LAST MODIFIED Thursday 6 June 2019 9:34

William Wilkins Russell (c.1798-1892)

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "William Wilkins Russell (c.1798-1892)", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 3 April 2020

RUSSELL, William Wilkins (Mr. RUSSELL; RUSSEL)

Professor of music, music and singing master, actor, theatrical manager, conductor, violinist, pianist, organist

Born England, c.1798
Arrived Hobart, TAS, 31 May 1832 (per Medway, from London, 8 February)
Married Sarah Ann PETCHEY, Newtown, TAS, 6 March 1838
Died Richmond, TAS, 3 October 1892, aged 94 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


RUSSELL, Mr. junior


Active 1840s (? brother of the above)


William Russell's death registration records his age as 94 (the newspaper notices have "in his 94th year"). He was perhaps the William Russell, born in London on 6 January 1798 (baptised St. Anne, Soho, 22 October 1799), to William Russell and Ann Casel, who had married in the same church on 20 July 1795. One family historian has hazarded that his father was the composer, pianist and organist William Russell (1777-1813), though I have found no evidence to support this. Our Russell claimed, on arrival in Hobart in 1832, to have come "from the Theatres Royal, London", and so perhaps a more plausible family link would be with the famous comedian and theatrical manager Samuel Thomas Russell (1766-1845).

Our Russell appears in the Tasmanian Names Index, in its record of his marriage in 1838, as William Wilkins Russell (one family historian has queried "Watkins"), and though he appears not usually to have used that form (his insolventy and death records have merely William Russell), it is adopted here, and also as a TROVE tag, for the helpful expedient of it being a more or less unique identifier.

Russell sailed again for London on the Duckenfield in October 1835, but after only 5 months in England, returned on the Derwent, arriving in December 1835, no doubt interested to find William Vincent Wallace in town.

A Mrs. Russell took her benefit at the Hobart Theatre early in 1838, some weeks before our Russell's marriage to Sarah Ann Petchey. Was she Mrs. Samuel Russell, later reported in the press? If so, any relationship with our Russell remains a mystery. A Samuel Russell arrived in Hobart on 6 April 1836 as a passenger on board the Francis Freeling from Sydney (Archives Office of Tasmania; Reports of ships arrivals with lists of passengers; Film Number: SLTX/AO/MB/1; Series Number: MB2/39/1/2). So too is the mention of two Mr. Russells, senior and junior playing in the theatre orchestra for John and Eliza Bushelle's concert in February 1843.

In his long local career, our Russell appears to have had working relationships with most other important musicians active in Hobart from the 1830s through to the 1870s. Among his known piano pupils in the late 1840s was George Boyes's son Henry. In the early 1850s he also collaborated with painter Samuel Prout Hill on "musical and artistical entertainments".

In the 1880s, Russell's musical practice appears to have been continued by two of his daughters. His son, H. P. Trevor Russell (d. 1923) also took a lively amateur interest in classical music, and as a serial correspondent to the letters pages of city newspapers.


"SHIP NEWS", Colonial Times (5 June 1832), 2 

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (29 June 1832), 2 

Our musical friends will be pleased to learn that the art has received a valuable acquisition in the recent arrival of Mrs. Davis and Mr. Russel, both very eminent professors both vocal and instrumental.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (3 July 1832), 1 

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (3 July 1832), 1 

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (6 July 1832), 3 

ACADEMY OF MUSIC. WM. RUSSELL, FROM THE THEATRES ROYAL, LONDON. BEGS to announce his arrival in this colony, and most respectfully informs the ladies and gentlemen of Hobart town, and its vicinity, that he will meet pupils for the purpose of giving Musical Instruction. Attendance will be given for the present, at Mr. Sutherland's, oposite to the Police office, Elizabeth-street, on Tuesday and Friday, evening, from 6 till 10 o'clock. TERMS:- 2l. 12s. 6d. per quarter; 8l. 8s. 9d. per annum. Classes will be formed according to the attainment of the pupils, and the Theory and Practice of Music accurately taught and illustrated from the best compositions of ancient and modern masters. Mr. R. also begs to announce, his intention of establishing an Amateur concert, (to a limited number of Subscribers) for the performance of vocal and instrumental music, on each alternate Wednesday evening, from 7 till 10 o'clock (to which pupils will have free admission), and such pupils and subscribers as have had sufficient practice, be allowed ro join in the performance. Terms of subscription to the concert, 2 guineas per annum. The piano forte, taught in schools or private families, on liberal terms. For particulars and testimonials as to character and abilities, W. R. begs to refer to Dr. Ross, at the Courier Office.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (31 August 1832), 3 

