-street; Sandon and Co., George-street; Mr. Paling, Wynyard Square. Persons purchasing tickes, are requested to call and present them at Mr. W. J. Johnson's, Pitt-street, to select their numbered seats and point out the position that they would wish to occupy in the Hall, on the plan lying there.

W. J. JOHNSON, Honorary Treasurer.

JOSEPH DYER, Honorary Secretary.

SYDNEY VOCAL HARMONIC SOCIETY. A Practise will take place at the School-room, Castlereagh-street, THIS EVENING, at half-past eight o'clock. JOSEPH DYER, Honorary Secretary.

SYDNEY PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY. Those gentlemen who have offered their services at the Sydney University Festival are requested to meet THIS EVENING, at Seven o'clock, at the Exchange Room, to practice the music to be performed on that occasion. JOSEPH DYER, Honorary Secretary.

Sydney Volunteer Rifles Band (Band of the First Batallion of Volunteer Rifles, Sydney)

Formed Sydney, NSW, December 1860


George Douglas CALLEN (first master)

William STANLEY (South Sydney company)


Mr. Dennis, cornet

Mr. Arthur Stacey, cornet

Mr. Benjamin Waters, violin

Mr. P. M. Moore, flute

Mr. J. Beaumont, flute

Mr. J. Hasker, cornet

Mr. Davison, piccolo or flute

Mr. D. Shaw, cornet

Mr. G. Eginton, baritone sax horn

Mr. E. Conroy, flute

Mr. E. Turner, concertina

Mr. P. Williams, violin

Mr. Horan, cornet

Mr. G. McKinnon, flagelet

Mr. Henry Webb, triangle

Mr. Ham, cornet

Mr. Ham, sax-tuba

Mr. H. Jones, French horn

Mr. Brodie, drum

Mr. Edmonstore, French flute

Mr. McKenzie, hautboy

Mr. Nicholas Nelson, flute

Mr. Devlin, basso.


Mr. Leahy, bass trombone

Mr. G. Wright, bassoon

Mr. Thomas Quinn, side drum

Mr. James Wilson, clarionet

Mr. T. Gill, bombardon

Mr. M. McMahon, clarionet

Mr. Morgan, trombone

Mr. Metcalfe, clarionet

Mr. Lombe, French horn

2 Messrs. Taylor, cornets

Mr. Crew, sax horn

Mr. Pearson, piccolo

Mr. J. Palmer, flute.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (17 December 1860), 1

BAND FOR THE ARTILLERY AND RIFLE VOLUNTEERS.- Those persons who have forwarded their names for a Band are requested to meet Mr. DOUGLAS CALLEN, the Provisional Director, at the Volunteer Office, Hyde Park, on TUESDAY next, the:i8tb instant, at 7 o'clock p.m. By order, WILLIAM FORDE, honorary secretary. 14th December.

"WEEKLY REGISTER", Empire (22 December 1860), 5

Mr. Douglas Callen, bandmaster of the 12th Regiment, has been appointed temporary director of the band now in process of formation by the Volunteer Rifles.

"THE VOLUNTEER BAND", Empire (28 December 1860), 5

A meeting of persons favourable to joining the Volunteer Rifles Band was held at the offices Hyde Park, yesterday evening. The band master of the 12th Regiment, Mr. Douglas Callan, was in attendance to test the qualifications of the different candidates. The names of the following amateurs were taken down:

Mr. Dennis, cornet; Mr. Arthur Stacey, cornet: Mr. Benjamin Walters, violin; Mr. P. M. Moore, flute; Mr. J. Beaumont, flute; Mr. J. Hasker, cornet; Mr. Davison, piccolo or flute; Mr. D. Shaw, cornet; Mr. G. Eginton, baritone sax horn . Mr. E. Conroy, flute; Mr. E. Turner, concertina; Mr. P. Williams, violin; Mr. Horan, cornet; Mr. G. McKinnon, flagelet; Mr. Henry Webb, triangle; Mr. Ham, cornet; Mr. Ham, sax-tuba; Mr. H. Jones, French horn; Mr. Brodie, drum; Mr. Edmonstore, French flute; Mr. McKenzie, hautboy; Mr. Nicholas Nelson, flute; and Mr. Devlin, basso.

