THIS PAGE LAST MODIFIED Wednesday 13 October 2021 17:30

William Vincent Wallace and family

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "William Vincent Wallace and family", Australharmony (an online resource toward the early history of music in colonial Australia):; accessed 18 October 2021

Introductory note:

The texts given in gold aim for the most part to be diplomatic transcriptions, wherever practical retaining unaltered the original orthography, and spellings and mis-spellings, of the printed or manuscript sources. Occasionally, however, some spellings are silently corrected (for instance, of unusual music titles and composers, to assist identification), and some orthography, punctuation and paragraphing, and very occasionally also syntax, editorially altered or standardised in the interests of consistency, clarity, and readability.


Biographical summaries:

* Spencer Wallace senior (also his second family)

* William Vincent Wallace (and his families)

* Spencer Wellington Wallace and his wife Caroline Wallace

* Eliza Wallace (Mrs. John Bushelle) and the Bushelle family


* Documentation (family data only - non musical)

* Documentation (musical, Dublin, Hobart, Sydney, to 1838)

* Documentation (Wallace family in Australia, 1838-52)

* Documentation (Bushelle family, from 1839)

See also extended family:

* Ellard family

* Leggatt family

* Logan family

* Chester family

* Kelly family (family of Isabella Kelly Wallace)

Bibliography and resources:

* Later recollections (of the Wallaces in Australia 1835-38)

* Biographies and recollections (19th century)

* Bibliography (20th and 21st centuries)

My thanks (2018) to family historians, Steve Ford (Sydney), and George Ryan (Dublin), for kindly sharing results of their extensive genealogical researches into the extended family.

WALLACE, Spencer (senior) (William, Spencer William WALLACE)

Professor of music, violinist, former bandmaster ("28th" recte 29th Regiment)

Born Kilalla parish, Co. Mayo, Ireland, 22 February 1789; son of Jacob WALLACE and Margaret LYONS
Married (1) Elizabeth McKENNA (KENNA), St. Mary's cathedral (CoI), Limerick, 15 August 1810
Married (2) Matilda SARGESON, Dublin, Ireland, 24 July 1835
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 7 February 1836 (per James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Died Parramatta Asylum, NSW, 25 April 1846, aged 57 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

McKENNA, Elizabeth (Mrs. Spencer WALLACE [1] )

Born Ireland, ? ; sister of Anne McKENNA = Mrs. Andrew ELLARD
Married Spencer WALLACE, St. Mary's cathedral (CoI), Limerick, 15 August 1810

Documented children of Elizabeth and Spencer:

WALLACE, William Vincent (1812-1865)

WALLACE, Spencer Wellington (1814-1852)

WALLACE, Susanna (born Killala, Co. Mayo, 10 January 1818; baptised parish of Kilmoremoy, 13 January 1818; no further record)

WALLACE, Eliza (1820-1878)


Born Dublin, c.1809; baptised St. Andrew (RC), Dublin, 1809 ["Matildam SERGESON [daughter of] Joannis [and] Anna]
Married Spencer William WALLACE, Dublin, Ireland, 24 July 1835
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 7 February 1836 (per James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Died Parramatta Asylum, NSW, 4 January 1869, aged 55

Documented children of Matilda and Spencer:

WALLACE, Arthur Frederick (1836-1911)

Wallace Arthur F 540/1836 V1836540 21; Wallace Frederick A BDM NSW 7388/1911

WALLACE, Emeline Matilda (b. 28 May 1838; d. 26 December 1924)

Wallace Emeline M NSW BDM 640/1838 V1838640 22; Wallace Matilda BDM NSW 2152/1925 "81 years, RPA Hospital"; in his will (proved 1891), John Butler Bushelle bequeathed £100 to Matilda Wallace ("of Sydney, my late mother's half-sister")

WALLACE, Alfred (1840-1850)

Wallace Alfred NSW BDM 321/1840 V1840321 24A; Wallace Alfred NSW BDM 50/1850 V185050 36A "Aged 10"


According to an online family history of the composer Wallace (posted Ireland 2010), a Spencer Wallace was born in Kilalla parish, Co. Mayo, on 22 February 1789 to Jacob Wallace and Margaret Lyons (married Killala, 11 July 1770). This date fits exactly with his reported age on death.

Spencer senior married his second wife Matilda in Dublin on 25 July 1835; therefore, unless Matilda had conceived a child by Spencer before July, the 2 children who reportedly arrived with them in Sydney - one male and one female - cannnot have been a result of their union.

Spencer senior, Eliza, and Wellington appear to have moved together to Parramatta by May 1837, and the latter two moved back to Sydney during 1838. Spencer either stayed on, or returned to Parramatta, where he was later remembered as a shopkeeper; Alfred Cox was one of his pupils.

His second wife Matilda's likely baptism record here: 

References: Meurant 1930; online family history, posted Ireland, 2010; Lamb 2012, 1-2

WALLACE, William Vincent (William WALLACE; William Vincent WALLACE; Mr. W. WALLACE; Mr. W. Vincent WALLACE; Mr. Vincent WALLACE)

Violinist, pianist, professor of music, composer

Born Waterford, Ireland, 11 March 1812; baptised Christ Church, Waterford, 15 March 1812; son of Spencer WALLACE and Elizabeth McKENNA [19th-century sources usually give "1815"]
Married (1) Isabella KELLY, St. Paul's Church (RC), Arran Quay, Dublin, 14 February 1832
Arrived Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 31 October 1835 (passenger per Rachael, from Liverpool, England, 9 July)
Departed Sydney, NSW, February 1838
Married (2) Helen STOEPEL (? common law), c. 1850
Died Château de Bagen, Sauveterre de Comminges, Haut Garonne, France, 12 October 1865, "in his 50th year" [sic] (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier) (WorldCat identities)

NOTE: Wallace appears to have begun using the name Vincent professionally in North (and possibly previously also South) America in the early 1840s. He is not documented as having used the name in Australia, despite the likelihood, as elsewhere reasonably assumed or claimed, that he had taken the name on his second baptism, as a Catholic, prior to his wedding to Isabella Kelly in 1832.

WALLACE, Isabella (Isabella KELLY; Mrs. William Vincent WALLACE)

Born Ireland, c.1815/16 (1814/15; 1813, Daingean, County Offaly)
Married William Vincent WALLACE, St. Paul's Church (RC), Arran Quay, Dublin, 14 February 1832
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 7 February 1836 (as "Isabella KELLY", female emigrant on the James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Departed Sydney, NSW, 21 July 1845 (passenger per Penyard Park, for London)
Died North Dublin, Ireland, 25 July 1900, aged "87"

See main entry below Isabella WALLACE and also on her Kelly sisters

Child of William and Isabella:

WALLACE, William Vincent (junior)

Born Dublin, Ireland, August 1833; son of William Vincent WALLACE and Isabella KELLY
? Arrived Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 31 October 1835 (per Rachael, from Liverpool, England, 9 July)
Departed Sydney, NSW, 21 July 1845 (passenger per Penyard Park, for London)
Died London, England, 31 December 1909, aged 76

See main entry below William Vincent WALLACE (junior)

STOEPEL, Hélène ( Hélène STOEPEL; Madame Vincent WALLACE; Madame WALLACE)

? Married William Vincent WALLACE (common-law), c. 1850
Died NY, 1885, aged "58"

Children of William Vincent Wallace and Hélène Stoepel:

WALLACE, Clarence Sutherland (Clarence Sutherland WALLACE)

Born Connecticut, USA, 2 September 1851
Died Aiken, South Carolina, 28 September 1903

WALLACE, Vincent St. John (Vincent St. John WALLACE)

Died (suicide) San Francisco, CA, USA, 4 December 1897 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

WALLACE, Spencer Wellington (Spencer Wellington WALLACE; S. W. WALLACE)

Professor of music, orchestra leader, violinist, flautist, arranger, composer

Born Tuam, Co. Galway, Ireland, 26 October 1814; baptised, parish of Tuam, 30 October 1814; son of Spencer WALLACE and Elizabeth McKENNA
Arrived Sydney, NSW, by 1 March 1836 (? 7 February 1836 (per James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Married Caroline GREENE, St. James's, Sydney, NSW, 4 November 1841
Died Geelong, VIC, 15 August 1852 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

NOTE: Not surprisingly, several later accounts confuse S. W. Wallace with his more famous brother; there is also some confusion with his father, Spencer senior; after his brother left Sydney, Wellington is referred to occasionally both as "Mr. S." and "Mr. W"; by the early 1840s he appears to have set upon "S. W." as his preferred styling, though again at Geelong in 1842, he is usually "Mr. S."; he was once referred to in a press report as "Spencer Washington Wallace"

WALLACE, Caroline (GREEN; Mrs. S. W. WALLACE; Mrs. W. WALLACE; Mrs. WALLACE; later Mrs. BATTERS)

Soprano vocalist, actor

Married Spencer Wellington WALLACE, St. James's Church, Sydney, NSW, 4 November 1841

See main entry below Caroline WALLACE

Children (2 reported) of Spencer Wellington Wallace and Caroline Green:

WALLACE, Elizabeth Blanche (b. 15 June 1843; baptised Christ Church St. Lawrence, Sydney, 1846

Wallace Elizabeth B NSW, NSW BDM 443/1843 V1843443 31A

? [2] unknown

SECOND & THIRD GENERATIONS - Eliza Wallace and family


Soprano vocalist, professor of music

Born Ireland, 4 February 1820; baptised Kilmoremoy parish, County Mayo, 8 February 1820; daughter of Spencer WALLACE and Elizabeth McKENNA
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 7 February 1836 (female emigrant on the James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Married John BUSHELL [sic], Sydney, NSW, May 1839
Away from Australia in Europe and the USA, 1847-63
Died Sydney, 16 August 1878, aged 56 years [sic] (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See main entry Eliza Wallace BUSHELLE (Mrs. John BUSHELLE)

NOTE (July 2018): Several Irish databases (see also Lamb 2012, 3), record Elizabeth Wallace's birthday as 7 February; family historian George Ryan (Dublin) kindly informs me that he has recently checked a facsimile of Elizabeth Wallace's original baptism record, and the date clearly reads "Feb7 4th" (i.e. 7 = y)


Born Limerick, Ireland, by c. 1805/6; son of Benjamin BUSHELL and Margaret BUTLER
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 15 July 1828 (convict per Phoenix, from England, 4 March)
Married Eliza WALLACE, St. Mary's cathedral, Sydney, NSW, 2 May 1839
Died Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 19 July 1843 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See main entry John BUSHELLE

BUSHELLE, John Butler (John Butler BUSHELLE; John BUSHELLE)

Musician, baritone singer, teacher of singing, rifle sportsman

Born Sydney, NSW, 6 March 1840; son of John BUSHELLE and Elizabeth WALLACE
Died Sydney, NSW, 14 September 1891, aged 51 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See main entry John Butler BUSHELLE

BUSHELLE, Thomas T. Butler (Thomas T. Butler BUSHELLE)

Born Sydney, NSW, 6 March 1840; son of John BUSHELLE and Elizabeth WALLACE
Died Sydney, NSW, 6 December 1840

BUSHELLE, Tobias Vincent (Tobias Vincent BUSHELLE)

Born Sydney, NSW, [? December] 1840; son of John BUSHELLE and Elizabeth WALLACE
Died Dunedin, NZ, 24 August 1889, aged 48 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See main entry Tobias Vincent BUSHELLE

BUSHELLE, William Butler (William Butler BUSHELLE)

Born Sydney, NSW, 5 November 1843; son of John BUSHELLE and Elizabeth WALLACE

Documentation (non musical family data only, 1770 to 1911)


11 July 1770, Killala, marriage of Spencer Wallace's parents

Register of marriages, Killala Church (CoI), Co. Mayo, Ireland; Lamb 2012, 2

Jacob Wallace and Margaret Lyons . . . 11 July 1770


22 February 1789, Ballina, baptism of Spencer Wallace

Register of births/baptisms, Ballina (CoI), Co. Mayo, Ireland; Lamb 2012, 2

Spencer Wallace . . . son of Jacob Wallace and Margaret Lyons . . . born 22 February 1789


15 August 1810, St. Mary's Cathedral (CoI), Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, marriage of Spencer Wallace and Elizabeth McKenna

Register of marriages, St. Mary's Cathedral (CoI), Limerick, Ireland

"Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898," database, FamilySearch (12 December 2014); FHL microfilm 897,365; see Lamb 2012, 2 

Spencer Wallace and Elizabeth McKenna . . . 15 August 1810


11 March 1812, birth of William Wallace, Waterford, Ireland

Register of Baptisms for the Parish of Waterford – Christ Church, 15 March 1812; Dublin, CofI RCB Library P641.2.2; see also Grattan Flood 1912

William Son of William & Eliz[abe]th Wallace
was Born March 11, 1812 and Christened March 15, 1812
Registered March 15, 1812, by me Rich[ar]d J. Hobson, Curate


26 October 1814, birth of Spencer Wellington Wallace, Tuam, County Galway, Ireland,

Combined Register for the Parish of Tuam, 6 November 1814; Dublin, CofI RCB Library P216.1.1; see also Lamb 2012, 3

Wallace / Spencer Wellington Son of Spencer and Eliza of the Nor[t]h Militia
was Born the 26th of Oct. and Christened the 30th by the Revd. Tho. [ ? ]
Registered the 6th Nov by me Thom. [ ? ] see also Lamb 2012, 3


10 January 1818, birth of Susanna Wallace, Kilmoremoy, County Mayo, Ireland

Combined Register for the Parish of Kilmoremoy, 13 January 1818; Dublin, CofI RCB Library P188.1.2

Susanna Wallace daug[hte]r of Spencer and Eliza Wallace
was Born January 10th and Christened Jan[uar]y 13th 1818
Registered 13th Jan[uar]y by [ ? ] Curate


4 February 1820, birth of Elizabeth [Eliza] Wallace, Kilmoremoy, County Mayo, Ireland

Combined Register for the Parish of Kilmoremoy, 8 February 1820; Dublin, CofI RCB Library P188.1.2

Elizabeth daughter of Spencer & Elizabeth Wallace
was Born Feb[ruar]y 4th and Christened 8th Febr. 1820
Registered do. by me Wm. A. Smith


4 July 1823 to 14 April 1826, Spencer Wallace senior's period of service in the 29th Regiment

Register of foot soldiers, 29th Regiment, 1826-31; UK National Archives, WO 25/364, fol. 52 (PAYWALL)

Spencer Wallace / [height at enlistment] 5 7 / [age at enlistement] 24 [sic, recte 34] / . . . / [born] Mayo / Kilmoremoy / Musician / [attested] Limerick / 4 July 1823 / [for] Unlimited [service] / enlisted by] Col. Sir J. Buchan / [promotion to serjeant] 27th August 1823 [discharged] 14 April 1826 / Waterford / Having Paid &20 / Character in discharge "Indifferent"

8 March 1825 to 17 April 1826, William and Spencer Wellington's period of service in the 29th Regiment

Register of foot soldiers, 29th Regiment, 1826-31; UK National Archives, WO 25/364, fol. 57 (PAYWALL)

William Wallace / [height at enlistment] 4 10 / [age] 14 / [born town] Waterford [parish] Waterford / Musician / [enlisted] Kinsale / 8th March 1825 / [for] unlimited [service] / [by] Col. Sir Jno. Buchan / [discharged] 17th April 1826 / Waterford / Having repaid the expenses attesting his Enlistment / Character in discharge "Very good"

Wellington Wallace / [height] 4 5 / [age] 12 / [bron] Galway Tuam / Musician / [all other details same as for William above] . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: 29th Regiment of Foot (colonel, John Buchan)

NOTE: Buchan evidently enlisted Wallace senior specifically to be master of the band, and accordingly promoted him to the rank of sergeant almost immediately


14 February 1832, Dublin, marriage of William Vincent Wallace and Isabella Kelly; St. Paul's Church (RC), Arran Quay, Dublin

Documentation unseen; see also Lamb 2012, 9


13 December 1833, baptism of Joseph William Vincent Wallace (son of William Wallace and Isabella Kelly)

Register of baptisms, St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Westland Row, Dublin City

December 1833 / 13 / Joseph W. V. Wallace / [son of] Wilm & Isabella / SS [sponsors] David Kelly & Elizabeth Wallace


24 July 1835, 24 July, Dublin, marriage of Spencer William Wallace (senior) and Matilda Segerson

"Schultze" resgiter of marriages, German Lutheran Church, Poolbeg Street, Dublin (J. F. G. Schultze, pastor); General Register Office, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon

Documentation gives bride's surname as "Sargeson" or "Sergerson"; kindly reported by family historian George Ryan, Dublin, 2018


See here for complete documentation of the Wallaces's Australian activities from 31 October 1835 to 12 February 1838

31 October 1835, Hobart Town, arrival (from Liverpool) of William Vincent Wallace, but without reported wife (? and child), as see 9 February 1836 below; and his sister-in-law ? Julia Kelly

List of passengers, per Rachel, 31 October 1835; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:1594477; CSO92/1/1 p66$init=CSO92-1-1P69JPG (DIGITISED)

Arrived at the Port of Hobart Town, the Ship Rachael, 31st October 1835 . . .
[For] New South Wales / Cabin passengers / Mr. W. Wallace / Mrs. Wallace & Child / . . . Miss Kelly . . .

"SHIP NEWS", The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch (6 November 1835), 8 

Oct. 31. - Arrived the ship Rachael, 383 tons, Captain R. S. Potter, from Liverpool 9th July, with a general cargo. Passengers - Mr. and Mrs. Dodd and child, Mr. Archer, Miss Blair, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace and child . . . Miss Kelly . . .

1 December 1835, Sydney, arrival (from Hobart Town) of Julia Kelly

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (1 December 1835), 2 

From Liverpool via Hobart Town, yesterday, having left the former port the 15th July, and the latter 21st.ultimo, the ship Rachael, Captain Robert J. Potter, with merchandize. Passengers, Miss Julia Kelly . . .