W. RUSSELL, BEGS to inform the inhabitants of New Norfolk and its vicinity, that in consequence of his having made an engagement to teach music at Miss Ring's establishment, he will be happy to attend any private families in the neighbourhood, for the purpose of instructing on the Piano forte.

"The Concert", The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (23 November 1832), 2-3 

On Monday evening last, the Public were entertained at the Court House, with a Melange of Vocal and Instrumental Music, combined with a Theatrical exhibition of Mr. RAY's "At Home"- the Vocal Performance by Mrs. DAVIS and Mr. RAY, &c. The instrumental by our young musical prodigy, Miss DEANE, Messrs. RUSSELL, MARSHALL, DEANE, &c. . . . Mr. RUSSELL's violin drew forth long continued applauses.

"Domestic Intelligence", The Tasmanian (7 December 1832), 5 

Mr. Richenberg and Mr. Russell contemplate affording an evening's amusement very shortly of vocal and instrumental music, to conclude with an exhibition entirely novel in this Colony. It is to be hoped they will meet with encouragement, particularly that veteran Mr. Richenberg, whose goodness of heart alone has stimulated him upon this occasion, for the benefit and encouragement of that rising young performer Mr. Russell, whom some parties, as it is said, have hitherto endeavoured to keep in the back ground. - From a Correspondent.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (28 December 1832), 1 

MESSRS. REICHENBERG & RUSSELL respectfully announce to the inhabitants of Hobart town, that a Juvenile Fete will be given (by permission) at the Court House, on Friday evening Dec. 28, 1832, the amusements to commence with a Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music, and conclude with the exhibition of a splendid Phantasmagoria, introducing illustrations from history, and a great variety of humorous subjects. Admission for children under 10 years of age 3s., above 10 5s. each. Tickets to be had of Mr. Wood, Liverpool street, and of Mr. Dean, at his Circulating Library. Doors to be open at a quarter before 7 o'clock, and Concert commence at half past 7.

[2 advertisements], The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (3 December 1833), 1 

MESSRS. PECK and RUSSELL most respectfully inform their friends and the Public in general, that they will give, during the Race week, a Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music, at the British Hotel, Assembly Rooms, Launceston. Mesers. P. and R. trust, from the great expense attending the getting up a Concert at Launceston, a generous Public will honor them with their patronage and support.

W. RUSSELL, begs to announce, that he intends giving his "Second Christmas Juvenile Fete," the latter end of this month; particulars of which will be made known in a future advertisement.

Ross's Van Diemen's Land annual and Hobart Town almanack for the year 1834 (Hobart: James Ross, 1834), 30

. . . Mr. Reichenberg, Mr. Deane, Mr. Russel, Mr. Peck are established Teachers of Music

"Deane's Theatre", The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch (26 August 1834), 2 

. . . Mr. Russell was a very great favourite with us in his original character of a violin player; and having ourselves little, or rather, no scientific knowledge of, or natural ear for music, we admired Mr. Russell's manner of handling his instrument more than any other violin player we ever saw; and though we could not criticise his performance, we could feel and admire its effect. But Mr. Russell is only, if we may use the expression, a make-shift actor; and his conduct on a recent occasion, either as manager, or whatever character he thought proper to assume in the orchestra, though it might be fitting and proper to an audience, composed) of the lowest rabble, was evidently most improper, unprecedented, and intolerable, when exhibited before an audience, any part of which, was composed of educated persons, who had ever moved in society of the slightest polish. We refer to the occasion, when Mr. Russell was pleased to rise up in the Orchestra, and insult the audience, by threatening to turn out some gehtlemen, who uttered the usual, and on the occasion referred to, most proper expression of disapprobation at the conduct of an actor, whom he, Mr. Russell, as manager, if he be manager, ought to have compelled to make a very humble apology to the audience, before he had ever permitted him again to appear before them . . .