The following names have been taken down as paid members:

Mr. Leahy, bass trombone; Mr. G. Wright, bassoon; Mr. Thomas Quinn, side drum; Mr. James Wilson, clarionet; Mr. T. Gill, bombardon; Mr. M. McMahon, clarionet; Mr. Morgan, trombone; Mr. Metcalfe, clarionet; Mr. Lambe, French horn; two Messrs. Taylor, cornets; Mr. Crow, sax horn; Mr. Pearson, piccolo; Mr. J. Palmer, flute.

The paid members, who are to be 16 in number, must have a knowledge of music; the amateurs either have a knowledge of music or will receive instruction. The collection of names as above would appear a preliminary stop, as Mr. Callan will have to report to the band committee before anything definite can be done.

"THE VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 March 1861), 9

. . . on this occasion, too, the band of the Rifles made its debut. It was intended from the first to make this band superior in numbers and musical talent to any other in the colony, and as this would involve a heavy expense, subscriptions were invited towards that object. Just at the time, however, there was the intercolonial cricket match to provide for, and the Anniversary regatta, which must have affected the subscription list considerably; but the Government promised to place the sum of £300 on the Estimates towards supplementing private donations, and on the faith of this the committee proceeded to engage the services of a director (who was also instructed to engage sixteen professionals, who would receive pay for their services). Mr. Callen was the gentleman chosen as director, and he set to work in organising the paid nucleus. A number of amateurs at once volunteered to join the professionals, several of whom were excellent players on suitable instruments, while others who had a knowledge of music yet performed on those altogether unsuited for a military band. These latter were advised by Mr. Callen to form themselves into a class for the purpose of acquiring proficiency on the instruments which could be made available; and having done so, the members of the band will shortly be augmented to the number of about thirty-five or forty. They have been practising piivately for some time past, and on Saturday last the Volunteers who proceeded to the Balmain presentation of colours had the satisfaction of being headed by their own band, wearing the uniform of the corps, towards the support of this band the various companies have consented to subscribe in proportion to their strength.

"THE VOLUNTEERS OF NEW SOUTH WALES", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 August 1861), 6

"VOLUNTEER BANDS. To the Editor", The Sydney Morning Herald (13 November 1861), 8

"BOTANIC GARDENS", Empire (20 Decemeber 1862), 8


"BOTANIC GARDENS", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 April 1863), 13

"THE BAND . . .", The Sydney Morning Herald (31 October 1863), 5 


Douglas Callen: Manly Beach galop (as performed by the band of the 1st Battalion Sydney Volunteer Rifles) (Sydney: Messrs Wilkie Elvy & Co., [1863])

William Stanley: The N.S.W. Volunteer Rifles quick march (dedicated to the Volunteer Rifles, South Sydney Company) (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, 1863)


Theatre Royal (Geelong) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Theatre Royal (Bourke-street East, Melbourne)

Opened Melbourne, VIC, by December 1854


"BOXING DAY. PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS", The Argus (27 December 1854), 5

PROMENADE CONCERT AT THE THEATRE ROYAL. - The second of the series of Promenade Concerts at the new theatre, Bourke-street east, was very well attended, and all present manifested their approval of the entertainment. Mr. Peck is the manager, and M. Bial the conductor. The former performed a violin solo by Mayseder, and the latter a fantasia on the pianoforte, by Thalberg. Both were much admired. Mons. Coulon, Miss Hamilton, and Miss Stewart, were the vocalists of the evening.