12 January 1836, Sydney, arrival (from Hobart Town) of William Vincent Wallace

"TRADE AND SHIPPING", The Hobart Town Courier (8 January 1836), 3 

The Layton, Capt. Wade, proceeded on her voyage to Sydney in ballast on Saturday [2 January] - passenger Mr. Wallace.

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVALS", The Sydney Herald (14 January 1836), 2 

From Hobart Town, same day [12 January], having sailed from thence the 3rd of this month, the ship Layton, Captain Wade, with sundries. Passengers, Lieutenant Wilkinson, 13th Regiment, Mr. William Wallace . . .

7 February 1836, Sydney, NSW, arrival (from Cork) of Isabella Wallace and Eliza Wallace, Charlotte Kelly, Spencer Wallace, and Matilda Wallace, and ? Spencer Wellington Wallace; and the marriage of Charlotte Kelly to James Cromarty, captain of the James Pattison

Return of free persons who have arrived in New South Wales from 8 January to 7th February 1836 inclusive, assisted by Bounties made by the Government on account of their passage; State Library of New South Wales, microfilm reel CY652

. . . [No.] 28 / Spencer Wallace / [James Pattison] / [aged] 41 / Musician / [Wife aged] 28 / [child male] 1 / [child female] 1 / [amount of bounty advanced £ ] 20 . . .

Assignments of female emigrants on James Pattison, February 1836; State Library of New South Wales, microfilm reel CY652

Charlotte Kelly / 25 years / Governess / [By whom engaged] Mrs. Wallace (her sister)
Mrs. Spencer Wallace / 24 years / [By whom engaged] Mr. Spencer Wallace (her husband)
Eliza Wallace / 16 years / Actress / [By whom engaged] Mr. Spencer Wallace (her father)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", Commercial Journal and Advertiser (8 February 1836), 2 

ARRIVALS . . . James Pattison, [from] Cork, 31st October, 324 female emigrants . . .

Letter, sender (illegible, Courthouse) to Alexander Macleay, 9 February 1836, Colonial Secretary's papers; State Archives NSW

Feby 9th 1836 / Courthouse
My Dear Sir, The wife of Mr. Wallace has arrived by the female emigrant ship to his surprise and satisfaction for he neither expected her so soon of that she would come in that way. She has come as Isabella Kelly (her own name) and Mr. Wallace is afraid it may not look well in the eyes of the public if she remained to be landed with the other females, and has therefore asked me to request of you to give and order to allows her to come on shore to day. His sister Miss Eliza Wallace is also with his wife & if you can include her in the order also he'd feel obliged. They were both supposed to come with Mr. Wallace when he left Ireland, but Mrs. Wallace fell unwell, which prevented her from coming with himself, though he is fearful her coming in this ship as Miss Kelly may be injurious to him. I applaud her economy & prudence [ . . ? . . ]
In haste / Yours very faithfully [ . . ? . . ]

"MARRIED", The Colonist (3 March 1836), 7 

MARRIED. At Sydney, on Thursday, the 25th ult., by the Rev. Dr. Lang, James Cromarty, Esq.; Commander of the ship James Pattison, to Miss Charlotte Kelly.


12 February 1838, Sydney, departure (for NZ and Valparaiso) of William (Vincent) Wallace

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Herald (15 February 1838), 2 

DEPARTURES . . . For Valparaiso, via New Zealand, on Monday last [12 February], the ship Neptune Captain Nagle, with sundries. Passengers, Mr. Wallace, Captain Salmon, Mr. P. McKew, Mrs. McKew, and four children.

[News], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (17 February 1838), 2 

Mr. W. Wallace, the Australian Paganini, left the Colony in a clandestine manner on Wednesday last, and has sailed for Valparaiso, after having contracted debts in Sydney amounting to nearly £2,000. In one or two instances which we could mention his conduct has been heartless in the extreme. We shall forward this paper to that part of the world, with the hope that this paragraph may catch the eye of some of the residents there, and thus be the means of preventing this man again imposing on the public.

See separately here, for Bushelle family documentation (from 1838 onward)


9 November 1841, Sydney, marriage of Spencer Wellington Wallace and Caroline Green

BDM NSW, Marriages, 1841, vol. 25 no. 195

4 November 1841, Sydney NSW / Spencer Wellington Wallace, bachelor of St James's [parish] / Caroline Green spinster of Pitt Town / [married in] St. James's Sydney / [witnesses] [? illegible] of Pitt Town / Elizabeth Bushelle of Phillip street

"MARRIED", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (9 November 1841), 3 

On Thursday last, 4th instant, at St. James's Church, by the Rev. Mr. Allwood, Mr. S. W. Wallace, Professor of Music, Sydney, to Miss Caroline Green, late of Pitt Town.


15 June 1843, Sydney, birth of Elizabeth Blanche Wallace (daughter of Spencer Wellington Wallace and Caroline Green)

BDM NSW; Australia, births and baptisms, 1792-1981; baptism, Christ Chruch, St. Lawrence, Sydney, 3 May 1846


1 May 1844, Sydney, certification of Mathilda Wallace

State Archives of NSW, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1844/3517

[Letter 1] [CSO annotation] 44 /3517

I humbly certify that I have examined the case of Matilda Wallace - the wife of Mr. Spencer Wallace - and beg to report her as being insane. Her immediate removel to the Lunatic Asylum is necessary [verso] & I hereby [illeg.] her recovery would in all probability be greatly improved / Robert Jones surgeon

[Annotation on verso]: May 1 1844 / I approve of this as a fit case for removal to the Asylum / James Dowling, Sydney, 1 May 1844

[Letter 2] [CSO annotation] 44 /3517

Sydney, May 1, 1844 / The undermentioned hereby certifies that he has carefully examined the case of the wife of the bearer Mr. Spencer Wallace - & that he is of the opinion that the unfortunate woman is seriously insane needing unremitting care & attention - & is a fit [illeg.] for the Lunatic Asylum of Tarban - Further he begs [verso] to [? confirm] that the bearer is himself infirm - & possesses to the best of his [illeg.] only a pound a week for the support of himself & five young children - the eldest of whom is only six years - & the youngest only four months old. / William Bland Surgeon

[Annotation on verso] I approve of this application. / James Dowling 1 May 1844

[Letter 3] [CSO annotation on top recto] 44 /3517 2 - May - 1844 - Spencer Wallace / Respecting Admission of Matilda Wallace into Lunatic Asylum

May 2nd. 1844 / Sir, I beg respectfully to state my total inability to pay any sum for the care of my wife in the Asymlum. I am now trying to support five children and myself on fifteen shillings per week which I receive from the Victoria Theatre. I have been left in this melancholy position thoruhg suffering from Parallisis [sic] for the last ten months, in consquence of which I was left unable to exert myself in my profession as teacher of music. / I have the honour to be / Sir your most humble & obedient / Servant S. Wallace

[CSO annotations on verso] This application is in comformity to the 11th Section of the Act 7 Victoria / 2d may // Authorised / C.S. May 3d // Order No 44/10 - 3 May 1844

3 May 1844, Tarban Creek Asylum, admission of Mathilda Wallace

State Archives of NSW, Tarban Creek admission register 1822-48, page 171

Mrs. Matilda Wallace admitted 3rd May 1844 / Age - 32 Years / Residence - Sydney / Native Place - Ireland / Religion - Catholic / Married / [came] Free [ship] not stated / [crime on sentence] none / [Halluncinations] Supposes there is a conspiracy against her to kill kill [sic] her / [medical cerificates signed] Dr. Bland, Robt. Jones surgeon

19 September 1844, letter from Spencer Wallace to the Colonial Secretary, respecting his son Arthur Wallace

State Archives of New South Wales, Colonial Secretary Papers, 44/7228

[CSO annotation] 44/7228 - 19th September - 1844 / Spencer Wallace

To the Honorable the Colonial Secretary / Requesting admission of his son into the Male Orphan School. / Sir, Having thro' the kindness of the Lady Patronesses of the School of Industry been enabled to send my two little girls there, I now beg the favor of your representing to his Excellency the Governor the necessity of sending my little boy to the Orphan School at Liverpool or Parramatta. As for the unfortunate situation of their mother who is now in the Lunatic Asylum at Tarban Creek and my constant ill health we can never be able to provide for them. / I am Sir with great respect your most humble and obedient servant / Spencer Wallace, September 19th 44.

[CSO annotation] I regret I cannot accede to this application. Sufficient has already I think been done for this family in the way of eleemosynary assistance. / [initialled] Sep. 21

[CSO annotation] This Mr. Wallace is fhr father of Mrs. Bushelle and of Mr. Wallace - well known as a Musical Performer ikn Sydney / [added] Wm. Wallace / [initialled] 23d Septr. 1844


21 July 1845, Sydney, departure (for London) of Isabella Wallace and William Wallace junior

"MUSIC AND MUSICIANS", The Australian (21 June 1845), 3 

We have had much pleasure in hearing that Mr. William Wallace, who some time ago delighted this Colony with his eminent skill on the violin and piano-forte, after having made the tour of Europe and America, is domiciled in London, enjoying the results of his professional labors. Mrs. W. Wallace, who remained in this Colony with her infant son, will proceed forthwith to join her liege lord.

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Australian (22 July 1845), 2 

CLEARANCES. July 21. - The barque PENYARD PARK, Weller, master, for London, with colonial produce. Passengers, Mr. and Mrs. McGregor, three children and servant, Mrs. Wallace and son . . .


25 April 1846, Parramatta, NSW, death of Spencer Wallace senior

BDM NSW, Deaths, 1846, vol. 31 B, no. 115

Spencer Wallace / Musician / Male 57 Years / [registered] Parish of St. Lawrence / [buried] 27 April 1846

Died Parramatta Asymlum, 25 April 1846


3 February 1847, letter from Rev. T. W. Bodenham, to the Colonial Secretary, respecting Alfred Wallace

State Archives of New South Wales, Colonial Secretary Papers, 47/1079

[CSO annotations]: 47/1079 / 3d Feb. 1847 / Rev. T. W. Bodenham / Applying for admission of Alfred Wallace into Orphan School

[At foot of page] The Honorable the Colonial Secretary / [at top] Elizabeth St. Sydney / 3rd February 1847 / Sir, I beg to make application to the Government for the admission into the male orphan school near Liverpool of a child named Alfred Wallace, who is between 6 and 7 years of age and whose father died in April 1846. His mother being a lunatic in the asylum at Tarban Creek, in which she has been confined for the past three years. two of this child's sisters are at the School of Industry and a third child is supported by a person connected with the family leaving the object of my present application totally unprovided for. Since the death of his father he has been sustained by his half brother Wellington Wallace, a musician; this person however is compelled from want of support to quite the Colony. He finds it impossible to earn more than thirty shillings a week, upon which he is compelled to maintain himself, his wife and two children of his own, and is consquently quite unable to support the orphan named above. [verso] It will be obvious from the foregoing statement, that the child is wholly destitute, and I trust therefore that it may be withing His Excellency's poer to grant the admission requested for. / I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most Obedt. Servant / T. W. Bodenham / Assistant Minister, St. James's Church

[CSO annotations on recto] Approved 4 Feb / The further particulars necessary respecting this child may no doubt be obtained in refeerence to the applications of which his sisters are admitted into the female orphan school. 4. // Master of Male Orphan School Rev. T. W. Bodenham / 5th February 1847 // The [female] children are in the School of Industry, not the Orphan School / 5

[CSO annotations on verso] Please obtain the actual particulars from Rev. Bodenham. / 5th Feb. // Rev. T. W. Bodenham (to furnish particulars to Mr. Sadlier) / 6th February 1847

27 March 1847, Sydney, departure (for London) of Spencer Wellington Wallace, Eliza Wallace Bushelle, and child

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Australian (30 March 1847), 2 

SAILED. March 27. - The ship Walmer Castle, 800 tons, Thorne, master, for London. Passengers - Cabin, Sir Thomas Mitchell, Mr. Tooth, Mr. J. Mackintosh, Mr. S. Spyer . . .; Intermediate - Mr. Wallace, Mrs. Bushelle and child, Mrs. Davis, and Miss Bayley; Steerage - Mr. McLean . . .


3 April 1849, Adelaide, SA, arrival (from London) of Spencer Wellington Wallace

"SHIPPING", South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal (5 April 1849), 3 

ARRIVED . . . April 3d . . . The barque Britannia, 379 tons, Robson, master, from London. Passengers - Messrs Gardner, Allen, Gyde. Ongton, Cramer, Williams, Fish, Wallace, Collyer, Elward [sic] . . .

Links: "Elward" is his second cousin, Frederick Ellard


11 November 1850, Parramatta, NSW, death of Alfred Wallace

1850, vol. 36a. No. 50; BDM NSW

11 November 1850 / Orphan School Parramatta, Alfred Wallace, Male 10 years / Sacrlet fever / [parents] Spencer Wallace / Matilda Kelly / [buried ] 12 November 1850 / All Saints Cemetery Parramatta / [born] Sydney


15 August 1852, Geelong, VIC, death of Spencer Wellington Wallace

"DIED", Geelong Advertiser (17 August 1852), 7

On Sunday, August 15th, Mr. S. W. Wallace, late of the Theatre. The death of this celebrated musician will he a considerable loss to the musical circles of these colonies. Mr. Wallace was brother to the composer of the popular opera of Maritana.

Burials in the Parish of Christ Church, Geelong . . . in the year 1852; regsiter, page 37

No. 529 / Samuel William Wallace [sic] / [Died] Geelong Aug. 15th 1852 / [buried] August 17th 1852 / [age] 35 / Musician / [stamped no.] 24452


4 January 1869, death of Matilda (Mrs. Spencer Wallace [2])

BDM NSW, Deaths, 1869/5294

4 January 1869, Lunatic Asymlum, Parramatta, NSW / Matilda Wallace, widow / Female 55 years / Mania, ulceration of bowels . . . / [parents, spouse, family] unknown / buried 5 January 1869, All Saints' Cemetery, Parramatta . . .


4 December 1897, San Francisco, CA, USA, death by suicide of Vincent St. John Wallace

"DEATHS" San Francisco Call (5 December 1897), 14 

WALLACE - In this city, December 4, 1897, Vincent Wallace, a native of New York, aged 42 years.

"DREADED A SUICIDE'S GRAVE", San Francisco Call (5 December 1897), 16 

Vincent Wallace Takes His Life at the French Hospital. ARRANGED HIS OWN FUNERAL. Carefully Planned to Blame His Physicians for His Death, A FAMOUS OPERA COMPOSER'S SON. He Was Once a Banker at Guthrie and at Seattle, but His Money Disappeared. The body of Vincent Wallace, son of the composer of the English opera "Maritana," is lying on a slab in the Morgue - a suicide. He came to an untimely end yesterday morning at 2 o'clock at the French Hospital from morphine administered by himself . . .

"MUSICAL NOTES", The Express and Telegraph (19 March 1898), 5 

Mr. Vincent Wallace, a son of the composer of "Maritana," died in San Francisco on December 14 [sic], 1897. His mother was Helen Stoepel, the pianist, and after his father's death he spent some time in Australia, Canada, and South America.


25 July 1900, Dublin, death of Isabella Wallace

1900 - Deaths Registered in the District of Finglas and Glasnevin in the Union of North Dublin in the County of Dublin

1900, Twenty-fifth July, 2 Charleville Road / Isabella Wallace / Widow / 87 years / Musician's Widow / Senile Decay . . . / Kate Jones present at death 2 Charleville Road / . . .


28 September 1903, South Carolina, USA, death of Clarence Sutherland Wallace

"WALLACE WAS A COMPOSER OF NOTE", Augusta Chronicle (30 September 1903), 8

Messrs. R. C. Berkmans and W. H. Mikell, of Augusta, went over to Aiken yesterday to attend the funeral services of Mr. Clarence Sutherland Wallace, whose death was reported in yesterday's Chronicle, which occured on Monday in Aiken. The services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Cliff, the Episcopal minister. Mr. Wallace was quite a celebrity in his way, and intimate with the Hitchcocks and Whitneys, and the other wealthy Northerners who spend their winters at Aiken. In fact, Mr. Wallace was instrumental in first attracting attention of winter tourists to Aiken. He had been a resident there 25 years, and so impressed was he with this section that he induced friends to come down. Mr. Wallace was born at Stratford, Conn., fifty-two years ago. He was the son of Wm. Vincent Wallace, the distinguished composer. Mr. Clarence Wallace was educated in Boston and Europe, and lived in Paris a number of years. He was a composer of note himself, like his father. He has done more to build up Aiken than any other man in it. He had just returned from his summer home in the East, as was on the streets of Aiken just before his death.


[? 31 December] 1909, Holborn, London, England, death of William Vincent Wallace junior

[England], Deaths registered in October, November, and December 1909, 315

WALLACE, William Vincent / [age] 76 / [place registered] Holborn / [vol.] 1b, [page] 353

See also Lamb 2012, 181


3 June 1911, death of Frederick Arthur Wallace [Arthur Frederick Wallace]

BDM NSW, Deaths, 1911/7388

3 June 1911 / Wazir Street Arncliffe NSW / Frederick Arthur Wallace / Station hand, old age pensioner / Male 76 years / Cardiac failure . . . / [parents] Hector Wellington [sic] Wallace, band master (Queen's own) / Matilda unknown / . . . [born] Parramatta NSW / [married] Dubbo NSW, 45 years, Kate Burrell, no issue

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (5 June 1911), 8 

WALLACE - June 4, 1911, at St. George Cottage Hospital, Kogarah, Frederick Arthur Wallace, late of Waizier-street, Arncliffe, aged 76 years.