"Theatre", The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch (16 September 1834), 3 

. . . The issue is, that Mr. and Mrs. Mackay and Mr. Penphrase have left Mr. Deane, and taken a room at the Calcutta Hotel, where they intend to perform. Mr. Deane is thus left with half a company, composed of all the sticks in the old company, except one or two. Neither house, supposing that Mr. Mackay opens his, can possibly pay the Proprietor and the performers, and either must be a juggle on the Public. The best and most beneficial mode for either, will be for Mr. Deane and his actors to come to an understanding, and let old feuds pass away. The Public will then be pacified and as Mr. Russell is departing for England, there will not be so much fear of an insult being offered by Mr. Deane.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (26 September 1834), 2 

We shall be sorry to lose so good a musician as Mr. Russell from our little stock of professors, who is returning to his native country by the Cleopatra. His farewell benefit takes place this evening, when a very crowded house is anticipated.

"TRADE AND SHIPPING", The Hobart Town Courier (31 October 1834), 3 

The Duckenfield sailed on Sunday [26 October] with a full cargo of colonial produce - passengers . . . Mr. Russel . . .

"SHIP NEWS", Colonial Times (15 December 1835), 4 

Dec. 10. - Arrived the barque Derwent, Captain A. Riddell, from London the 9th August, with a general cargo. Passengers . . . Mr. W. Russell.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (18 December 1835), 2 

Among our old friends who have returned to us by the recent arrivals, we have to announce that of Mr. Russell, to whose exertions the musical world of Hobart town is already so much indebted. During his stay in London, about 5 months, Mr. Russell chiefly occupied himself with collecting all the recent works of merit both musical and theatrical, and makes his debut, we observe, this evening at the Freemasons' Tavern, by the exhibition of a juvenile fete, which comes apropos at this school holyday season. For though our assizes are now on, and the town is crowded with jurors and witnesses from the country, there is any thing but pleasant recreation or enjoyment attendant upon them.

[9 March 1838] RGD36/1/3 no 4157 (NAME_INDEXES:824335) 

"ALMANACK, AND MEMORANDA FOR THE ENSUING WEEK", The Hobart Town Courier (9 March 1838), 2 

On Tuesday morning last, by the Rev. T. B. Naylor, at Newtown church, W. W. Russell to Sarah Ann, only daughter of J. Petchey, esq. of Hobart town.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (14 February 1843), 2 

GRAND CONCERT! On FRIDAY NEXT, the 17 th instant. Royal Victoria Theatre. MR. & MRS. BUSHELLE . . . instrumental performers: Mr. John Deane, leader; Mr. J. Howson, conductor; Mr. Russell, sen., Mr. H. Howson, Mr. Duly, sen., Mr. Duly, jun., Mr. Curtis, Mr. Russell, jun.; the remainder of the Theatrical Orchestra augmented (by the kind permission of Colonel Elliott) by a large portion of the excellent band of the 51 st regiment.

[Advertisement], The Courier (24 March 1843), 1 

MRS. W. RUSSELL begs respectfully to acquaint the public that, having taken those eligible and commodious premises belonging to and lately occupied by Mr. Petchey, situate No. 5, Davey-street, she will be prepared to receive a limited number of Young Ladies, under twelve years of age, as daily pupils or boarders, from the 1st of April next, for the purpose of giving instruction in the usual branches of female education. Music, drawing, and dancing will be taught by approved masters. The terms will be as moderate as possible, and may be known on application to Mrs. Russell. Hobart Town, March 24.