[Advertisement], The Argus (21 December 1855), 8:

[Testimonial from the touring actress Eliza Thom includes a list of orchestral musicians]

Theatre Royal (Sydney) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Operational Sydney, NSW, by c. July 1832

"THEATRICALS", The Australian (13 July 1832), 3 

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (4 May 1835), 3

. . . The Company engaged for the ensuing Season consist of Messrs. Simmons, Knowles, Mackay, Buckingham, Winters, Peat, Dyball, Simes, Lane, Fitzgerald, Oxberry, and Master S. Jones; Mesdames Taylor, Jones, Mackay, Larra, and Misses Douglass and Winstanley . . . The Lessees have succeeded in engaging all the first-rate Musical Talent in Sydney to form their Orchestra, which consists of the following gentlemen: Leader of the Band, Mr, Clarke; Violins, Messrs. Spyers, Johnson, Dyer, and Scott; principal Flute, Mr. Stubbs; Violoncello and Grand Piano Forte, Mr. Cavendish; Clarionets, Messrs. Turner and Sharp; Bassoons, Messrs. Hoare and Ball; Bugle, Mr. Pappin; Drums, Mr. Vaughan . . . The Musical Department will be considerably improved, and under the direction of Mr. CAVENDISH . . .

Totten's Harmoneons (Totten's Serenaders)

Founded Melbourne, VIC, April 1854, by Elbert Totten (non-performer, manager)
Arrived Adelaide, SA, September 1854; dissolved by end of 1854 (some of the performers depart January 1855 for Mauritius as New York Serenaders)

PERSONNEL (Melbourne): Uncertain

PERSONNEL (Adelaide): J. O. Pierce; James Edward Kitts; J. C. Lee; Baker; Clark; Thayer's+Harmoneons (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Town Band (Sydney)

Active, by c.1840; from 1842 became City Band (Sydney)

Tyrolese Minstrels

Active, by 1854 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)



Victorian Exhibition 1854-55 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Windsor Band

Active Windsor, NSW, by 1822 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

[Letter], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (5 April 1822), 3

To the Printer of the Sydney Gazette. SIR, You talk of the prevailing Sydney gaiety, but allow me to give you a description of our grand doings here, and at Richmond. On Monday evening, the 11th ult. WILLIAM BELL, Esq. of Bellmont, entertained a large party of Ladies and Gentlemen; the Windsor band attended; and the dance was led off to the tune of "Rivers, I am beyond your reach." On Wednesday following, WILLIAM COX, Esq., of Clarendon, invited a large party of his friends to celebrate the christening of his son, and closed the evening with a lively dance, to the tune of "The Golden Fleece" or "The Merino Breed is pure." On the Friday following, Windsor was a scene of barouches and four, crowded with Ladies, single-horse chaises, and horses with out-riders, until a late hour of the day, passing to Clifton Cottage, the residence of Captain BRABYN, where a sumptuous dinner was prepared; and in the evening a sprightly dance commenced, led off by Miss BRABYN, to the tune of "Speed the Plough" which was played by the Windsor band with animated glee. This entertainment was honored with the company of several Officers of His Majesty's ship Dauntless. The party did not break up until the splendid luminary of this lower world bade the husbandman repair to that labour which affords all the comforts of a friendly welcome and a country life. The visitors left Richmond and its neighbourhood with one general wish, that that part of the country might be blessed with continued plenty, and its inhabitants ever be rendered happy. Yours, &c, RECIFFOLAVAK.

While we cannot be sure of its membership (perhaps a mixture of army bandsmen from the Windsor Barracks and local amateurs), thanks to the correspondent we do know the names of some of the tunes it played. Rivers, I am beyond your reach, and The Golden fleece or The merino breed is pure both remain a mystery for the moment. And even though Speed the plough was almost ubiqutious, it is hard from this distance to be sure precisely what tune is referred to here. The English ballad God speed the plough was sung or played to the tune I am the Duke of Norfolk. Or, perhaps more likely, it was the Irish dance tune that took the name Speed the plough after it had been used in a stage play of that name by the Irish-born London professional musician and composer John Moorehead (d.1804), who published it in 1798 as The Favourite Dance introduced in the New Comedy called Speed the Plough . . . arranged as a Rondo for the Piano-forte. (John Field also wrote a rondo on Speed the Plough.)

The Windsor Band returns to the newspaper record 20 years later. At North Richmond on Boxing Day 1843, the Windsor Band was in attendance at the annual meeting of the St. Patrick's Total Abstinence Society. The proceeds of the day were, moreover, to be "devoted toward the establishment of a Society Band". Thereafter, the Windsor Band is noted from time to time for the rest of the 19th century, and in 1901 was being billed as the Windsor Brass Band.

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