Documentation (musical, Australia, 1838-52)

For documentation on Wallace and family's musical activities in Dublin, Hobart Town, and Sydney, up to February 1838: 


"THE CONCERT", The Australian (1 June 1838), 2

... We scarcely know how to speak of Mr. Wellington Wallace's Fantasia on the flute; it was such a compound of extraordinary tone, facile execution, and chaste feeling, that all that could be said on the subject would convey a faint idea of the impression it produced on the company. It brought forcibly to the recollection of all present the witchery of his brother's violin, and the plaudits between each variation must have been gratifying to that gentleman.



2 September 1846, S. W. Wallace's concert

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (2 September 1856), 1 

UPON which occasion Mr. Wallace will be assisted by his sister Mrs. Bushelle, Madame Gautrot, Messrs. J. and F. Howson, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Deane, Messrs. J. E. and W. Deane, Walton, Guerin, Friedlander, &c., &c., &c., also by the kind permission of Colonel Despard, Mr. Wallace will have the services of the much admired
Band of H.M. 99th Regiment,
On this evening the sides of the Pit will be painted with fanciful designs, and the seats newly covered expressly for the occasion; the entrance made through the circle, and the stage will be brought forward several feet, so as to give due effect to the Vocal and Instrumental performances. A choice selection of the most admired pieces from the
"OPERA OF MARITANA," Will be performed.
Leader - Mr. Wallace
Pianist - Mr. Imberg
Overture - "Der Freyschütz" - Weber - Orchestra and Military Band
1. Duet - "Gustavus, my Noble Muster" - Auber - Messrs. J. and F. Howson.
2. The celebrated Aria - "Vien diletto il ciel la luna," - from "I Puritani" - Bellini - Mrs. Bushelle
4. Song - "the Maniac" - Russell - Mr. F. Howson
4. Fantasia - Flute - Nicholson - Mr. Wallace
5. Aria, and Variations - "La Biondini" - Paer - Madame Gautrot
6. Song - "Yes! let me like a soldier fall," from Maritana, W. V. Wallace - Mr. J. Howson
7. Song - "Jeptha's Daughter," I. Nathan - Mrs. Bushelle
8. Solo - Violoncello. - Mr. E. Deane
Overture, " Zampa" - Orchestra
1. Grand Duet, "Of fairy wand had I the power" from Maritana, W. V. Wallace - Mrs. Bushelle and Mr. F. Howson
2. Aria - "Fra poco" - Mr. J. Howson.
3. Solo - Violin, De Deriot - Mr. Wallace
4. Grand Scena - "Somme Cielo" - Mrs. Bushells and Violin Obligato, Pacini - Mrs. Bushelle and Mr. Wallace
5. Ballad - "In happy moments" from Maritana, W. V. Wallace - Mr. F. Howson
6. The celebrated Polacca - from "I Puritani," Bellini - Madame Gautrot
7. Ballad - "There is a flower that bloometh," from Maritana, W. V. Wallace - Mr. J. Howson
8. Ballad - "Black eyed Susan" - Mrs. Bushelle
Grand Finale - "Rule Britannia."
Dress Circle, 5s.; Upper Boxes, 4s.; Pit, 4s.; and Gallery, 2s.
Tickets may be obtained at the Box Office of the Victoria Theatre; Mr. Colman, Mr. Ford, Mr. Ellard, Mr. Grocott, Mr. Aldis, and Mr. Scott, George-street; Mr. Moffitt, and Mr. Morgan, Pitt-street; Mr. Davies, Australian Hotel, Lower George-street; Mr. P. J. Cohen, Saracen's Head, King-street West; and Mr. Wallace, at his residence, No. 228, Castlereagh-street, near Market-street.
Doors open at 7 o'clock, Concert to commence at 8 o'clock.

"MR. WALLACE'S CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (4 September 1846), 2 

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Wallace gave a concert, previously announced in this paper, at the Royal Victoria Theatre. His Excellency Sir Charles Fitz Roy and Lady Mary Fitz Roy had announced their intention of honouring Mr. Wallace with their patronage; and this circumstance, with the highly attractive and judicious programme prepared by Mr. Wallace, contributed, with the excellence of the performers, to ensure a numerous and most respectable attendance . . .

"WALLACE'S CONCERT", The Australian (5 September 1846), 3 


"THEATRE ROYAL", Geelong Advertiser (11 March 1852), 2

The amusements at this place are spiritedly maintained. Good houses seem to reward the indefatigable exertions of Mr Deering to adorn rational amusement for the people. This, with the masterly manner in which Mr. Wallace (brother of the author of Maritana) conducts the musical department, renders the Geelong Theatre second to none in the colonies, in point of interest or talent.

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (19 April 1852), 2

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (14 May 1852), 2

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (14 June 1852), 2

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (14 July 1852), 3

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (31 July 1852), 2

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (16 August 1852), 2

WALLACE, Caroline (Caroline GREEN; Mrs. S. W. WALLACE; Mrs. BATTERS)

Soprano vocalist, actor

Married Spencer Wellington WALLACE, St. James's, Sydney, NSW, 4 November 1841
Departed ? Sydney, 28 June 1849 (per Star of China, for California)
Died San Francisco, California, USA, 3 March 1850 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


Caroline Green was described as "late of Pitt-town" when she married Spencer Wellington Wallace at St. James's Church Sydney on 4 November 1841. She made her first appearance at the theatre at her husband's benefit on 16 December, singing Rodwell's cavatina I seek her on every shore and Lover's song The magical maydew. She next assisted her sister-in-law Eliza Bushelle at her concert in February, singing the Rodwell song again with "orchestral accompaniments", with Eliza Bushelle in Blangini's duet Near to the willow, and also with John Bushelle in Cimarosa's "Grand quarrelling trio". According to the Gazette:

Mrs. Wallace astonished us by her excellent singing, recollecting as we did, her far from successful debut three months ago. This lady has improved wonderfully since that period, and reflects infinite credit upon whoever instructed her, for instructed she must have been, which was very apparent in her being repeatedly and most enthusiastically applauded nem. con. This was especially observable in that splendid song "I seek her on every shore."

Early in March 1842, it was reported that the Bushelles and "Mrs. Wallace" had been engaged at the Victoria Theatre, and with Eliza Bushelle as Julia Mannering, she made "her first appearance in character" as Lucy Bertram in Bishop's opera Guy Mannering at the end of the month. In the Chronicle, W. A. Duncan judged:

The character of Lucy Bertram by Mrs. Wallace, likewise a first appearance, was, considering that circumstance, decidedly good.

She appeared as Fanny in Charles Nagel's burletta, The mock Catalani in May 1842. Among her later appearances at the Victoria, she was the "Fairy Queen (assuming the character of Alidor") in Rossini's Cinderella in March 1845.

She and Spencer Wallace appear to have separated by the time he accompanied his sister Eliza Bushelle to Europe in March 1847.

By 1848 she was affecting to be the wife of the Melbourne, and latterly Geelong actor, Richard Batters. Certainly, in November 1848 she was billed at the theatre in Geelong as "Mrs. Batters (Late Mrs. Wallace)". She and Batters then sailed for California in June 1849. In June 1850, a correspondent for the Sydney Herald reported:

There are many smart young gentlemen of my Sydney acquaintance down here, not carrying "de fiddle and de bow", but the pickaxe and the hoe. We have some of your sons and daughters of Thespis arrived, and flourishing in all the majesty and glorification of sock and buskin. Nesbitt and his wife, under their own name of McCron, Mr. Hambleton and his wife, and the quondam Mrs. Wallace, under the euphonious appellation of Mrs. Batters, are astonishing the sympathies and purses of the San Franciscans.

But in July 1850, the Herald also reported:

Mrs. Wallace, formerly an actress at the Sydney Theatre, died in California in March last.


"MARRIED", The Sydney Herald (9 November 1841), 3

On Thursday last, the 4th instant, at St. James's Church, by the Rev. Mr. Allwood, Mr. S. W. Wallace, of Sydney, to Miss Caroline Green, late of Pitt-town.

"THEATRE", The Sydney Herald (16 December 1841), 2

The performances at the Theatre this evening are for the benefit of Mr. Wallace, the leader of the orchestra; Mrs. Wallace is to make her first appearance.

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (16 December 1841), 3

MR. S. W. WALLACE'S BENEFIT, THIS EVENING (Thursday), December 16, 1841 . . .
MRS. S. W. WALLACE will also, upon this occasion, make her first appearance before a Sydney audience . . .
The performances will commence with . . . PEDLAR'S ACRE . . .
After which, the curtain will rise for A CONCERT, OF VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC . . .
Cavatina, "I seek her on every shore (Rodwell), by Mrs. S. W. Wallace, her first appearance . . .
Song, "The Magical Maydew" (Lover), Mrs. S. W. Wallace . . .
The evening's entertainments will conclude with the highly popular Extravaganza of GIOVANNI IN LONDON . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette (22 February 1842), 3

Wednesday next, the 23rd of Feb, 1842 . . . MRS. BUSHELLE . . .
PART I . . . 2. The favorite Duet, "Near to the Willow" - Blangini - Mrs. Wallace and Mrs. Bushelle . . .
5. Cavatina - "I seek her on every shore" - Rodwell - Orchestral Accompaniments - Mrs. Wallace . . .
PART II . . . 3. The "Grand Quarrelling Trio," by Cimarosa - Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Bushelle, Mr. Bushelle . . .
5. "The last sweet Chime" - Cianchatine [sic, Cianchettini] - Mrs. S. W. Wallace . . .

"BUSHELLE'S CONCERT", The Sydney Gazette (26 February 1842), 2

. . . Mrs. Wallace astonished us by her excellent singing, recollecting as we did, her far from successful debut three months ago. This lady has improved wonderfully since that period, and reflects infinite credit upon whoever instructed her, for instructed she must have been, which was very apparent in her being repeatedly and most enthusiastically applauded nem. con. This was especially observable in that splendid song "I seek her on every shore" . . .

"Theatrical Chit-chat", The Sydney Gazette (3 March 1842), 2

Mr. and Mrs. Bushelle, and Mrs. Wallace, have been engaged by the spirited proprietor of the Victoria, at a very high weekly salary. They will shortly make their appearance before the public, in a vaudeville, a number of which will be got up in order to shew to advantage the voices of these really valuable acquisitions . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette (31 March 1842), 2

First Night of the opera of " Guy Mannering."
First appearance of Mrs. Bushelle as "Julia Mannering," and Mrs. S. W. Wallace as " Lucy Bertram."
THIS EVENING, MARCH 31, 1842 . . . With all the original Music . . .
Order of Songs, Duets, Glees, Choruses, &c. &c. . . .
Song - "The old House at Home," Mrs. Wallace . . .
Ballad - "Rest Thee Babe," Mrs. Wallace . . .
Duet - "Near to the Willow," Mrs. Wallace and Mrs. Bushelle . . .

"THE VICTORIA THEATRE", Australasian Chronicle (2 April 1842), 2

. . . On Thursday evening the opera of Guy Mannering was performed to a crowded house at the Victoria, and in a very creditable style . . . Mrs. Bushelle made her first appearance as Julia Mannering, and her excellent singing atoned for some little awkwardness in her manner, which will wear off with practice. The character of Lucy Bertram by Mrs. Wallace, likewise a first appearance, was, considering that circumstance, decidedly good . . .

"Theatricals", The Sydney Gazette (12 May 1842), 3

. . . We shall conclude our report, with a short review of the amusing new Burletta of the "Mock Catalani in Little Padlington [sic]" written, we understand, by Captain Nagle, formerly a Magistrate in this territory. The piece was eminently successful, as we have formerly stated, and each successive representation seems to give the audience greater satisfaction. The plot of the piece is as follows; - A young lady named Fanny, (Mrs. Wallace) daughter of Mr. Dobbs, Mayor of Little Pudlington, falls in love with a young man named William, (Simmons) who attends her in the capacity of music-master . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: Charles Nagel (author); Joseph Simmons (actor, vocalist)

David Burn, journal, (31 October 1844); State Library of New South Wales, MS B 190/2, page 175 (DIGITISED) (TRANSCRIPT)

Thursday: 31 [October] . . . Strolled from Sussex Street to the Domain to listen to the melodious 99th . . . Klein and I went to Madame Louise's benefit. The theatre was very full, and the pieces were The Idiot of Heilberg - England's Wooden Walls - and a variety of singing and dancing. A Mrs. Wallace warbled an Irish ballad in a manner that penetrated my heart. She was deservedly encored. Drank my promised bumper . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: David Burn (playwright, author, diarist, songwriter); Madame Louise (Mrs. James, dancer); Band of the 99th Regiment (military band);

"THEATRICALS", The Australian (15 March 1845), 3

It will be seen by advertisement that Mr. S. W. Wallace's benefit at the Victoria is fixed for Monday next. Had Mr. Wallace no claims on the patrons of music in this Colony during the many years he has resided among them, we feel assured that the treat he has provided, by the reproduction of Rossini's opera of CINDERELLA - which is of itself a host of attraction - would ensure him a full and fashionable attendance. The opera will be followed by a variety of singing and dancing, and the laughable farce of GRETNA GREEN. We understand that Mrs. Wallace does not intend to take a benefit this Season.

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Australian (18 March 1845), 2

Will be presented, for the second time, this season, Rossini's celebrated Opera, entitled
Baron Pomposo Il Magnifico - Mr. Lazar (his first appearancc this season.)
Prince Floridor - Mrs. Gibbs
Pietro (servant to the Baron) - Mr. Simes
Dandini (valet to the Prince) - Mr. Simmons
Cinderella (the Baron's daughter) - Mrs. Bushelle
Clorinda and Thisbe (her sisters) - Mesdames Louise and Ximenes
Fairy Queen (assuming the character of Alidor, the Prince's tutor) - Mrs. S. W. Wallace . . .
Song, "Erin's Daughter," Mrs. Wallace . . .

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (25 November 1848), 2

THEATRE ROYAL, GEELONG, WILL OPEN FOR THE SEASON, On MONDAY, November 27, 1848. The following is a list of the Company as a present constituted - Mrs. DEERING, Mrs. BATTERS, (late Mrs. Wallace) . . .

"THE PROTESTANT HALL", The Argus (6 February 1849), 2

A public Tea Meeting for the liquidation of the debt on the Protestant Hall was held in that edifice yesterday evening, Mr. Alderman Kerr in the Chair. - The room was closely thronged, not fewer than from 300 to 400 persons being present . . . There was a considerable variety of Music and Singing, the gem of the evening being a Song by Mrs. Batters, which was most rapturously encored.

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. DEPARTURES", The Sydney Morning Herald (29 June 1849), 2

JUNE 28. - Star of China, schooner, 101 tons, Captain Dowker, for California. Passengers - . . . Mr. and Mrs. Batters, Miss Batters . . .

"CALIFORNIA", The Argus (3 July 1849), 1s

. . . Mr. and Mrs. Batters, and Miss Batters, the two former late Collins-street residents, appear in the list of departures for California, by the Star of China, from Sydney . . .

"DEATH OF MRS. BATTERS", Daily Alta California (5 March 1850), 2 

This lady, who has been known for some months to the citizens of San Francisco as a pleasing and talented vocalist, died on Saturday evening after a protracted illness. Since the opening of the Olympic Amphitheatre she has been attached to the establishment and although laboring under the malady which has terminated so fatally, lent her aid in the production of most of the pieces. But a few weeks since an interesting daughter, about twelve years of age, was snatched away from her parents, and now mother and daughter sleep the sleep of death, side by side, in the silent tomb.

"CALIFORNIA", The Sydney Morning Herald (19 June 1850), 2

By the vessels which recently arrived here from California we have been put in possession of some interesting private letters, and from two we purpose making copious extracts . . . ". . . We have some of your sons and daughters of Thespis arrived and flourishing in all the majesty and glorification of sock and buskin. Nesbitt and his wife, under their own name of McCron, Mr. Hambleton and his wife, and the quondam Mrs. Wallace, under the euphonious appellation of Mrs. Batters, are astonishing the sympathies and purses of the San Franciscans . . .

"MULTUM IN PARVO", The Sydney Morning Herald (27 July 1850), 5

. . . Mrs. Wallace, formerly an actress at the Sydney Theatre, died in California in March last . . .

"THE MELBOURNE STAGE IN THE FORTIES. By J. S. No. III.", The Argus (31 May 1890), 4 

. . . On the 27th of July [1846] a Mrs. Wallace made her most successful debut as a singer ever yet witnessed on our local stage. She has a voice of surprising compass, which she used with refined taste and great musical skill. In a word, she is pronounced to be "Melbourne's prima donna". I think this lady must have been the wife of Mr. [Spencer Wellington] Wallace who was at this time giving concerts in Sydney. He was the brother of Vincent Wallace, the composer of "Maritana", who came out to Australia for the benefit of his health about the year 1834 . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: James Smith (journalist)

"The Australian Stage. To the Editor of the . . .", Australian Town and Country Journal [Sydney, NSW] (10 September 1898), 6 

Sir, - In your issue of August 20 I notice in your "Answers to Questions" columns a paragraph stating that Vincent Wallace is said to have composed "Maritana" when living in a house in Castlereagh-street, Sydney. I have no doubt this is correct. I am certain he was in Sydney at that time; that is, in 1844 to 1845 or 1846. He was one of the musicians in the orchestra of the old Victoria Theatre, and Mrs. Wallace was one of the stage performers at the same time . . . My first recollections of the Victoria Theatre go back to when Mr. Thos. Sims was manager. That was in 1842 or 1843 . . . I was only a youngster then, but with both Mr. Vincent Wallace and his wife I was a favorite, and seeing his name in your paper brought home pleasant old recollections!
- Yours, etc., W. T. P., Woolgoolga.