[Advertisement], The Courier (1 September 1843), 1 

LADIES' SCHOOL. - Mrs. W. RUSSELL begs to acquaint those of her friends who may feel desirous of placing their children under her tuition, that she has REMOVED from Davey-strect to No. 16, Macquarie-street. August 25.

[Advertisement], The Courier (16 August 1844), 1 

EDUCATION. - Music Hall, Collins-street. Hobart Town.- Mrs. RUSSELL begs to inform her friends and the public, that she continues to receive young ladies from six to fourteen years of age as pupils, to whom she offers superior advantages, having made education, character, and disposition her particular study. Knowledge is presented in its simplest form, and every exertion is made to render its acquirement a source of pleasure. The subjects taught, in addition to the usual and most essential branches of female education, are - the Rudiments of the French Language, Dancing, and Music. The study and practue of the last mentioned accomplishment being under the daily superintendence of Mr. Russell. TERMS: Boarders . . . £10 per annum; Day do . . . 20 do; Day pupils . . . [pound] 12 12s do. N.B. A proportionate sum deducted from the above charges when the teaching of Music may not be required.

[Advertisement], The Courier (17 May 1845), 3 

IN the matter of the Insolvency of William Russell, of Hobart Town, in Van Diemen's Land, Professor of Music. - Notice is hereby given, that Edward Macdowell, Esquire, Commissioner of Insolvent Estates for Hobart Town, has appointed Thursday, the 29th day of May next, for the first general meeting of the creditors of the above-named insolvent, for the proof of debts, to be holden at the Court of Requests' Room, in the Court House, Hobart Town. And notice is hereby further given, that the said commissioner has also appointed the same time and place for the hearing of the matters of the above named insolvent's application for an order of discharge. - Dated this 14th day of May, 1845. WILLIAM RUSSELL, Insolvent in person.

[Advertisement], The Courier (19 December 1846), 3 

W. RUSSELL. Organist of New Town Church, IN removing from the Music Hall, Collins-street, to the Risdon Road, New Town, begs to state that he will continue to attend pianoforte pupils in Hobart Town as heretofore; also to tune pianofortes; but declines the providing of music for public or private quadrille parties. Mr. Russell, wishing to settle his tradesmen's accounts prior to leaving town, informs those gentlemen who are indebted to him for ball tickets, or for musical instruction, and repeatedly applied to on the subject, that their accounts must now be settled, or they will be summoned to the Court forthwith; but, on the other hand, should any unforeseen misfortunes have happened them subsequent to their receiving such ball tickets, or musical instruction for their families, he will feel much pleasure in giving them an entire acquittance, providing they will have the becoming pride to call and state the fact, as the late proprietor of the Music Hall will never annoy any person honestly contending with adverse circumstances. Dec. 19.

"A MUSICAL AND ARTISTICAL ENTERTAINMENT", The Courier (9 October 1852), 3 

A MUSICAL AND ARTISTICAL ENTERTAINMENT is announced for Wednesday evening nest, (not Monday evening as erroneously advertised), at the Hall of the School of Arts, under the scenical and vocal, dioramical, instrumental, and logical superintendence and management of Messrs. Russell and Prout Hill, which promises to afford considerable amusement to the laughter-loving people of this "fayre and promyseying cyttie," a petite entertainment entitled "Pro and Con," or the Gold Digger's Dream, and of which the uninitiated are as yet unable to understand the "why and the wherefore," is announced; the whole to be accompanied by a variety of instrumental music, and enriched by some Dioramic Views of Victoria, painted by the painter, from sketches taken upon the identical spots where the "pros and cons" have originated.

"THEATRE ROYAL", The Tasmanian Daily News (12 December 1857), 3 

"Opera di Camera", Tasmanian Morning Herald (16 January 1866), 2 

Opera di Camera. - Mr. Russell's Opera di Camera was produced last night at Del Sarte's Rooms, with great success, before a crowded and fashionable audience. The whole performance reflects great credit on Mr. Russell and his talented troupe of amateur artistes. Both the music and singing were excellent. The Zillah of the second and third parts - the prima donna of the night - sang with great sweetness and accuracy, and was loudly applauded and encored more than once. Her duet with Carlos in the third part, was very charmingly and effectively rendered, and produced a merited encore. Stephano and Carlos spoke and sang with vigor and taste. Tambo, the black cook, was enacted with extraordinary vivacity, and brought down the house in roars of laughter. The curtain fell at the concluding chorus - which was well performed by the Company, amid a perfect shower of bouquets intended, we believe, for Zillah, who was honored with a call before the curtain. We must not omit to mention with praise the admirable instrumentation of the Orchestra. We should be glad to see a second edition of the "Opera di Camera."

"INVALID ASYLUM", The Mercury (30 January 1866), 2 

INVALID ASYLUM. - Last evening the inmates were treated to an evening's amusement by Mr. Russell and the ladies and gentlemen who took part in the Chamber Opera, at Del Sarte's Rooms, the opera of Zillah being repeated with eminent success. There was a large number of visitors, who with the elderly inmates of the establishment, seemed greatly to enjoy the entertainment.

"OPERA DE CAMERA", Tasmanian Morning Herald (8 June 1866), 2 

The first of a series of six of these popular performances was given on Wednesday evening, at Del Sartes' Rooms, by Mr. Russell and a Company of Native Musical Amateurs. There was a very excellent "House," and "Maritana," the opera selected for the first night of the "Season," was performed with signal success, and to the evident satiifaction of a highly gratified audience. We refrain from any mention of names on this occasion, but we may say that Maritana, Don Caesar, and Lazarillo, deserves special mention for the excellence of their vocalistion. The beautiful aria, "Alas those Chimes" was very sweetly and effectively rendered. And the duet "Sainted Mother" was a very charming performance indeed. The Choruses were very well given by "the entire strength of the Company," and the orchestral accompaniment was in itself a very great musical treat. On the whole we may fairly congratulate Mr. Russell on the success of his amiable endeavour to develop the native vocal and histrionic talent of "the sweet south." The night's performance was an improvement in every respect on its predecessors, and constituted as agreeable and innocent an evening's recreation could well be devised by the most inventive entrepreneur. The price of admission places these pretty performances within the reach of everybody and they will soon, no doubt, become one of the most popular institutions of the capital. "Puss in Boots", "Zillah" a new opera, and "Maritana" again constitute the bill of the season, which will extend over the next six weeks.

"AMUSEMENTS", The Mercury (25 June 1866), 3 

. . . Mr. Russell, a well-known musician here, has been giving a number of drawing-room entertainments assisted by amateurs in the style of the Opera di Camera. Wallace's opera of "Maritana" has been presented, as also the operetta "Zillah," and both pieces were very successfully and creditably rendered . . .

"CITY COUNCIL", The Mercury (6 May 1873), 3 

. . . A letter was read from Mr. William Russell, suggesting that the organ recitals might be carried on during the winter if a little vocal and instrumental music were introduced, and wishing to know the terms upon which he could have the Town Hall for six nights for this purpose. The letter was referred to the Town Hall Committee. . .

"THE ORGAN RECITAL", The Mercury (8 April 1873), 2 

THE ORGAN RECITAL. - There was a falling off in the attendance at the organ recital at the Town Hall last night, probably because of the objections many entertain to attend public amusements at this season. Mr. William Russell was the organist, and he performed a selection of music from the works of Donizetti, Offenbach, Bellini, ,Paer, Boildean, Coote, Wyman, Latour, and Brugier. The pedal playing was throughout somewhat deficient, and the organist would do well to acquire a more intimate knowledge of the fine instrument at his disposal to do both it and himself justice,

"MARRIAGE", The Mercury (8 April 1874), 1 

RUSSELL - SMITH. - On the 22nd March, by special license, at "Clarmont," Upper Huon, the residence of the 'bride's father, by the Rev. R. Dear, John, second son of William Russell, professor of music, Hobart Town, to Tryphena Albina, second daughter of Mr. John Smith.