ASSOCIATIONS: William Toft Pullen (call boy at the Royal Victoria Theatre in the early 1840s); of course, it was not William Vincent Wallace that Pullen recalled here, but Spencer and Caroline

Kelly family in Australia

WALLACE, Isabella (Miss Alicia Isabella KELLY; Mrs. William Vincent WALLACE)

Teacher of music

Born Ireland, c. 1815/16 (? 1814/15; ? 1813, Daingean, County Offaly)
Married William Vincent WALLACE, St. Paul's Church (RC), Arran Quay, Dublin, 14 February 1832
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 7 February 1836 (as "Isabella KELLY", female emigrant on the James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Departed Sydney, NSW, 21 July 1845 (passengers per Penyard Park, for London)
Died North Dublin, Ireland, 25 July 1900, aged "87" (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

WALLACE, William Vincent (junior)

Born Dublin, Ireland, August 1833 (son of William Vincent WALLACE and Isabella KELLY)
? Arrived Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 31 October 1835 (per Rachael, from Liverpool, England, 9 July), or with his mother as above, February 1836
Departed Sydney, NSW, 21 July 1845 (passenger per Penyard Park, for London)
Died London, England, 31 December 1909, aged 76 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


KELLY, Julia (Julia Marie KELLY; Mrs. Michael BROWNE; Mrs. Arthur de MEURANT)

Arrived Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 31 October 1835 and Sydney, NSW, 30 November 1835 (passenger per Rachael, from Liverpool, England, 9 July)
Married (1) Michael BROWNE, NSW, 20 February 1841
Married (2) Arthur de MEURANT, VIC, 19 February 1849
Died Paddington, NSW, 10 September 1861

KELLY, Charlotte (Charlotte KELLY; Mrs. James CROMARTY)

Arrived Sydney, NSW, 7 February 1836 (female emigrant per James Pattison, from Cork, 31 October 1835)
Married Captain James CROMARTY, Sydney, 25 February 1836

KELLY, Marcella (Mrs. Francis Leigh RILEY)

Arrived ? 1836
Married Francis Leigh RILEY, Sydney, NSW, 26 April 1854

RILEY, John Augustus (John Augustus RILEY)

Tailor and professor of music

Brother-in-law of Marcella KELLY (RILEY)

MULLIGAN, Annie (Sarah Annie de MUEURANT; Mrs. Joseph MULLIGAN)

Family biographer

Born Paddington, NSW, 20 May 1850; daughter of Arthur de MEURANT and Julia KELLY
Died Darlinghurst, NSW, 26 June 1940


Soprano, operatic producer, instructor and manager

Born Sydney, NSW, 1880; daughter of John Joseph MULLIGAN and Annie de MEURANT
Died Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, 2 November 1967, aged 87

NOTE: Hilda Mulligan was frequently described in the press as a grand-daughter of Eliza Wallace Bushelle; and she may well have been informally "adopted" as such; she was, however, directly related only to Vincent Wallace's wife, Isabella Kelly. Isabella's sister, Julia, was mother of Annie Mulligan de Muerant, and grandmother of Hilda.


Ireland (to 1835):

[Advertisement], Saunders's News-Letter [Dublin] (6 January 1827), 4

MRS. KELLY begs leave to announce to the Parents and Guardians of her Pupils, that Studies will be resumed on Monday, 8th January Inst.
Mrs. K. avails herself of the present occasion to mention (on breaking up for the Christmas Holydays) the great gratification she experienced by the general approbation of the Parents and Friends of her young Ladies, in consequence of their progress during the past years in the English and French Languages, Geography and Use of the Globes, Writing and Arithmetic, History, Dancing, Drawing and Music (which comprise her System); in the latter Science particularly, many Pupils can be produced, whose proficiency exceeded the most sanguine expectation of their Friends.
As the most approved Masters fill the different Departments in her Establishment, aided by the exertions of her Daughters, who are unremitting in their attention to the domestic comforts, manners and improvement of her Pupils, Mrs. Kelly flatters herself that superior advantages cannot be had elsewhere.
Frescati House, is, in point of accommodation, dryness and salubrity, with the extent of play-ground within the Demesne, calculated not only to promote, but to restore health.
On account of Bathing, no Summer Vacation is given.

[Advertisement], Saunders's News-Letter [Dublin] (4 September 1828), 4

THE MISSES KELLY avail themselves of the present occasion to inform their Friends and the Public, that it is their decided determination to carry on the business of their School, and to pursue the same plan and course of Education, which, under the auspices of their lamented Mother, gave such general satisfaction.
As the family consists of nine Sisters, five of whom are prefectly qualified to perform the functions of Public Teachers, they trust that by their united energies and exertions of themselves, their Father, and a highly respectable Matron, the business of the School, in every department, will be conducted in such a manner as to merit the approbation of a discerning Public.
they also pledge themselves that the best Masters in each department shall be employed.

{Advertisement], Saunders's News-Letter [Dublin] (19 April 1830), 3

THE MISSES KELLY beg to announce the gratification they feel in acknowledging the approbation which has been so generally expressed by the Parents and Guardians of their Pupils at the Easter recess. Their own exertions aided by the ablest Masters, who fill the different departents in their School, and they presume that no other Female Establishment can combine greater advantages in point of instruction, and with regard to healthfulness from coniguity to sea bathing, a large and well ventilated House, extensive play ground, &c. unrivalled. [sic]

Australia (1835-45):

31 October 1835, Hobart Town, arrival (from Liverpool) of William Vincent Wallace, but without wife (? and child) as reported, as see 9 February 1836 below; and his sister-in-law Julia Kelly

List of passengers, per Rachel, 31 October 1835; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:1594477; CSO92/1/1 p66$init=CSO92-1-1P69JPG (DIGITISED)

Arrived at the Port of Hobart Town, the Ship Rachael, 31st October 1835 . . .
[For] New South Wales / Cabin passengers / Mr. W. Wallace / Mrs. Wallace & Child / . . . Miss Kelly . . .

"SHIP NEWS", The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch (6 November 1835), 8 

Oct. 31. - Arrived the ship Rachael, 383 tons, Captain R. S. Potter, from Liverpool 9th July, with a general cargo. Passengers - Mr. and Mrs. Dodd and child, Mr. Archer, Miss Blair, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace and child . . . Miss Kelly . . .

NOTE: As was common practice, this report of arrivals was evidently copied from a ship's manifest prior to departure from Liverpool; however, due to illness, Isabella did not sail on the Rachel, but arrived later in Sydney, in February 1836, on the James Pattison; the Miss Kelly here was evidently Julia

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (1 December 1835), 2 

From Liverpool via Hobart Town, yesterday, having left the former port the 15th July, and the latter 21st.ultimo, the ship Rachael, Captain Robert J. Potter, with merchandize. Passengers, Miss Julia Kelly . . .

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Herald (8 February 1836), 2 

ARRIVALS . . . From Cork, yesterday, having sailed from thence the 31st of October, the ship James Pattison, Captain Cromarty, with 324 female emigrants. Passengers, Dr. Osborne, R.N., Mrs. Osborne, Miss Osborne, Misses Jane and Mary Osborne, and Masters William, John, and Alexander Osborne.

Assignments of female emigrants on James Pattison, February 1836; State Library of New South Wales, microfilm reel CY652

Charlotte Kelly / 25 years / Governess / [By whom engaged] Mrs. Wallace (her sister)
Mrs. Spencer Wallace / 24 years / [By whom engaged] Mr. Spencer Wallace (her husband)
Eliza Wallace / 16 years / Actress / [By whom engaged] Mr. Spencer Wallace (her father)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", Commercial Journal and Advertiser (8 February 1836), 2 

ARRIVALS . . . James Pattison, [from] Cork, 31st October, 324 female emigrants . . .

Letter, sender (illegible, Courthouse) to Alexander Macleay, 9 February 1836, Colonial Secretary's papers; State Archives NSW

Feby 9th 1836 / Courthouse
My Dear Sir, The wife of Mr. Wallace has arrived by the female emigrant ship to his surprise and satisfaction for he neither expected her so soon of that she would come in that way. She has come as Isabella Kelly (her own name) and Mr. Wallace is afraid it may not look well in the eyes of the public if she remained to be landed with the other females, and has therefore asked me to request of you to give and order to allows her to come on shore to day. His sister Miss Eliza Wallace is also with his wife & if you can include her in the order also he'd feel obliged. They were both supposed to come with Mr. Wallace when he left Ireland, but Mrs. Wallace fell unwell, which prevented her from coming with himself, though he is fearful her coming in this ship as Miss Kelly may be injurious to him. I applaud her economy & prudence [ . . ? . . ]
In haste / Yours very faithfully [ . . ? . . ]

"MARRIED", The Colonist (3 March 1836), 7 

MARRIED. At Sydney, on Thursday, the 25th ult., by the Rev. Dr. Lang, James Cromarty, Esq.; Commander of the ship James Pattison, to Miss Charlotte Kelly.

"MARRIED", The Australian (25 February 1841), 3 

MARRIED. On the 20th instant, at St. Mary's Cathedral, by the Rev. Mr. Murphy, Julia Marie, eighth daughter of David Kelly, Esq., of Frescati's Black Rock, Dublin, to Michael Browne, Esq., of the Royal Engineers, Sydney.

"MUSIC AND MUSICIANS", The Australian (21 June 1845), 3 

We have had much pleasure in hearing that Mr. William Wallace, who some time ago delighted this Colony with his eminent skill on the violin and piano-forte, after having made the tour of Europe and America, is domiciled in London, enjoying the results of his professional labors. Mrs. W. Wallace, who remained in this Colony with her infant son, will proceed forthwith to join her liege lord.

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE . . . CLEARANCES", The Australian (22 July 1845), 2 

July 21. - The barque PENYARD PARK, Weller, master, for London, with colonial produce. Passengers, Mr. and Mrs. McGregor, three children and servant, Mrs. Wallace and son . . .

Isabella and William junior in Britain (from 1845):

"THE PROFITS OF OPERA", Nottingham Evening Post (16 April 1890), 2

Apropos of "Lurline," revived on Saturday night at Drury Lane, it will be interesting, says the Pall Mall Gazette, to learn, as illustrating how munificently our native composers were remunerated thirty years ago, that Vincent Wallace received from Pyne and Harrison the princely sum of 10s. for the entire rights of performing his opera in England. Wallace handed this to the wife of a carpenter who had been injured Covent Garden Theatre. The fac-simile ot the ten-shilling assignment may be seen in the British Museum. We have on authority of Vincent Wallace's son that Pyne and Harrison made £70,000 out of the first production of "Lurline," and that Cramer and Beale's large profits from the sale of the music enabled them to pension Fitzball, the librettist of the opera, for the rest of his life. Nobody seems to have thought of pensioning Vincent Wallace, or of making things comfortable for his belongings after his death.

"Music and Musicians", Table Talk (2 August 1895), 6 

Mrs. Wallace, widow of the famous composer, Vincent Wallace, is now past 80, and is, unfortunately, in a poor way of doing. Her son, Mr. W. Vincent Wallace, aged 61, is also living in London and is also poor. Old colonial hands, says Colonies and India, particularly Australians, will no doubt be glad to hear that a movement is about to be organised with a view to doing something for the widow and son of the immortal composer of Maritana. Vincent Wallace lived for many years in Sydney in the old days when Imperial regiments were quartered at Paddington, and most of his best composing work was done in the congenial atmosphere of Port Jackson.

"THE WIDOW OF VINCENT WALLACE. TO THE EDITOR", The Brisbane Courier (26 August 1895), 2 

Sir, - The news of the distressing position the widow of Vincent Wallace is in should call forth the sympathy «f all, ami especially of the thousands everywhere where English is spoken and his music is known. Considering the enormous popularity of his operas, and especially of "Maritana," it may be naturally supposed that Wallace was rich; but, alas, he materially enriched others only, for what did he get for his works? For " Maritana," £300. This I know for a fact, as my informant was the publisher, Mr. William Chappell - the late head of the house of Cramer and Co. - who told me he paid £100 for the first act, which was completed before Wallace left London for Australia, and it was ten years before it was produced. Might I suggest that the numerous amateurs of Brisbane should produce this opera and give the entire receipts - for doubtless the Opera House would be granted - to the widow. If his Excellency would kindly be present on the occasion a bumper house might be naturally expected, and as the expenses would therefore be almost nothing, a really respectable sum might be handed over to the old lady. I should be glad to assist as conductor, and also assist the various members who would require help in any way. Perhaps a small committee to carry out all arrangements had better be elected, and I would suggest the following: - Messrs. Dicker, Benson, Lloyd Jones, Denbigh Newton, Callisch, Truda, Rosendorff, Courtney Luck, and Sidney Cowell - should be asked to form it. - I am, sir, &c,

ASSOCIATIONS: George Benjamin Allen (musician); William Chappell (musician, publisher)

"OUR ANGLO-COLONIAL LETTER [From our Special Correspondent] London, November 22, 1895", The Advertiser (26 December 1895), 6 

I suppose 19 out of every 20 Australians - ladies excepted - could, if put to it, whistle a bar or two of "Maritana." The only son of poor Vincent Wallace, who like many others made fortunes for others by his work and died a pauper, has made an appeal to lovers of his father's composition on behalf of his aged mother and himself. The former has for years been more or less dependent on friends and relatives, but has now outlived most of them, and in her 82nd year finds herself without adequate means of support. Her son, himself past his 61st year, is, owing to the failure of a journal upon which he was sub-editor, "between the devil and the deep sea." From the antipodes, where "Maritana" has been played times out of mind, the composer's heirs have never received a penny by way of fees, nor do the performances at home benefit the widow in any way. She is now very old and very feeble, and for her I venture to ask a little assistance from those who have enough and to spare of this world's goods. Those who feel disused to open their hearts can either send their mites through The Advertiser to me, or if they prefer to do so they can send straight to Mrs. Wallace at 1, Duke-street, Great Russell-street, London, W.C. I do not like to beg on anybody's behalf, but Mrs. Wallace's case is a hard one, and - well the season should be favorable.

"THE COMPOSER OF MARITANA. WALLACE'S WIDOW AND SON", The Brisbane Courier (10 January 1896), 6 

The following letter, under date 11th November last, is from William Vincent Wallace, of 1 Duke-street, Great Russell-street, E.C., addressed to the editor of the "Weekly Sun":

"I am the only son of Vincent Wallace, the composer. Though others made fortunes out of my father's works, he - like many a man of genius before him - died so poor that his publishers were good enough to bury him.

"As there was no more money to be made out of the dead composer (his posthumous opera being quite unfinished), my mother and myself were left unaided to fight the bitter battle of life as best we might.

"Mrs. Wallace had to depend on two elder sisters; and I (brought up without a profession - for my father would not let me learn a note of music) had to turn to whatever offered, passing from tutorships to private secretaryships, and drifting finally into journalism.

"Of late, I regret to say, we have fallen upon evil days. Since the death of both my sisters [sic], my mother (now in her eighty-second year) has been left with wholly inadequate means of support, while I, her only son (sixty-two), through ill-health and the collapse of the journal I was sub-editor of for some years past, am placed hors de combat and rendered powerless to help her.

" To make bad worse, any father's old friends have died off, and, as far as I know, we seem, unfortunately for us, to have outlived them all.

"The old order has changed, and the new knows us not, for a great German wave has passed over the world of Music, driving poor Melody - with both her fingers in her ears - before it. And yet there is an astonishing vitality left in some of the old stuff which refuses to be snuffed out. For instance, the 15th of the present month is the jubilee anniversary of evergreen "Maritana," first produced at Drury-lane, 15th November, 1845.

"During the intervening half-century my father's simple ballad opera has been played innumerable times at home and abroad.

"It has delighted hundreds and hundreds of thousands of unpretentious admirers of melodious music, and has put money into many pockets, but, mirabile dictu, during all those years not a single performance has ever been given for our benefit, although we have had sore need of it.

"In Australia, New Zealand, and the other British colonies - as well as in America - it has been played times out of mind, but we have not received from the Antipodes a penny piece of the thousands due to us for fees, owing to an extraordinary "Statute of Limitations" of one year, which has allowed us to be robbed with perfect impunity, not only abroad, but at home.

"Will not some of the generous-hearted people of these islands show some consideration for the widow and son of a composer whose melodies are known wherever there as a cultivated English speaking home, the wide world over?"

"The Musical World", Australian Town and Country Journal (4 April 1896), 35 

Musical people resident in Sydney and elsewhere, in the colony of New South Wales will be pleased to learn that, on the recommendation of Mr. Balfour, a grant of £200 from the Royal Bounty Fund has been given to Mrs. Wallace, the mother of Vincent Wallace, jun., and wife of the well-known and world-renowned composer of "Maritana" and other operas. The "Magazine of Music" for January gives a resume of some particulars respecting the fortunes and condition of the Wallace family, which will be read with interest . . .

"MUSICAL NOTES", South Australian Register (21 April 1899), 2 

It is stated that the only surviving son of Vincent Wallace, the composer of "Maritana," has become a pensioner at the Charterhouxe, the gift of the Queen.

"PURELY PERSONAL", Southern Cross (7 September 1900), 7 

There died in Dublin on July 25th, at the ripe old age of 87 years, Isabella, the widow of William Vincent Wallace, the composer of the ever green opera "Maritana."

"EDITOR'S EASY CHAIR. Mrs. Vincent Wallace Dead.", Freeman's Journal (13 April 1901), 28 

The death ought not to pass without notice of Mrs. William Vincent Wallace, widow of the distinguished eomposer of "Maritana" and "Lurline," which has recently taken place at the age of ninety two. The deceased lady was the daughter of Mr. Kelly, of Blackrock, Ireland, and was married to the composer in 1821 [sic]. Their only child is Mr. William Vincent Wallace, to whom Queen Victoria gave a nomination to the Charterhouse Iast year, where he now resides.

Kelly sisters and their families (Australia, from 1845):

Marriages solemnized at St. Francis's Church, Melbourne 

19 February 1849 . . . Arthur, Captain de Meurant of the East India Service, and of Mountjoy Square, Dublin and Julia Browne (nee Kelly)

Marcella KELLY, and a John Flanagan, were witnesses; Julia and Arthur sailed to Sydney on 20 February 1849 on the Shamrock, arriving 23 February.

"BIRTH", The Sydney Morning Herald (28 May 1850), 3 

At Sea View Cottage, Paddington, on the 20th instant, the lady of A. R. De Meurant, Esq., of a daughter.

"Marriage", The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (6 May 1854), 3 

At St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, by special license, on the 26th of April, by the Rev. John Gourbeillon, O.S.B., Francis Leigh Riley, Esq, eldest son of Mr. John Riley, Maitland, and nephew of Thomas Lyon, Esq, M.D., Liverpool, to Marcella Clara, youngest and ninth daughter of the late David Kelly, Esq., of Frescati House, Black Rock, Dublin, and grand niece of Sir Thomas Esmonde, Bart., M.P.

"DEATHS", Empire (14 September 1861), 1 

DE MEURANT- On the 10th September, at her residence, Paddington, Julia Mary, wife of Arthur de Meurant, Esq., late of Mountjoy-square, Dublin.

"MARRIAGES", The Sydney Morning Herald (13 August 1857), 1 

On the 10th instant, at the Roman Catholic Church, West Maitland, by the Very Rev. Dean Lynch, and afterwards by the Rev. W. Curney, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Mr. John Augustus Riley, tailor and professor of music, brother of Francis Leigh Riley, Esq., resident apothecary of the Maitland Hospital, and second son of Mr. John Riley, tailor, to Harriet, relict of the late Edwin Hinchcliffe, of the Staffordshire Ware and Glass House, and second daughter of J. Hazel, Esq., formerly of Ship Quay-street, Londonderry, Ireland.

"MARRIAGES", The Sydney Morning Herald (2 December 1870), 8 

MULLIGAN - DEMMERENT - November 9, at St. Mary's Cathedral, by the Rev. Patrick J. Mahony, John Joseph Mulligan, to Annie, only daughter of the late J. Demmerent, Esq., of Paddington.

"DEATHS", The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (31 December 1881), 1092 

RILEY. - December 21, at her late residence, 55, Rosebud-terrace, Paddington, Marcella, the wife of Dr. Francis Leigh Riley, aged 68 years.

"MUSIC", The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (21 December 1901), 1565 

Miss Hilda Mulligan, a Manly vocalist still in her teens, was introduced to the Sydney critics last week at a small invitation concert at the rooms of the Professional Musicians' Association. The young lady (a grandniece of Vincent Wallace), is the possessor of a promising soprano voice of power and wide range (2 1/2 octaves). She is untrained, but evidences natural passion and feeling. Four songs were sung (Tosti's "Good-bye" being the best rendered), and Miss Mulligan was warmly applauded by a friendly audience. At the conclusion Mr. E. C. V. Broughton, M.L.A., made a few complimentary remarks from the platform about the young vocalist. Miss Mulligan hopes to leave shortly for Europe with the view of having her voice trained ...

"MUSIC AND DRAMA", The Brisbane Courier (27 December 1902), 9

Miss Hilda Mulligan, a relative of Vincent Wallace (a granddaughter of Madame Wallace Bushelle), who has a particularly brilliant and powerful soprano voice, has had much encouragement from Melba, who heard her in Sydney. The diva has given Miss Mulligan a helpful letter to Madame Marchesi.

"MUSIC AND DRAMA", The Brisbane Courier (18 May 1907), 13 

Miss Hilda Mulligan, a young dramatic soprano, who left Sydney about four years ago, and has lived on the Continent until lately, has got an engagement with the Moody-Manners Opera Company to understudy leads. If report is to be trusted, Miss Mulligan was a granddaughter of the late Madame Wallace Bushelle of Sydney, who was a sister of Vincent Wallace, the composer of "Maritana."

"GOLDEN WEDDINGS", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 November 1920), 8 

MULLIGAN - de MEURANT. November 9, 1870, at the Cathedral, John Joseph Mulligan, son of Thomas and Alice Fox Mulligan, of Sydney, to Annie de Meurant, daughter of Arthur Richardson de Meurant (late Captain in the East India Service) and Julia de Meurant, of Paddington, and granddaughter of David Kelly, Esq, Frescati, Black Rock, Dublin and niece of Vincent Wallace, Esq., (musical composer).

"LETTER FROM WALLACE'S NIECE", Waterford Standard [Ireland] (2 November 1829), 1 (PAYWALL)

His Worship the Mayor has this week received the following letter from Sydney N.S.W., Australia: -

Dear Sir - I believe you have recently erected a statue to the late William Vincent Wallace, composer. Now, that gentleman happens to my uncle, as I was related to him through his wife, Isabella Kelly, of Blackrock, Ireland. By the way, my mother was Julia Kelly, her elder sister, who married twice, and I was the child of the second marriage. Also there was another sister, Marcella, who came out to Australia and also died here.

Now, would you kind enough to answer a few questions which I have had in my mind for years to ask with reference to the life of Vincent Wallace. It is this -
(1) Was he a Roman Catholic?
(2) And what church was he organist when a boy in Waterford?
(3) There were three children by Bandmaster Wallace, father of Vincent, namely: William Vincent, Wellington and Hannah [sic] (who also died in Australia); she was a great singer and teacher and was well thought of out here. Do you know if there were more than these three children?
(4) And can you remember any detail as regards his life?

It is supposed that Vincent was first inspired to write the melody from listening to "Alas! Those Chimes" of our Sydney St. Mary's Cathedral, which was even in those days (1836) one the best buildings in Sydney. It had not then the whole peal bells it has to-day. But the bells that chimed on the lovely evening air were very melodious.

Thanking you again, sir, for any information that you can kindly send me. I am now a very old lady of 79, and I have had to get my daughter, Louise to write this for me. Years ago Ivisited Vincent's son at Charterhouse on two occasions, and he told me great deal about his father. Now I have another daughter, Hilda, who is a great singer and musician. She studied for five years in Italy while Louise writes (she is a free lance). Again thanking von for a reply, - Yours respectfully,

P.S. My daughter Louise is writing the life of my uncle, William Vincent Wallace, composer of Maritana, etc. Could you please send me post card of the statue of William Vincent Wallace?

The Mayor would be please to forward to above lady, who has given her full address, any replies to her queries, or any particular of interest to her or our readers.

"MUSIC AND MUSICIANS", Evening News (22 November 1930), 2 

Mrs. Annie Mulligan, whose daughter Hilda has won recognition as a singer of charm in Sydney and abroad has devoted considerable study to that portion of her own family hlstory which centres on the life of her uncle, William Vincent Wallace, composer of the melodious English operas, "Maritana," "Lurlline," and other works, which enjoyed enormous popularity in their own day, and still pleasantly haunt the memories of many thousands of the older generation.

Other sources:

Annie de Meurant Mulligan ("adapted by Louise Kelly Mulligan"), "In happy moments, the romance of William Vincent Wallace, composer", unpublished typescript biography, 1930; National Archives of Australia (DIGITISED)

Bibliography and resources:

Diana Collins, Sounds from the stables: the story of Sydney's conservatorium (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2001), 86, 135

[86] . . . [Sydney Conservatorium under Bainton] ... but the most important initative in the voice area came from the creation of a permanent School of Opera at the Conservatorium. This was launched in 1935 with the vital assistance of Roland Foster as general organiser and Hilda Mulligan as producer. Though Bainton took most of the kudos for this development, the minister for education believed that the credit really belonged to Hilda Mulligan, who had lobbied since the 1920s. Mulligan had extensive operatic experiemce in Italy, Germany and England and claimed Puccini among her vocal coaches. She also toured South Africa with her own company and had the decided advantage of owning such a large collection of costumes that the Conservatorium was able to stage its operatic productions for a remarkably modest cost . . .

Select bibliography and resources (WorldCat identities)

19th century - Biographies and recollections

London 1845

"MEMOIR OF MR. WALLACE", The illustrated London news (22 November 1845), 333, with illustration above (DIGITISED)

Public curiosity is always piqued in respect to the early struggles of eminent musicians. In the varied incidents of their career, one loves to trace the influences of art and the events which gradually call forth the supremacy of a master-mind. A biographical notice of Mr. Wallace, if given at length, would transport us to scenes of exciting interest both in the Old and New World; and, doubtless, the successful composer will in due course make his debut as an author, for his life has been one of romance and adventure, fully exemplifying the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. We can but allude rapidly to some leading points of his eventful travels in the other hemisphere.

Mr. Wallace is a native of Ireland, and was bom, as we believe, in 1815, Waterford boasting the honour of his birth. His father was a practical musician; and, at seven years of age, the young pupil was already a clever pianist. It was in Dublin, however, that his musical genius was strongly developed. At twelve years of age, having studied the violin, he joined the orchestra of the Theatre Royal, curiously enough, when Mr. Bunn was lessee. During the absence of Barton, the leader, Mr. Wallace, at the age of fifteen, became the chef, having been unanimously called to that post by his orchestral colleagues. Having been strongly eulogised by the magician Paganini, for his fine execution of one of the difficult pieces of the latter, he was encouraged to greater exertions. He could retain in memory all the music he heard. Madame Catalani noticed in flattering terms the extraordinary faculties of the youth. Mr. Wallace had the honour of leading Beethoven's oratorio of "The Mount of Olives," on its first performance in the Irish capital, by the Anacreontic Society. It does not appear that he studied under any particular master. He took lessons in harmony and composition from one teacher, violin exercies under another, and Czerny's studies were his resources for piano playing.

At the age of 18 Mr. Wallace quitted Dublin, for long sea voyage to Sidney, on account of consumptive symptoms having manifested themselves in his constitution. From the Governor, Sir John Burke [sic], the artist received great acts of kindness, and he gave concerts at Sidney with great success. Here the romantic and enthusiastic tendencies of his character developed themselves, and he commenced a series of extraordinary journeys both by sea and land. An American paper states that he has been a sailor before the mast. From Sidney, Mr. Wallace sailed to Van Diemen's Land, and then visited New Zealand, where he engaged in the whale fisheries. After he left the savages of the Bay of Islands, he went to the East Indies, where he remained a year. Here he had a most miraculous escape in a tiger hunt, when an enormous tiger sprang upon his horse, and he was thrown senseless to the ground. Recovering his consciousness and presence of mind, he drew a pistol from his belt, and, observing the tiger, who had been carried by his bound some yards beyond him, he took a deliberate aim; the ball entered the head of the animal, who fell dead, nearly crushing his vanquisher.

Mr. Wallace next sailed from Madras for Valparaiso, in the Republic of Chili; where, and at Santiago, he gave concerts. He was in the last mentioned city of earthquakes, at one of these terrific scenes. From Santiago, he crossed the majestic Cordilleras of the Andes to Buenos Ayres, where his stay, however, on account of the blockade, was but brief. He returned to Santiago, where he displayed a remarkable evidence of his enthusiasm for art. He had given pledge to play at a concert on a certain day, in Valparaiso, for the benefit of a charity, but some circumstances drove the promise from his memory. Being reminded by a friend of the fact, when it was apparently impossible for him to reach Valparaiso in time, Wallace resolved to ride on horseback the whole distance, 125 miles, to keep faith; and he performed this equestrian feat with 13 horses, in less than 11 hours, and was in time for the concert. From Chili, he went to Peru, and gave a concert at Lima, which produced the large sum of 5000 dollars. His curiosity prompted him to be an eye witness of a battle between the Peruvians and the Chilians, and he there became acquainted with Santa Cruz.

Crossing the Isthmus of Panama, Mr. Wallace next visited the West Indies, and gave concerts at Jamaica, Cuba, and the Havannah. His flight was then taken Mexico, and he performed both at Vera Cruz, Tampico, and the city of Mexico. In the last-mentioned locality he had a narrow escape of perishing in the Inquisition. It is in this edifice, erected by the Auto da Fé Spaniards, that concerts are now given, and whilst the audience were assembling in the hall above, the musician's antiquarian lore prompted him to examine the dungeons below, without a guide. He lost his way, and it was only by accident that he was extricated from his perilous position. He led the opera band in Mexico, and then crossed the Gulf to New Orleans, where he had brilliant reception. There is an admirable orchestra in this city, led by Prevot, of Bordeaux, which piques itself on its rivality to the Parisian Conservatoire. Mr. Wallace was so much cheered by these French artists, that they laid down their instruments, and abandoned the tutti to applaud le Jeune Irlandais. The climate there had its effect on the subject of our memoir, and for seven months, prostrated by fever, he did not touch a note. He returned to New Orleans, after his tour to Missouri, and gave a farewell concert.

His progress through the United States, as it appears from all the newspapers, was one combined series of triumphs. The novelty of a violinist setting aside his bow to play the piano, seemed to have astonished the Transatlantic critics. At Boston, he came into direct collision with Ole Bull, the Norwegian; Artot, the Belgian: and Vieuxtemps, also a Belgian - three most renowned violinists; but Mr. Wallace, if we are to credit the local organs, maintained his ground. After complimentary farewell concerts had been given to him every where by the amateurs, especially at New York, he returned to Europe, remained three days in London, and then made a musical tour in Germany and Holland. Last spring he reached London, and, at Miss Hawes's Concert, made his debut as a pianist, at the advice of his friends, who suggested that he would obtain a great teaching connection. Fortunately, his operatic talents were discovered, and the acceptation of his MS opera by Mr. Bunn has given a proper direction to them.

It is a curious coincidence that both Balfe and Wallace have led Dublin orchestras, have travelled much, and their first operas were produced by the Drury Lane Lessee, Mr. Fitzball, in both instances, writing their libretti. We understand that such is Mr. Wallace's intense application, he has studied all the irutruments of the orchestra, to make himself master of their qualities. We learn from persons who have been able to appreciate the character of the composer, that he is a modest, retired man, but animated and intelligent when excited to talk over his romantic career. His enthusiasm for art is stated to be unbounded. If not ruined by awaking one morning here and finding himself famous, he has a glorious prospect before him, and, as a native musician, we are proud to publish his portrait to the world.

Cork 1846

"MR. WALLACE, THE COMPOSER, VIOLINIST AND PIANIST", Cork Examiner (12 January 1846), 4

The career of the composer of Maritana has been certainly most curious. As a child, his first essay music was as a pianist; a mere youth. He is next seen leading a Dublin orchestra. In manhood, traversing the old and new worlds, he appears alternately as a pianist and violinist; he comes upon the track of the first players, and he maintains his position. The spring of 1845 finds him a pianist in the fashionable concerts of London - the autumn leaves have scarely fallen when he jumps at once into notoriety and fame as a composer; and now, only last night, even in the meridian of Greenwich, did we hear him display marvellous skill and passionate expression as a violinist. But his wandering course is not completed - he is leaving shortly for Italy to produce an opera prior to the ensuing musical campaign this metropolis. Here is an extraordinary versatility of talent, and if there be not genius in such unprecedented qualifications, then must its attributes be of a strange kind. The musician who, almost self-taught, struggles with great difficulties, and finally achieves glory every undertaking, can be no ordinary artist; musical faculties must be to him intuitive.

Mr. Wallace is a Proteus, to whom all forms appear to be familiar; it is recorded of him that dissatisfied once with a clarionet-player, during a rehearsal, he seized the instrument, and played the wished-for passage himself. We do not know the intentions of this versatile composer, but having heard him as a pianist and as a violinist, we hope that he will devote his practice to the emperor of all instruments. On the pianoforte he displays a certain order of capability, but he is not great; this is our opinion - it may not be shared by Mr. Wallace, or by his enthusiastic admirers, but before the production of Maritana, we know that we did not stand alone; but, as performer on the violin, it depends entirely on himself whether he will take the first position. He has all the intellectual and physical requisites to constitute superior executant. His hand and fingers seem to have been formed for the violin - in shape they are nearest to the remarkable digits of Paganini, of any violinist we recollect.

But Mr. Wallace has a greater gift; he possesses exquisite sensibility and truth of expression. Two pieces did he execute in last night's programme - an introduction and a theme - with variations composed by himself; and, with the gifted pianist, Benedict, the concertante duet, on subjects from Rossini's William Tell, arranged by De Beriot and Osborne. The introduction in the first piece was elegant, and the theme happy; reminding one of Mayseder's style. The variations were contrived to develope Mr. Wallace's mechanism. There was no unmeaning daub in the colouring it was brilliant but not extravagant. In level playing his tone is magnificent; nothing can be more delicious than his legato, and his general intonation is admirable; his mastery over the bow is complete, but in the double stopping, chromatic passages, and harmonies he was not so certain arising, probably, from being out of practice, and perhaps more from the temperature of the lecture-hall in which the concert was given in the presence of upwards of 1,000 persons. He was much cheered at the conclusion of his own composition; but, whilst we felt the presence of a great violinist, we involuntarily exclaimed "He can do greater things!" and when Wallace was associated with Benedict the duet, then did his genius soar proudly. Emancipated from mere tricks and conventionalities, the mind of the musician predominated, and the poetry of his art was revealed succession of expressive phrases that moved his auditory beyond measure. Who that has once heard the outpourings of grief of Arnold in the celebrated trio from William Tell, can forget the emotions excited by musical sounds describing a son's sorrows for his father's loss? Who that has heard Duprez pour forth this Rossinian outbreak, can obliterate from memory his agonising tones? Well! here is a violinist who has no orchestration to sustain him no dramatic adjuncts to assist the illusion - and yet there he stands, bringing forth from strings the scream of anguish, as acute and as intensely painful as if the histrionic scene was before the eye. Here was the triumph of the soloist, the victory of mind over matter; and the conviction that Wallace is a grand violinist was manifested beyond a doubt. The hall rang with plaudits at the conclusion of this duet, of which Benedict sustained his portion with tact, taste, and energy.