"OPERATIC PERFORMANCE", The Mercury (30 June 1877), 2 

OPERATIC PERFORMANCE. - Mr. Russell announces that the operetta "Zillah; or, the Gipsy Brigands of Astorga" will shortly be produced at the Theatre Royal. Some years ago it was performed at Del Sarte's Rooms (now the Oddfellows' Hall), and it was in this operetta that the Misses Sherwin and Mr. Pringle (or Mr. Templeton, the nom de theatre he has adopted) made their first public appearance. Mr. Pringle is a member of Lyster's English Opera Company, his musical career to the other colonies having been very successful.

"MISS RUSSELL'S MUSIC CLASSES", The Mercury (19 December 1878), 2 

MISS RUSSELL'S MUSIC CLASSES. - A private party was held on Tuesday evening at Webb's Concert Room, when several of the pupils of this lady had the power of giving specimens of their musical ability in the presence of Mrs. Weld and family, and of a large number of their friends. A number of pieces were played upon the pianoforte with remarkably good time and expression; and a young and promising pupil of Mr. W. Russell's sang Wallace's "Scenes that are brightest" in a very pleasing manner. Those present were evidently much ploased with the result of the careful tuition, and warmly congratulated Mr. and Miss Russell and their pupils on the excellence achieved.


"A SOUVENIR OF THE LATE MR. J. W. GRAVES", The Mercury (26 March 1883), 2 

"THE HOBART AMATEUR OPERA COMPANY", Launceston Examiner (31 July 1883), 2 

"Zillah," an operetta from the pen of Mr. Russell, of Hobart, was produced by the Hobart Amateur Opera Company last night at the Mechanics' Institute, and attracted a moderately large and highly appreciative audience. The plot of "Zillah," which is as clear as that of most operas, is as follows: - A band of gipsy brigands plunder the castle of a nobleman in Spain, and his infant daughter is seized and carried off by Cortez, the captain of the brigands, and is called by them Zillah. A period of some years is supposed to elapse between Acts I and II, and in the second act Zillah is found sleeping in a forest, in which is the gipsy's camp, by Count di Castro, who, while out hunting with his followers, loses his way and wanders towards the gipsy encampment. He becomes enamoured of Zillah, who warns him of his danger in being there, but he resolves to join the band, which he does, under the name of Carlos. In the third act the carriage of Donna Inez breaks down going through the forest, she comes to the camp for assistance, and finds in Carlos her brother, who tells her of his romantic attachment for Zillah. Stephano, who has succeeded Cortez as captain of the band, relates to the Count and Donna Inez the particulars of Zillah's birth and parentage, and the operetta, of course, ends happily, the Count prevailing upon Stephano and his band to give up their lawless life, and everybody is supposed to live happily ever after. The music of the operetta does not display any great originality, but it is melodious and pleasing. The title role was taken by Miss A. P. Oundy, an amateur of great promise, who possesses a very clear and sympathetic voice. "A Gipsy maid am I" was fairly well sung, but in "I wandered in forest glen," and "Gladly chant the summer birds" she was much more successful, obtaining encores for both, and for the latter, which is the prettiest solo in the operetta, a double encore. Miss Cundy also obtained an encore for Haydn's "My mother bids me bind my hair." In the duets, "In weal or woo" and "The Gipsy Countess," with the Count di Castra, she was again very successful, an encore being demanded in each case. Miss Cundy, who has certainly a future before her as an amateur, also played the part exceedingly well, and dressed in good taste. The part of the Count di Castro was taken by Mr. W. Humphries, who has a good stage presence, and a pleasing tenor voice. Mr. Charles Grahame took the part of Juan very fairly, but was suffering from a slight hoarseness. Miss J. Cundy, who is only 13 years old, took the part of Jacinta, and deserves great praise for her acting; she has a clear, strong, contralto voice, and obtained an encore in a duet with Donna Inez. The rest of the characters were well sustained by Mrs. Hill, as Lady Inez; Mr. S. Ellis, as Pedro and Perez; Mr. Doyle, as Roderick ; and Mr. C. Dawson, as Sambo, who, as the nigger servant to the camp, was very good. The mounting of the piece reflects great credit on Mr. Bishop-Osborne, the stage looking exceedingly tasty. The choruses were well sung, several of them being encored, and considering that the company only arrived from Hobart yesterday afternoon, and that they were rehearsing until six o'clock, they deserve great praise for .the nmasner in which the opening night went off: The orchestra, which was conducted by Mr. Russell, took its part without a hitch throughout the piece. "Zillah" will be repeated to night.