Expression is Mr. Wallace's forte - great, undoubtedly, as are his executive powers. The vocal attractions of these subscription concerts were highly gratifying. Mademoiselle Schloss gave Weber's scena from Freischutz with great effect. Madame F. Lablache sang Wallace's ballad, Scenes that are brightest," and Benedict's "By the sad sea waves," with that artistic feeling she so eminently displays her vocalization. Signor F. Lablache monopolised the encores in "Miei rampolli," substituting "Largo al factotum," Rossini's Tarantelle, and the "Senza tanti complimenti" of Donizetti with his cara sposa. Mr. Wetherbee sang "Hear me, gentle Maritana," effectively. He has a fine voice, and is promising basso. Mr. Carte and his pupil Mr. Rockstro delighted the flutists with specimens on the Boehm invention, totally unmindful of Cherubini's anathema, who declared that nothing could be more tiresome than a flute solo - except a flute duo. This Greenwich concert was certainly creditable every respect. Who could have imagined, ten years since, that such scheme, with such artists, could have been insured, and that upward of 1,000 amateurs would have full of enthusiasm, and exhibiting marked intelligence in the appreciation of the music thus set before them? - Morning Chronicle of Thursday.

Musical world 1852

"William Vincent Wallace" [from the Musical World], Monthly literary miscellany [Detroit] (April 1852), 170-72 

This remarkable man is occupying so large a share of public attention at the present time, that partly from a desire to keep pace with the times, and mostly to gratify our admiration of his genins, we feel constrained to say a few words about him.

It is difficult to state when Art begins in one whom God has gifted with genins; its principles unrecognized, are present when consciousness begins to dawn upon the in fant mind, and everything within and without tends at first indirectly to develope the innate susceptibility to impressions of the beautiful, from which all true music springs. It is certain that where such genins exists, its very earliest years are susceptible to the most rapturous sensations from musical sounds. It may be that the gifted one is unable to combine the musical ideas it dwells so dotingly upon; it may be also, that it cannot analyze the emotions that shake the young heart with a fullness of delight; but the soul recognizes the harmony which is a principle of ite existence - an essence of its being, and the mystic spring is unsealed from whence in after years shall flow the streams of melody that will immortalize a name, and make posterity its debtor.

We will leave some minute historian to decide at what period WILLIAM VINCENT WALLACE first recognized the presence of strong musical influence; we shall consider ourselves sufficiently minute in our narration, if we commence with the commencement of his public career. Very few have achieved so responsible a post, at so early a period of life. But Wallace, independent of his fine genins, had many early advantages. His father was the master of a military band, and an excellent practical musician, playing nearly every instrument in the orchestra. - Young Wallace displayed a wonderful aptitude to excel his father in all these accom- [171] -plishments, and at the age of fifteen could handle with considerable mastery nearly every instrument, and could play with extraordinary excellence, the piano-forte, the violin, the clarionette, and the guitar. Nor was this a display of mere mechanical facility; his great store of mechanical pqwer was practically applied, for he had written over two hundred compositions, fantasies, marches, &c., for military bands, before the period at which we have commenced his history. So Wallace at fifteen, though a young leader, was an old musician. His position in Dublin, brought him in contact with all the musical celebrities of that day, and we have no doubt that his musical purposes were much strengthened by the kind encouragement and judicious commendation of Paganini, Catalini, and others.

For three years he occupied a high musical position in Dublin, and had the honor of directing the first performance of Beethoven's "Mount of Olives," in Ireland. At the age of eighteen his strength seemed to sink under the pressure of his many studies and pressing engagements. Along sea voyage was recommended for the establishment of his health; so he packed up his fiddle, what else we do not know, and sailed for Sidney, far away in the South Seas. For a long period after his arrival in Sidney, he led an active life; his fiddle remained unpacked, and he literally plunged into the bush. But for one characteristic circumstance the world might never have known Wallace, the composer; and he might now be counting his sheep and telling the hoards of wealth they produce - or perhaps digging up heaps of gold at Bathurst.

During one of his brief visits to the town of Sidney, he was invited by some friends to attend a musical party. He went, little dreaming how that evening was to influence his destiny for ever, and to add another name to the bright list of musical celebrities. - When he entered the room, he saw four gentlemen seated round a table, working away, with greater will than power, at a duetto of Mozart. All the music slumbering at his heart seemed to spring at once into vivid life, and he became possessed with the great musical desire. Much to the surprise of his host, he played first fiddle to the next quartette, and so they played on till morning. The fame of his playing spread through the town like wildfire, and reached the ears of the Governor, Sir John Burke, who persuaded Wallace to give a concert After much persuasion, he consented. His success was great, and Sir John Burke, as a mark of his delight, sent him two hundred sheep, which was in that country a princely gift.

After giving several concerts, a restless desire to travel seized upon him, and to use a nautical phrase, he became a "roving blade," he wandered,he and his fiddle, into "strange countries." First he visited Van Dieman's, then New Zealand, from whence he went on a whaling voyage in the South Seas. In New Zealand he met with many hairbreadth escapes, which we have not space to enumerate. From New Zealand he journeyed to the East Indies. With that unconsciousness, or recklessness of danger which was his characteristic in those days, he penetrated far into the interior, and encountered "incidents" of travel from winch nothing but a remarkable coolness and presence of mind could have delivered him. After seeing all he deemed worthy, tiger hunting included, he longed for change of scene, and so started from Madras, after half a day's thought, for Valparaiso, in South America . . .

Berlioz 1854

Hector Berlioz, Les soirées de l'orchestre (Paris: Michel Lévy Frères, 1854), 352, 412-425 (DIGITISED)

[352] . . . Autres questions plus importantes et dernières; Nous venons de jouer un charmant opéra traduit de l'anglais, intitulé Maritana, l'auteur se nomme Wallace, le connaissez-vous?

[412] . . . Je vais répondre maintenant, caro Corsino, à l'autre question importante contenue dans votre lettre.

Oui, je connais Wallace, et j'apprends avec plaisir que vous aimez son opéra de Maritana. Cet ouvrage, si bien accueilli à Vienne et à Londres, m'est pourtant encore inconnu. Quant à l'auteur, voici quelques détails invraisemblables sur lui, qui pourront vous intéresser. Admettez-les pour vrais, car je les tiens de Wallace lui-même, et il est trop indolent, malgré son humeur vagabonde, pour se donner la peine de mentir.


Vincent Wallace naquit en Irlande. Il fut d'abord un violoniste distingué, et obtint comme tel de beaux succèegrave;s à Lon-[414]-dres et dans les colonies des Indes et de l'Australie. Il a ensuite renoncé au violon pour se livrer à renseignement du piano, instrument qu'il possède parfaitement, et à la composition. C'est un excellent Excentric man, flegmatique en apparence comme certains Anglais, téméraire et violent au fond comme un Américain. Nous avons passé ensemble, à Londres, bien des demi-nuits autour d'un bol de punch, occupés, lui à me raconter ses bizarres aventures, moi à les écouter avidement. Il a enlevé des femmes, il a compté plusieurs duels malheureux pour ses adversaires, il a été sauvage ... Oui, sauvage, ou à peu près, pendant six mois. Et voici en quels termes je l'ai entendu me narrer, avec son flegme habituel, cet étrange épisode de sa vie:

"J'étais à Sydney (Wallace dit: J'étais à Sydney, - ou bien: Je vais à Calcutta, - comme nous disons à Paris: Je pars pour Versailles - ou: Je reviens de Rouen), j'étais à Sydney, en Australie, quand un commandant de frégate anglais, de ma connaissance, m'ayant rencontré sur le port, me proposa, entre deux cigares, de l'accompagner à la Nouvelle-Zélande. - Qu'allez-vous faire là? lui dis-je . . .

"The Adventures of W. Vincent Wallace, and English Musical Composer in New Zealand; Translated for the Musical World & Times from the French of Hector Berlioz", The musical world and times [New York] (8 July 1854), 111-13 (DIGITISED)

William Vincent Wallace was born in Ireland. He was at first a distinguished violinist, and as such, had great success in the English colonies of India and Australia. He afterward gave up the violin to devote himself to the teaching of the piano, of which he was a perfect master, and to musical composition. He is a worthy but eccentric man, phlegmatic as an Englishman in external appearance, but beneath, rash and vehement as an American. We have passed a part of many nights together, at London, around a bowl of punch, employed, he in relating his odd adventnres, and I in listening to them eagerly. He has eloped with women, he has fought several duels, unfortunately for his adversaries, he has been a savage - yes a savage, or nearly so, for six months. He gave me once, with his habitual phlegm, the history of this strange episode of his life.

I was at Sydney (Wallace says I was at Sydney, or I am going to Calcutta; as we say in Paris, I am going to Versailles, or, I have just returned from Rouen;) I was at Sydney, in Australia, when a capain of an English frigate, of my acquaintance, whom I met one day upon the wharf, proposed to me, between two cigars, to accomyany him to New Zeaand. "What are you going to do there?" I asked; "1 am going to chastise the inhabitants of the Bay of Tavaï-Pounamon, the most ferocious of the New lealanders, who took the liberty last year to plunder me of our whale ships and eat up the crew. Come with me, it is only five or six hundred leagues - the expedition will be amusing." "With all my heart. When do we set out?" "To-morrow." "Agreed."

The next day we set sail, and had a quick passage. As soon as we arrived in sight of New Zealand our captain gave orders to put the frigate in complete disorder, to tear the sails, break several of the yards, shut the port holes, mark the cannons, conceal the soldiers and three quarters of the crew between decks, in short, to give it the appearance of an unfortunate vessel, shattered by the tempest, and at the mercy of the winds and waves. As soon as the New Zealanders perceived us, their ordinary distrust made them at first appear rather shy, but, seeing only a dozen men on the deck of the vessel, and remarking our miserable appearance and the uncertainty of our movements, they concluded that we were rather shipwrecked suppliants than aggressors, and soon leaped into their canoes and approached us from all sides.

I never saw so many canoes in my life. They came from the land, from the water, from the rocks, from every where. They looked like a shoal of enormous fish swimming toward us. We allowed ourselves to be surrounded like men incapable of defending themselves. But when the canoes, dividing into two masses, were within half pistol shot, and so closely pressed together that they could not turn, a slight pressure upon the helm inade our frigate pre-[112]- sent its broadsides to the two flotillas, and the captain shouted, Soldiers to the deck! open the port holes! fire upon the vermin!" The cannons on both the slow larboard and starboard sides thrust forth their tubes, like so many envious heads out of a wi[n]dow, and began to pour upon these tattoed warriors a shower a balls, shells and grape shot. Our four hundred soldiers accompanied this concert by a well directed fire of musketry. Every body was hard at work. It was superb. From the top yard of the tallest mast, where I had climbed, with my pocket full of cartridges, my double barreled gun, and a dozen grenades, which the master gunner had given me, I took away the appetite from several of the New Zealanders, who had perhaps already dug the oven in which they intended to cook me. I cannot tell how many I killed. You know, in this country, one makes nothing of killing a man. You cannot imagine the effect of my grenades. They burst between their grand chief, to explore a forest in the interior. They burst between their legs and made them leap into the air, and plump down again into the sea, like so many dolphins, while the cannon, with their great balls, enfiladed the rows of canoes and cut them in two with a crash like a thunder bolt when it splits a tree. The wounded howled, the frightened swam for life and our captain stamped with excitement, while shouting through his trumpet, "One broadside more! Launch the long boat the cutter the yawl! Finish the swimmers with blows of the handspike. Come on! quick my boys! God save the queen!"

The sea was covered with carcases, with limbs, with tomahawks, with paddles, with the wrecks of canoes, while here and there, long, red streaks could be seen upon the water. We began to be tired, when the men in the long boat, less excited than their commander, after having despatched with their pistols and oars a dozen of the swimmers, drew from the water in a state of complete exhaustion two magnificient Zealand chiefs. They were hoisted half dead upon the deck, but, at the end of an hour, they were erect and vigorous as two panthers. The interpreter, whom we had brought from Sydney, told them that they had nothing to fear, it was not the custom of the whites to kill their prisoners. "But," said one, "why have the whites fired at us their big and little gun? We were not at war." "Do you remember the whale fishermen that you killed and ate last year? They were our countrymen and we have come to avenge them." "Ah," said the chief, striking a violent blow with his heel upon the deck, and looking at his companion with a savage enthusiasm, "very good! the whites are great warriors." Our conduct filled them evidently with admiration. They looked at it in an artistic light, as connoisseurs, and considered us noble rivals and great artists.

The fleet being sunk, and the slaughter finished, our commander informed us, that he must go to Tasmanie instead of returning to Australia. This was very unpleasant news to me. I did not like to be compelled to make a new voyage, which would probably prove a long one. Just then the surgeon of the ship expressed a desire to remain at Tavai Pounamon, to study the flora of New Zealand and enrich his herbarium, if the captain would call for him on his return. This he readily engaged to do. The idea of seeing these terrible savages at home attracted me and I offered to accompany the surgeon. We can give the two chiefs their liberty, on condition that they will guarantee our safety. This arrangement was very satisfactory to them, and they promised to protect us, and assured us that their nation would receive us very well. Tayo! tayo! (friends) said they on coming - according to the custom - to rub their noses against ours: tayo rangatira - friends of the chiefs.

The treaty was concluded. They put us on shore - the surgeon, the two chiefs, and myself. I had a certain palpitation of the heart in setting foot on this shore, now deserted, but a few hours before covered with enemies, and to which we had come as conquerors, without other security from the fury of the conquered than the word and the doubtful authority of two cannibal chiefs.

"On my honor," said I to Wallace, "you deserved to be cooked alive by a slow fire, and eaten too, both of you. Can one imagine such outrageous folly."

Ah, well, for all that, no harm happened to us. When we met the people the chiefs explained that peace was made, and that they owed to us their liberty. After which, making us kneel down, they gave to each a slight blow with a tomahawk upon the nape of the neck, making signs and pronouncing certain words which made us sacred.

Men, women and children, crying tayo, approached us with curiosity, but without the least hostile appearance. Our confidence appeared to flatter them and all responded to it. The surgeon, besides, made himself welcome by healing some of the wounded, who had survived the grape shot. After some days he left me, to go under the guidance of Koro, the grand chief, to explore a forest in the interior.

I had learned a year before, at Hawaii, some words of the Kanacka tongue, which, notwithstanding the immense distances, that separate the different Archipelagoes, is used equally at Hawaii, at Tahita and New Zealand. I made use of it at first, to please two little charming Zealanders, lively as Parisian grisettes, with large sparkling black eyes, and eyelashes the length of my finger. Once tamed, they followed me like two little lamas, Méré carrying my powder and shot, and Moianqa the game, which I brought down in my excursions.

Would you believe, that with every reason to be happy, I was suddenly plunged into the most unexpected and violent trouble. Emai, my protector, had a daughter sixteen years old, who had not shown herself at first, and whose piquant beauty, as soon as I saw her, excited in my heart the most violent emotion. Excuse me from sketching her portrait - I thought I had only to present myself as a suitor, to be acknowledged as such. Méré and Moianqa had spoiled me. But no. Resistance - obstinate resistance. Then I resolved to pay my court assiduously - and according to rule. The father of Tutea, (that was her name,) embraced my interests with warmth and addressed many reproaches, in my presence, to the rebellious beauty. I offered to Tatea one after another, and all together, the gilt buttons of my waistcoat, my knife, my pipe, more than a hundred blue and red glass beads. I killed a dozen albatrosses to make her a mantle of white down. I even proposed to let her cut off my little finger. This staggered her for a moment, but she still refused. Her father, indignant with her, would have beaten her, but I interfered.

My two other wives tried their skill in combating her obstinacy. Jealousy is ridiculous in New Zealand, and my wives were not ridiculous. Nothing could be done.

Then, despair took possession of me. I ceased to eat, to smoke, to sleep. I hunted no longer. I said not a word to Moianqa or Méré. The poor girls wept, but I paid no attention to it and, I was about to blow my brains out, when suddenly the idea occurred to me to offer to Tutea a little cask of tobacco, which I carried always fastened to my back. That was it!!! and I had not suspected!!!

The sweetest of smiles received my new offering. She extended her hand, and in touching it I felt my heart melt like a lump of lead in a furnace. The nuptial present was accepted, and Méré and Moianqa ran off, full of joy, to announce the good news to Emai. If any one had proposed to me that evening to transport me to China, to the porcelain palace of the Emperor, and give me the celestial princess, his daughter, for a wife, with a hundred mandarins, decorated with crystal buttons, to serve me - I should have refused.

The next day the surgeon returned loaded with plants, more or less dry. He had the air of an ambulating hay-stack. His chief and mine, Kuro and Emai, agreed to celebrate his return and my marriage by a splendid festival. They had just surprised a young slave in the very act of stealing and they determined to put her to death for this solemnity. It was done, although I protested, that we had a fine dinner already and that I should not taste of her.

In fact, I assure you, that even at the risk of disobliging our chiefs, who had put themselves to so much expense to entertain us, and the risk, also, of offending Tatea, who considered my repugnance absurd, it was in vain that they offered me the finest shoulder of the slave, served upon a fern leaf, and surrounded by succulent kopances; it was impossible for me to touch it. Our education in Europe is truly singular! - I am ashamed of it. But this feeling of horror for human flesh is inculcated in our infancy, becomes a second nature, and it is of no use to strive to counteract it. The surgeon had attempted, by way of bravado, to taste the shoulder which I had refused, but a violent nauseau soon punished him for the experiment, to the great wrath of Kaé, the cook of the chief, whose professional pride was thus wounded. But my first two loves, my dear Tatea, Koro, and my father-in-law, soon quieted him, by the distinguished homage which they rendered to his culinary skill.

After dinner, the surgeon presented a bottle of brandy, which he had with him, to Emai, who, after tasting it, said with a grave air:

Ko tinga ma, hia ou owe.
(May you be well and happy.)

So natural is the use of toasts, with which the English are sometimes reproached. Koro imitated him, and, turning to me, repeated the benevolent wish of Emai, Méré and Moinqa regarded me with a tender air. Then, while the chiefs smoked some pinches of tobacco which the bride had generously given them from the little cask, Tatea sat by my side, and, leaning her head upon my shoulder, sang in my ear three couplets, whose refrain I shall never forget:

E takowe e o mo tokoo mei rangui,
Ka ta! Hi reira, akou rangui auraki.

(When you have arrived at that distant port, to which you will one day go, my heart shall still be with you.)

Shame on our cold music, our rough melody, our heavy harmony, our songs of the Cyclops!!! When shall we find in Europe that mysterious voice of an enamoured bird, whose secret murmur made all my being thrill with a new and fearful pleasure? What tones of a harp could initate it? What delicate tissue of harmonic sounds could give an idea of it? And that refrain, so melancholy, in which Tatea, by a strange caprice, associating the expression of her love with the thought of our separation, spoke of the distant port to which her love would follow me.

Beloved Tatea! Sweet bird! Even while singing, as a Bengali sings at noon in the thicket, she twines around my neck, with the left hand, a long tress of her resplendent black hair, while, with the right, she played with the little white bones of the foot of the slave which she had just eaten! - Fascinating mixture of love, simplicity and reverie - could the old world ever suspect such poetry? Shakspeare, Beethoven, Byron, Weber, Moore, Shelley, Tennisony - ye are all mere prosaists.

Many similar days passed. They became, before I was aware of it, weeks and months. I had forgotten the world and Eogland, when the frigate re-appeared in the bay and reminded me, that there was a port to which I must go. Strange to say, after the first shudder, which the sight of her caused me, I felt some courage to depart. The sight of the English flag floating from the mast produced on me the effect of the diamond buckle upon Renaud, and it appeared possible, if not easy, to tear myself from the arms of my Armidas. But at the aunouncement of my departure, what tears, what despair, what convulsions! Tatea appeared at first most resigned. But when the yawl of the frigate approached the shore, when the surgeon entered and waited for me, when I had made my last presents to Emai and Koro, she threw herself at my feet, and conjured ue to grant her one proof of love - the last strange proof which I should have suspected. "Yes, yes, everything," said I, raising her and pressing her franti-[113]cally in my arms - "what will you have? my musket? my powder and shot? take all, is not everything that I have thine?" She shook her head. Then snatching a knife from her father, who stood a quiet witness of our audience, she put the point of it to my breast, and not being able to speak she made signs that she wished to make a mark there. I consented. With two strokes she made a cross incision, from which the blood spouted in streams. The poor child immediately threw herself upon my bosom, with cries and sobs, and applied her lips, her cheek, her throat, her hair, to imbibe my blood, mingled with her tears. O old England, I proved that day how much I loved you.

Méré and Moinqa had thrown themselves into the sea, before the departure of the boat. I found them by the side-ladder of the frigate. Another scene, other heart rending cries. It was in vain that I kept my eyes fixed upon the British flag - for a moment my strength failed me. I had left Tatea fainting on the shore, at my feet were the two other dear creacreatures, swimming with one hand and with the other making signs of farewell, and repeating in a moaning tone, O Walla! Walla! (It was their mode of pronouncing my name.) What efforts I made to mount the ladder! At each round my limbs seemed to give way under me. When I reached the deck, I could no longer control myself. I turned, and was about to leap into the water to swim to shore, to embrace my three loves, to fly with them inland, and let the frigate depart, loaded with my maledictions, when the captain, suspecting my intention, made a sign to the regimental band on board, which immediately struck up Rule Brittannia [sic]. I experienced a violent and sudden revulsion of feeling. I rushed half insane into the cabin, where I remained until evening, extended upon the floor, more dead than alive. When I came to myself, my first movement was to reach the deck. We were already far from shore. No land in sight. Nothing but sea and sky. My chest still bled. Wishing to render the seal ineffaceable, I introduced some powder into the wound, a species of tattooing which I had learned from Emai. It succeeded perfectly - see (said Wallace opening his shirt and showing me a large blue cross,) this means Tatea in the New Zealand language. If you can catch a European capable of such an idea - I permit you to believe in her affection and implore you to remain faithful to her.

It would have been difficult for Wallace to carry his confidence further that night. He did not weep, but his eyes were bloodshot, his lips foamed; he placed himself before a mirror, and remained a long time, contemplating the signature of Tatea. It was three o'clock in the morning. I returned home, but did not sleep without making reflections on the hospitality of New Zealand warriors, on the prejudices of Europeans about slaves, on the influences of little casks of tobacco, on polygamy, and on the savage and unbridled patriotism of the English.

Two or three years after, Wallace left London, with the intention of making the tour of the world, with the intention of amusing himself, he said: but, as I suspected, with the intention of seeing New Zealand once more. For some reason of which I am ignorant he has stopped in New York, where he has re-resigned himself to live stupidly among a people plunged in the most profound civilization.

I would give much to know if the tattooing on his chest is yet visible. Poor Tatea, I fear you did not bury the knife deep enough!

Still, I would say across the Atlantic; Bon jour, my dear Wallace. Do you think that I have been guilty of a breach of confidence in publishing your Odyssey? I wager no.


Guernsey 1865

[Wellington Guernsey], "WILLIAM VINCENT WALLACE", Dwight's Journal of Music (11 November 1865), 131-32 (DIGITISED)

Wellington Guernsey, "WILLIAM VINCENT WALLACE", The Sydney Morning Herald (28 December 1865), 3



Born at Waterford, June 1st, 1814,
Died at the Chateau de Bagen, Haute Garonne, France,
12th October, I865.
Requiscat in Pace.
(From the Musical World, October 21.)

DEATH has been busy for the last year among the children of genius, as well as among the great ones of the earth. Of the many who have fallen, the loss of no one inflicts a greater pang upon the heart of those who recognise his wonderful genius, as well as lauded him for his virtues, than that of whom we have the melancholy duty this day to record the death, William Vincent Wallace, the composer, leaving a widow and family to bewail an irreparable loss. Mr. Wallace, apart from his professional acquirements, was a most exemplary man. Quick in the perception of character, and an excellent linguist, he was also well stored with information from travelling, and reading German, Italian, French, and English literature; brilliant in conversational powers; a most affectionate parent and warm-hearted hospitable friend; and, take him all in all, we shall rarely find his equal.

The intelligence received from the South of France of the death of William V. Wallace, though expected from his lengthened illness, spread universal grief and commiseration throughout the musical community of the metropolis. It is on recovering from a blow like the present, when we are enabled to contemplate the void which Wallace leaves in his art, that we truly appreciate his position and influence. The hand of death is an unerring index to service and desert.

It is difficult to state when art begins in one whom God has gifted with genius; its principles, unrecognised, are present when consciousness begins to dawn upon the infant mind, and everything within and without tends, at first indirectly, to develop the innate susceptibility to impressions of the beautiful, from which all true music springs, it is certain where true genius exists, its very earliest years are susceptible to the most rapturous sensations from musical sounds. It may be that the gifted one is unable to combine the musical ideas it dwells so doatingly upon; it may be also that it cannot analyse the motions which shake the young heart with a fullness of delight; but the soul recognises the harmony, which is a principle of its existence - an essence of its being, and the mystic spring is unsealed from whence in after years shall flow the streams of melody that will immortalise a name, and make posterity its debtor.

William Vincent Wallace was born in Ireland, in the city of Waterford. His father, Mr. William Wallace, was band master of the 29th regiment of the line, and was a most excellent and practical musician, playing nearly every instrument in the band, besides stringed instruments, and the pianoforte. The young Wallace displayed a wonderful aptitude to excel his father in all these accomplishments, and was highly encouraged and patronised by the colonel of the 29th, the late Sir John Buchan, who ever remained a steadfast friend to Wallace in his early career. At the age of fifteen he could handle, with considerable mastery, nearly every instrument in the orchestra, and could play with extraordinary excellence the piano-forte, the violin, the clarionet, and the guitar. Nor was this a display of mere mechanical facility. His great store of mechanical power was practically applied, for he had written numerous compositions, fantasies, marches, &c, &c, for his father's and other military bands.

Before the period at which we have commenced his history - at this period, when only fifteen, though a young leader, yet an old musician, he was appointed organist of Thurles Cathedral, where he only remained a short period, when he returned to Dublin, where his position as leader of the theatre and concerts brought him in contact with all the musical celebrities of that day, and where his musical purposes were much strengthened by the kind encouragement and judicious commendations of Ferdinand Ries, Paganini, and others.

For three years he occupied a high musical position in Dublin, and had the honour of directing the first performance of Beethoven's "Mount of Olives" in Ireland. At the age of eighteen his strength seemed to sink under the pressure of his many studies and pressing engagements. He made up his mind to emigrate to New South Wales. For a long period after his arrival in that country, he literally plunged into the bush. But for one characteristic circumstance the world might never have known Wallace as a composer; but as a sheep farmer telling the hoards of wealth they produce, or, perhaps, as a digger of gold at Bathurst.

During one of his brief visits to Sydney, from the banks of the Darling, where he resided, he was, invited by some friends to attend a musical party. He went, little dreaming how that evening was to influence his destiny for ever, and to add another name to the bright list of musical celebrities. When he entered the room he saw four gentlemen seated round a table working away, with greater will than power, at a quartet by Haydn. All the music slumbering at his heart seemed to spring at once into vivid life, and he became possessed with the great musical desire; Much to the gratification of the party he played the first violin to the next quartet, and so they played on till morning. The fame of his performance spread through Sydney like wildfire, and, reaching the ears of the Governor, Sir Richard Bourke, of Limerick, he persuaded Wallace to give a concert, to which he consented. His success was great, and Sir Richard, as a mark of his delight, sent him two hundred sheep, which was in that country, and at that time, a princely gift.

After giving several concerts in conjunction with his sister, a vocalist, Madame Bushelle, and conducting several musical performances, a restless desire to travel seized upon him, and, to use an Irish phrase, he became a "roving blade," and wandered, he and his fiddle, into "strange countries." He visited Launceston in Van Diemen's Land, gave several concerts, then went to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, then a very primitive demi-civilised settlement, where he met with many hair-breadth escapes amongst the natives, which we have not space to enumerate. He went on a whaling voyage in a vessel called the "Good Intent," with a crew of half natives, who turned on the European portion at night, murdering all but three, Wallace being one of the number saved. He was landed at the South Island, and again saved from death by the chief's daughter, after it being arranged he was to be dispatched.

From New Zealand he journeyed to the East Indies. With that unconsciousness, or recklessness of danger which was his characteristic in those days, he penetrated far into the interior, visiting the Court of Oude, everywhere delighting by his performance. The late queen behaved most munificently to him, granting him presents of great value in the shape of rupees and diamond rings, and-in those countries he encountered incidents of travel from which nothing but a remarkable coolness and presence of mind could have delivered him. After seeing all he deemed worthy, pig sticking and tiger hunting included, in Nepaul and on the borders of Cashmere, he reached Calcutt, and after a half a day's thought sailed for Valparaiso, in South America.

From thence he went to the city of Santiago, where with the writer of this notice he crossed the majestic cordilleras of the Andes to Buenos Ayres, on horse-back and mule, where their stay on account of the blockade was but brief. They returned in company to Santiago, where he gave several concerts, performing solos on the violin and an old harpsichord that came from Spain in the year 1793. His last concert a Santiago produced him the sum of 3000 dollars paid a the doors in all sorts of specie, and amongst other coin given, the writer recollects two gauchos not having any specie, giving two game cocks for admission which they prized highly, so great was the enthusiasm to hear the great musician. He was assisted by Senora Paquita Robles, a native vocalist, and a young Scotchman who sang "Scotch melodies" to the delight ofthe Chiliens. He here displayed a remarkable evidence of his enthusiasm for art. He had given a pledge to play at a concert on a certain day in Valparaiso, for the benefit of a charity, but some circumstance drove the promise from his memory. Being reminded by his friend, the writer of this, of the fact when it was apparently impossible for him to reach Valparaiso in time, Wallace resolved to ride on horseback the whole of the distance, one hundred and twenty-five miles, to keep faith; and he performed this equestrian feat, with change of horses, in less than eleven hours, and was in time for the concert.

From Chili he went to Peru, and gave a concert at Lima, which produced the large sum of 6000 dollars. He again crossed the Andes, via Rosario, to Buenos Ayres, and visited Havanah, Vera Cruz, Tampico, and the city of Mexico. His success in these cities was very great, and there can be but little doubt that he realised a vast sum of money, more especially in Mexico, where he composed his Grand Mass, which we hope to see published one of these days, for an anniversary fete. It was performed at the Cathedral with immense success several times, and for which he was munificently rewarded by the Government.

He went next to New Orleans, where his triumph was more gratifying than any he had yet achieved, for it was wrung from a highly critical and most exacting audience. So great was the enthusiasm excited at the St. Charles Theatre by the performance of his solo (one of his own compositions) on the violin, that the musicians in the orchestra forgot to play, and laid down their instruments to join in the tumult of applause. Foremost amongst the leaders was his old Dublin friend, Mr. Jack Fallon, the well-known leader in Dublin many years back, who held a distinguished position in the St. Charles orchestra at that time. From New Orleans he journeyed through the Southern States, and his concerts were literally a succession of triumphs.

We remember as well as though it were yesterday, in the year 1844, and it is now nearly twenty-one years ago, being one of a party invited to Colonel James L. Hewitt's rooms, over William Hall and Sons' music store, in New York, to meet Wallace, who had just come from the South. He was then a slim, gentlemanly-looking man, carefully and elegantly dressed. There was high intelligence in his face, but it seemed to lack fire; there was langour in his air, which made us think that the luxurious indolence of the South had become as it were a part of his nature. He seemed dreaming, and the wild romance of his life, which spread abroad, linked half-a-dozen heart-rending love tales with the name of our melancholy musician. He played the piano-his famous Cracovienne was the first piece - and it was generally acknowledged that he was the greatest pianist that had then visited America. But when he took his violin in hand and exhibited such extraordinary mastery over the instrument and such impassionate sentiment, we were one and all carried away with mingled feelings of astonishment and delight. His success in the United States, which fellowed this well-remembered evening, is familiar to all, and we need not reiterate it.

He was looked upon by all as a gifted, wonderful, and eccentric genius, and as a musician of high attainments. His compositions for the instruments which he played were acknowledged as full of originality and power, but no one, we are sure, ever dreamed that William Vincent Wallace would in a few years take his stand amongst the greatest mental musicians of his age; that he would quench,the inspiration of the great executant and stand forth as a creator of enduring works; that he would rise from the chrysalis of a player to the full-grown stature of a musician - a creator - a composer! But Wallace had dreamed his dream, and came to London full of high aspirations, and prepared to work in that great mill where there were many workers, and some of whom had won the world's good favour. It was a bold push for fortune, for though his nome was well-known, there were many who had the start of him by many years, and there, was no place for him. He had to make, a place for himself; and so he went to work. As a pianist he took a good position at once; but there were many good pianists - some of them the rage-and piano-forte compositions were a drug in the market.

We have often heard Wallace tell how on his first arrival in London, he left some of his compositions with a celebrated publisher in London, and how, on his second visit, they were politely handed back to him. How he on his return home, somewhat discomfited but with an inward consciousness of future greatness, marked on the margin of said pieces, - "refused by - , on such a date," and how after the triumphant success of Maritana, the said publisher came to his lodgings and paid him twenty guineas for one of the very pieces he had formerly refused, even as a gift; and now they had a hearty laugh at the turn of fortune's wheel.

Of Wallace's ability on his arrival in London from New York in 1845, no one entertained a doubt, but few had sounded the depth of his capacity. He determined to write an opera, and that ready writer, Fitzball, adapted the libretto of Don Caesar de Bazan as an opera, in something less than no time. The late Frederick Beale heard that Wallace was writing an opera and visited him just as he had completed the first act. Mr. Beale was himself a good musician and an excellent judge, saw at once that it had sterling merit, made a most liberal arrangement on the spot, and walked off with the score of the first act under his arm. Maritana was produced, and met with success altogether unprecedented, and far, very far, beyond the most sanguine hopes of the composer. It ran close on one hundred nights, and was acknowledged as one of the most successful and meritorious first operas ever produced. His second opera, produced in the season of 1847, Matilda of Hungary, though wedded to a libretto of Bunn's sufficiently heavy and stupid and disgusting to damn the finest music, met with distinguished success and favour, and called forth admiring comments from the best musical writers in England. From the first to the second opera, there was a wondeful mental stride; all evidence of the novice in writing had vanished, and the master had appeared in every movement. The high tone of the music; its variety and fitness for the characters and the situations; its simple and exquisite melodics; its marked dramatic power, and the bold, startling, and exquisite effects in the orchestration, over which the composer showed a perfect grasp and mastery; all these combined to stamp it as a work of high genius and excellence. By this work Wallace achieved a high position in the English musical world, and proved himself one of the leading English operatic composers, and so far ahead that he had few competitors.

In the many English operas written during, the past twenty years, there are countless prominent beauties that the world will not willingly let die; but in many of them there is a want of that character, that strong individuality, which stomps a style, and marks a school. In Matilda of Hungary, these requisites are found, and we believe we do not exaggerate when we say that posterity will recognise in William Vincent Wallace one of the founders of the English operatic school. He was peculiarly fitted to accomplish this. He commenced the labour of his life at a later period than usual; but he commenced in the very prime of his energies, his mind stored full of the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge, which had laid dormant through many years, but which had been thoughtfully matured and strengthened for a great mental effort when the time had come. In his early life he was as we have shown, a hard student; he acquired then all that could be accomplished by chamber study; in orchestral writing he had large practical experience, and he studied the old masters with a loving and appreciative reverence. Here was a store of wealth to rest comparatively dormant, for a series of years, growing richer by its unexpected strength. Here was a mass of material receiving strength, refinement, and maturity, from a life of the wildest and most vivid excitement, amidst the grandest scenes of land and ocean, with a soul keenly alive to all the beauties of the inner and outer life, with art shrined high above all, and encircled by love, adventure, and romance. What wonder when he came to draw upon these resources, that he found the fountain inexhaustible, and that the phantasmagoria of his past life welled out in a sudden stream of delicious thought and fanciful images.