"THE REMENYI CONCERT. TO THE EDITOR", Tasmanian News (20 December 1884), 2 

[Advertisement], Tasmanian News (31 January 1885), 1 

MISS and MISS EMMA RUSSELL will resume their Music Lessons on Monday, 2nd Feb. Buckingham House, 21, Davey street.

"Miss Russell's School of Music", Tasmanian News (24 November 1885), 2 

"PROPOSED FEDERAL MUSICAL FESTIVAL", Launceston Examiner (19 December 1885), 3 

HOBART, Dec. 18. A meeting convened by the Mayor to discuss the advisableness of getting up a musical festival during the session here of the forthcoming Federal Council was held to-night, when ten persons were present . . . Mr. Trevor Russell said he had some months ago written to Herr Kowalski to bring over two vocalists with him, and to start some kind of festival here. Herr Kowalski had replied expressing his willingness to come over in or about January. Herr Schott said that extraneous aid would have to be employed. The Town Hall here was limited in its holding capacity, and the question arose - "Would it pay?" . . .

"THE LEVEE", The Mercury (22 June 1887), 3 

[News], The Tasmanian (6 August 1887), 18 

In consequence of Miss Sly's refusal to accept half the proceeds of Miss Amy Sherwin's late charity concert, it has been decided to hand over the sum in question (£14) to Mr. W. Russell, the well-known musician. To this gentleman, I understand, is largely due the credit of having rescued our "Nightingale" from her home in the Huon forests.

"THE ORGAN RECITALS. TO THE EDITOR", The Argus (2 December 1887), 11 

[Letter to the editor] "CLASSICAL MUSIC", The Mercury (5 November 1888), 4 

SIR,-There is an amusing little anecdote in last Saturday's Mail of a schoolmaster mistaking the playing of Mendelssohn's Rondo Capriccioso by our favourite and most talented performer for the thrumming of leg music by some perpetrator of outrages on musical ears. This anecdote is a small thing in itself, but it illustrates a big truth. We see it everywhere. It is painfully apparent at the Centennial Exhibition where people from all parts of Australia - especially, of course, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney - are seen at the concerta conducted by Mr. Cowen. Watch the inane expression of the faces; good beavens, it is awful! At the organ recitals and classical concerts in Melbourne and Sydney we see it, in fact, everywhere where classical music is, as a matter of course, a Babel of tongues, mostly foreign. Classical music can no more be understood and appreciated by the mobile vulgus of the musical world without education in music than the strange literary music of Carlyle can becomprehended by the oi polloi of the literary and thinking world without thought and culture. All this shows the necessity of the education, the drawing forth and strengthening of the beautiful and grand within us. Yours, etc., TREVOR RUSSELL. Hobart October 29.

"DEATH OF AN OLD MUSICIAN", The Mercury (4 October 1892), 2 

DEATH OF AN OLD MUSICIAN. - Last evening William Russell, who for many years had been a resident in Tasmania, passed peacefully away. He carne out to the colony first in the Medway, of which vessel Captain Bothwick White was commander, and some yours after went home again in the Duckingfield, Captain Riddle, and returned again to the colony in the Derwent, of which vessel Captain Riddle was also commander. Old residents in the colony will know how long since it was these vessels ploughed the waters. The deceased, as a professor of music, was of some renown here. He was organist of the Cathedral for some time, and then for over 40 years was organist of St. John's Church, New Town, and on the disestablishment of the Anglican Church, was State pensioned by the Government. He was well known as a composer, and of his musical successes his opera of Zillah was, perhaps, the best known locally. He never took any active part in politics, but like many other residents in Tasmania, was a quiet and earnest observer of public events, and gave his influence for what it was worth, always in the cause of advancement and good rule. He was also a valued contributor to the English Press. Blessed with a splendid constitution, and never having a day's illness, he passed quietly away last night ih his 94th year, placidly fading away from corporeal being.

Deaths in the district of Richmond, 1892, fourth quarter$002f$002fNAME_INDEXES$002f0$002fNAME_INDEXES:1240810/one 

[No] 196 / Octr. 3. 1892 / William Russell / M / [age] 94 / musician / senile decay / [registered] Octr. 7. 1892 / [registered] 619

"DEATHS", The Mercury (5 October 1892), 1

RUSSELL. - On October 3, William Russell, in his 94th year. The funeral will move from his son's residence, 150, Macquarie street, on Thursday, at 11.30 a.m.

"OBITUARY", Tasmanian News (5 October 1892), 2 

. . . The deceased gentleman leaves a grown up family, of which Mr. Trevor Russell, of Macquarie-street, is one.

"BURIAL", The Mercury (7 October 1892), 2

Yesterday the mortal remains of William Russell, a "long-lived old English oak," of historic family, were laid to rest in Cornelian Bay Cemetery, and the death has removed another of the landmarks of the early colonising days of Tasmania.

[News], Zeehan and Dundas Herald (11 October 1892), 2 

A very old resident of Hobart and Tasmania died last week at the ripe age of 93 years. Mr. William Russell was a professor of mnsic of some note in Southern musical circles, for over 40 years was organist at St. John's Church, New Town, but was best known as the composer of the successful opera "Zillah". Mr. Russell had never had a day's illness.

"MADAME AMY SHERWIN. AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. ("M.A.P."), Launceston Examiner (31 March 1899), 7 

It was not until after my tenth year that I had any lessons, except in the way of home teaching. Then a great treat came into my life in the person of Mr. Russell, a dear old music teacher, who took a great interest in my doings. I was the youngest of the girls, and he quite turned my little head when he told me I would outshine the others. In order to take these lessons I had to get up at four in the morning and ride or drive along a difficult bush track for eight miles. Once, when I fancied 1 had overslept myself, my sister found me in tears, but, on being reassured that there was yet. time to secure the coveted lesson, my delight was un bounded.

"MARRIAGES", The Mercury (31 March 1900), 5 

RUSSELL - LUCAS. - On Wednesday, March 24, 1875, at Fingal, by the Rev. J. Rickards, Geo. Byworth, third son of the late W. Russell, Professor of Music, to Ermina S. S., third daughter of the late T. J. Lucas. Both of Hobart.

"Deaths", The Mercury (26 July 1900), 1 

RUSSELL.- On July 24, at "Sumner," Mount Stuart-road, Sarah Ann, widow of the late William Russell, Professor of Music.

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (19 January 1923), 8 

RUSSELL. - January 17, 1923, at Artarmon, Henry Percival Trevor Russell, late of Balmain, son of the late William Russell, Professor of Music, London, beloved brother of Rachel, Emma, and Fanny Russell, aged 60 years.

"TASMANIAN SINGER. Madame Amy Sherwin. Straightened Circumstances", The Mercury (18 May 1934), 9 

"TASMANIAN SINGER. Madame Amy Sherwin. Death in London", The Mercury (23 September 1935), 7 

Madame Amy Sherwin, aged 80 years, the former world-famous singer, who was known as "The Tasmanian Nightingale," died in London on Saturday. She was born at Forest Home, Huonville, now the property of Mr. W. H. Calvert, M.L.C. She made her first appearance on a stage in Hobart in what was then Delsarte's Rooms, afterwards the Tasmanian Hall, and now the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, at the corner of Davey and Harrington Streets. The work in which she appeared was a small operetta, "Zillah," and her promise then as a girl in her 'teens heralded a career that was to embrace the world. The operetta was conducted and produced by W. Russell . . .

Bibliography and resources

Jones 2007

Jones 2009

Skinner 2011

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