The undoubted success of Wallace's operas in England attracted the attention of the continental musical world, and he received an invitation from Vienna to superintend the production of Maritana. Wallace longed to be heard in Germany, and he started with his scores, and arrived in Vienna. Maritana was most carefully rehearsed and admirably performed, and was received with more public enthusiasm in Vienna than it even met with in London. It was played night after night for many months, and ran through all the German opera houses like an epidemic. Its noble overture to this day is a standard concert overture at public festivals, &c. Whilst in Germany, Wallace found himself everywhere received as one of the noble brotherhood. It was no uncommon thing as he passed from city to city, deeming himself unknown, to be awakened in the night by a serenade, in which the principal themes of his operas were introduced. In such kindly attentions we recognise the true spirit of the gentle craft, and the heart must be cold indeed that does not warm to the fellowship of such people.

Wallace studied most assiduously while in Germany, and wrote the greater part of his opera of "Lurline," which after an interval of fourteen years, was produced under the Pyne and Harrison management in 1860. Its brilliant success must still be fresh in the memory of all our musical readers. He also at the period nearly completed his fourth opera, "The Maid of Zurich," which never appeared, and he sketched out two Italian operas, part of the score of each we heard at Wiesbaden; they were named "Gulnare" and "Olga" - we presume they are in existence amongst his posthumous works. When Wallace left Germany, after a brief visit to London, he went to Paris, where he revelled in the fellowship of the most brilliant musical minds in the world. The great ambition of an operatic composer's life was in a fair way of being realised - he was commissioned to write an opera for the Grand Opera of Paris, a point of the highest ambition with all composers, and one the most difficult for a foreigner to attain.

Now came one of the great misfortunes of his life. Elated with the bright prospect before him, he sought out George [? ], and from him procured a Libretto for his opera. Full of the subject, he began his work, but before he had finished the first number, that calamity, which of all calamities he feared the most, overtook him, and he became nearly blind. The first oculist in France attended him assiduously; week succeded week until they grew into months, and still he remained in total darkness. The anxiety, the torture of mind which he endured during this trying period may be better imagined than described. At length a change for the better was apparent, and a long sea voyage was ordered him as the only means of permanent relief.

So once again he became a wanderer, and in 1849 he arrived in Rio Janeiro. He remained in South America some eight months, and gave several concerts. He played frequently before the Court, and received from the hands of the Emperor a superb diamond ring. Leaving Rio, he visited New Orleans, where, together with Mr. Stackosch, he gave several concerts with wonderful success. From New Orleans Wallace worked his way to New York, through the West, narrowly escaping death by the explosion of the steamer St. Louis, on the river Mississippi, arriving in New York in the summer of 1850. He immediately registered his declaration of intention to become a citizen, and prepared himself, to work upon new operas in hand. He now also entered into a speculation connected with pianoforte-making, which ended for all parties most disastrously; he also joined a tobacco manufactory, which ended in a similar manner.

In 1852 he gave a series of concerts in New York, performing for the last time in America at his sister's [Madame Bouchelle/Bushelle] concert, when he performed on the pianoforte his Cracovienne, his Polka Bravura, and a solo of his own composition, on the violin. He also concluded an engagement with the music-publishing house of Hall and Son, awarding to them the sole right of publishing his works in America. Some of his most popular songs and pieces were written previous to this in America, and published there, for which he received no remuneration whatever, besides the loss of their becoming non-copyright in England.

He shortly after returned to London, where he composed many works, amongst others a cantata written by Mr. Joseph Edward Carpenter, which has not been performed. He was also under engagements to a publishing-house to complete an opera written by that gentleman, entitled The King's Page, which he sketched out; and also a series of songs which he finished, by Carpenter, Challis, etc., - and are published by Duff and Hodgson. In the spring of 1861 the Amber Witch was composed - the most elaborate of all his works, but which, from the nature and formation of the libretto failed to become popular, though containing many morceaux worthy of any composer. Wallace spent more time over this opera in scoring and composing it than any of his previous lyrical works. For months and months, night and day, he worked at it, and we have no hesitation in stating, that it laid the foundation of the cruel disease which carried him off.

Late in the following year, Love's Triumph appeared, and on the 12th October, 1863, the Desert Flower was produced, the last of his acted lyrical works. On these we shall not remark, for they must be vividly remembered by all our readers. He had a most prolific pen, and nothing came from it but was well digested, well considered, polished, and worthy of his reputation. His very trifles gave indisputable evidence of the master hand. We have given in this truly hasty sketch of a great man the principal points of his musical career; we have not had time to work up and colour the narrative, and we have omitted enough of incident and accident to make up an ordinary novel. But the bare outline we have traced of an eventful and valuable life cannot fail to interest all who honour genius, and respect earnest labour, and indomitable perseverance.

He retired to France nearly twelve months back, where he died on Thursday, the 12th instant, at the Chateau de Bagen, Haute Garonne in the Pyrenese. The immediate cause of his death is stated to have been "congestion of the lungs."

Softly sleeps he - pain and sorrow
Burn no longer on his brow
Wearied watchers, ye may leave him,
He will never need you now.

ASSOCIATIONS: Wellington Guernsey (author)

Kendall 1865

Henry Kendall, "W. VINCENT WALLACE", Empire [Sydney, NSW] (28 December 1865), 5 


Not in the fulness of his days:
But like to one who strongly goes
Amid the misty mountain snows
To higher peaks and loftier ways.

And feels the night around him creep,
And thinks to rest until the morn,
Nor knows the drowsy cold forlorn
Shall call on death ere he can sleep:

So he, a little tired, lay down
To rest him for a breathing-space
And wake again. Death came apace,
And found the hoping of renown

Flushing the dreamer's face, the thought
Of future toil and growing gain
And plans of doing planned in vain,
And glorious working marr'd ere wrought.

And death, the pitiless, overspread
A film about the clear blue eyes
That yet reflected high emprise;
The morrow broke on Wallace dead.

His memory in a hundred homes;
His spirit walks the earth agen,
Whenso to longing souls of men
Sweet music like God's whisper comes,

The distant echoes faintly shed
Of Heaven's discourse: so men shall say,
"This strain is his, wrought in his way,
'Tis Wallace." Yet is Wallace dead.

And they will love him in his art,
And rightly: we who knew him more,
Remembering all the grace he wore.
The open hand, the kindly heart,

And those clear earnest eyes, now dim,
That read the further truths aright,
Shall pray for his unusual sight,
With eyes of faith upturn'd to him

Who sweeps the everlasting strings.
And swells with Israfelian tone
The music round the Golden Throne,
The richer for one soul that sings.


Pougin 1866

Arthur Pougin, William-Vincent Wallace: étude biographique et critique (Paris: Alfred Ikelmer & Compagnie, 1866) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

NOTE: The first part of Pougin's account (pages 5-10), up to his first arrival in the United States in 1844, is translated more or less directly from Guernsey's obituary article above, and contains no new or conflicting information at all

Sydney 1872

"William Vincent Wallace, THE EMINENT COMPOSER", Australian Town and Country Journal (30 November 1872), 9 


THE name of William Vincent Wallace, the eminent composer of "Maritana" - the opera in which, under the guidance of Madame Wallace Bushelle, the sister of the composer, a young Australian songstress made a most successful debut last week at the Victoria Theatre - stands pre-eminent in the list of the few English composers in the van of the musical profession.

The subject of this memoir was born on the 11th of March, 1815 [sic, 11 March 1812], at Waterford, where his father was stationed with his regiment, the 29th or "Queen's Own," of which he was band master. Wallace's mother was the daughter of an architect in Limerick, and the colonel of the regiment, Sir John Buchan, was his godfather. At a very early age the child showed a great disposition for music, and endeavoured to imitate the sounds of the instruments he heard played in the band. To encourage this talent, his father - who was acknowledged to be one of the best players on the clarionet and several other instruments - bought him, when he was six years old, a kit, or small violin, and used to tie it to his arm while he practised. At nine years old he thoroughly understood the principles of thorough-bass, and could arrange for his father's band any subject given him. He was at the same time learning the clarionet and the flute, and was practising the piano, principally under the care of his father.

When Wallace was fourteen years of age his father left the army, removed his family to Dublin, and placed his son in the orchestra of the Hawkins-street Theatre, he himself playing the first clarionet, and another younger son, Wellington Wallace, playing the flute beside the renowned Nicholson, who used to say that he need not be uneasy if he stayed at a dinner party, for little Wallace could take his place. At this time the renowned Pasta, Catalani, and other artists visited Dublin, always noted for its support of the musical art - bringing with them their own conductor, Signor Spagnoletti; but he, having to return to Italy to fulfill an engagement, recommended young Wallace as the most capable of taking the direction of the orchestra. He was then only sixteen years of age; to the labour of rehearsing by day in addition to conducting at night, he frequently practised in the theatre for some hours after the performance was over. He used often to relate how at these midnight musical performances his audience consisted of a rat, that used to come and sit at the end of the long table at which he played, till they became quite good friends. Young Wallace was also at this time leader of the Anacreontic Concerts, and practised the piano till he had mastered the difficulties of the instrument.

After two years of this hard labour, his health began to fail; his father fearing the consequences, withdrew him from the scene of this toil, and made an engagement for him as organist at the Catholic Church at Thurles, and teacher of singing and the pianoforte at the Ursuline Convent, where he at the same time placed for her education, his daughter Eliza, now Madame Bushelle, of this city, who then, at ten years of age, surprised the sisters of the convent on her introduction to them by playing (at her father's request,) one of De Beriot's solos on the violin, and singing the air, "Di piacer" from La Gazza Ladra.

Wallace's first effort of any importance in composition was an "O salutaris," written for his sister to sing at the church. On his return to Dublin, two years afterwards, his health, though improved, was still delicate, and he was recommended to try a sea-voyage, to which his inclinations had a decided tendency. His mother's sister had married a Mr. Andrew Ellard, who, with his family, had emigrated to Australia, and settled in Sydney. His children were Mrs. Logan, who still ranks as one of the most thorough teachers of the pianoforte in the colony, and Mr. Frank Ellard, who kept the only music shop then in Sydney. Knowing that his relations were anxious to see him here, young Wallace undertook the voyage, followed within two months by his brother, his sister, and his father, who felt too anxious about him to bear the separation. This was fortunate for Wallace, as from the scarcity of public artists at that time, he found a great difficulty in giving concerts. He remained in Sydney about a year [recte 2 years]. Who that was living in this city, thirty years ago, and is still here, does not remember those delightful musical evenings in which he mmself played violin and piano solos, his brother delighting everyone by his exquisite flute-playing, his sister and Mr. Bushelle, subsequently his brother-in-law, being the principal vocalists.

Whilst in Sydney, Wallace gave instruction on the pianoforte, in families of the highest distinction, who were anxious to avail them selves of nis talents, - amongst them were the ladies of Sir Alfred Stephen's family, Judge Josephson, Lady Mitchell, the sister of Sir William Macarthur, Lady Parker, and many others. It was whilst here that he laid the foundation of his future fame as a composer, and wrote many of the pieces which subsequently found a place in his opora of "Maritana."

Desirous of aiding in the completion of the old St. Mary's Cathedral, he gave a grand concert, at which the several members of his family assisted. The tickets were a guinea each, and a thousand pounds are said to have been cleared on the occasion. The concert was repeated shortly afterwards, when a similar sum was realised.

Finding that the genial climate of Australia had quite restored his health, and being desirous of humouring his bent for travel, and, ultimately, continuing his studies and professional career in the great capitals of art, he left this country for India right through to Nepaul whence he made his way to Valparaiso. He passed many years of his life in South America and Mexico, visiting Buenos Ayres, Vera Cruz, Havannah, and closing his American travels by a residence of some length at New York, giving concerts, writing down his musical thoughts, and acquiring a knowledge of the Spanish and French, languages in which he became thoroughly proficient, and gaining renown everywhere by his brilliant performances on the piano and violin.

In 1845 he arrived in London, whither his name had preceded him; and he immediately took his place among the ablest virtuosi of the day. He now made his first essay in dramatic composition by the production of "Maritana," which was performed at Drury Lane, under the management of Mr. Bunn, and met with extraordinary success, having had an uninterrupted run of nearly a hundred nights. The libretto, was written at his own request, by Mr. Edward Fitzball, on the subject of Don Caasar de Bazan which he had seen at the theatre a few evenings before. Miss Romer and Harrison, the tenor, took the principal characters. Soon after he received an invitation to superintend its representation in a German version, at the Theatre "An der Wien," in Vienna. The part of Don Jose de Santarem was taken by the renowned Staudigl. He complied, and "Maritana" was received with, as much enthusiasm in the Austrian capital as in London. His sister, who had become a widow at the early age of twenty-one, accompanied him to Vienna, having been engaged (by Mendelssohn when in London) to sing in the " Elijah" under the composer's own direction; but on the day when that gifted musician was to arrive in the Austrian capital the sad news of his death was announced.

The avtists of the Viennese theatre, with others, presented Wallace on the stage in public with a copy of "Maritana" with the German text. Whilst visiting Brussels on his way to Germany, King Leopold presented him with a magnificent diamond ring, and sent him an autograph letter acknowledging the dedication of his opera "Matilda of Hungary." It was then that he commenced writing "Lurline;" indeed, he went up the Rhine expressly to see the noted "Lurleiberg," the scene of the libretto. In the meantime his second opera, "Matilda of Hungary," was produced in London, and was regarded by many critics as of equal merit with "Maritana." "Lurline" was not produced till eleven years afterwards, in consequence of the difficulty of finding an English prima donna capable of sustaining the principle role.

After leaving Germany, Wallace returned to London and then went to Paris, where he was engaged to compose a work for the Grand Opera, when he was seized with a complaint in the eyes, and remained for several months nearly blind. A long sea-voyage being recommended by his medical attendants, he sailed, in 1850, for Rio Janeiro, with his sister, and the celebrated pianeste, Helene Stoepel, (who remained his firmest friend until his death), all three uniting in giving concerts with the renowned violinist, Signor Sivori. Hence he went to New Orleans and New York, making his home in the latter city for a period of ten years, visiting England at intervals, occupying himself in writing for the Harrison-Pyne company, and subsequently for Madame Lemmens-Sherrington and Sims Reeves, his operas "Lurline" (produced in 1860), "The Amber Witch," "Love's Triumph," and "The Desert Flower." These, his numerous songs, and pieces for the pianoforte, which are well known to the public of Europe and Australia, have given him a place in the highest rank of musicians. In 1864 Wallace went to Paris, and was soon afterwards attacked by the long and lingering malady which terminated his life. For some months he resided at Passy, near Paris, where he received the utmost warmth and kindness by the greatest artists of the day, Rossini sitting with him for hours daily, and the sisters Adelina and Carlotta Patti solacing him in his illness, and employing every spare moment at his side. Having sought a milder climate in the south of France, he died at the Chateau de Bagen, in the Pyrenees, (whither he was accompanied by his nephew, Mr. John Bushelle,) on the 12th of October, 1865, in his fifty second year, deeply regretted by all who knew him, for his virtuous and amiable qualities.

ASSOCIATIONS (Ireland and England): Charles Nicholson (flute); Giuditta Pasta (vocalist); Angelica Catalani (vocalist); Paolo Spagnoletti (violin)

ASSOCIATIONS (Australia): John Bushelle (future brother-in-law); Andrew Ellard (uncle by marriage); Maria Logan (cousin); Francis Ellard (cousin); John Butler Bushelle (nephew)

Heaton 1879

John Henniker Heaton, Australian dictionary of dates and men of the time . . . to May, 1879 (Sydney: George Robertson, 1879), part 1: 212; part 2: 168 (DIGITISED)

[part 1 202] WALLACE, William Vincent, born at Waterford, March 11, 1815. His father was Bandmaster of the 29th Regiment. When William Wallace was fourteen years of age he was placed in the orchestra of the Hawkins-street Theatre, Dublin. He even took the direction of the orchestra in 1831, but his health beginning to fail under these labours his father obtained him an engagement in the Roman Catholic church, Thurles. Here he composed an "O Salutaris." In 1833, being still delicate, a sea voyage was recommended, and he came to Sydney, where he resided as teacher of music. Here, too, he was joined by his sister Eliza, a vocalist of great excellence, with whom he afterwards gave several concerts through the colonies, and who subsequently married Mr. John Bushelle, also a singer of reputation. Whilst here he gave a concert in aid of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, by which £1,000 was realized. Finding his health re-established he indulged his love of travelling, and visited India, South America, and Mexico, making New York his residence for a time. In 1845 he returned to London, and there complete his opera of "Maritana," a great portion of which had been scored in Sydney. This work at once established his fame as a composer. This was followed by "Matilda of Hungary," but being seized with a complaint of the eyes in 1850, a sea voyage was recommended and he went to Rio Janeiro, whence he proceeded to New Orleans and New York, in which latter city he resided for ten years, occupying himself in composing "The Amber Witch," "Lurline," "Love's Triumph," and "The Desert Flower." In 1864 he went to Paris, and was there attacked by the illness which terminated his life, Oct. 12, 1865. (DIGITISED)

[Part 2 168] Vincent Wallace left Sydney Feb. 14, 1838 . . . Eliza Wallace Bushelle, died, August, 1878. She was the daughter of Mr. Wallace, for many years bandmaster to the 29th Regiment, and sister of the late Mr. Vincent Wallace, the composer. At ten years of age she was able to play difficult airs on the violin, and possessed remarkable vocal ability. About the year 1843 she appeared at Sydney, at public concerts, in company with her brother and Mr. John Bushelle, the latter of whom she subsequently married. At the early age of 21 she became a widow, and returning to Europe with her brother, was engage by Mendelssohn to sing in the "Elijah" at Vienna. After fulfilling a series of engagements in Europe and America, she again came to Australia, about the year 1864, and settled in Sydney as a teacher of music, in which capacity she was remarkably successful.

Jones 1881

"The Biographer. William Vincent Wallace, the composer, BY ALCIPHRON JONES", The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (19 March 1881), 446 

Australia had the sombre distinction in most parts of Great Britain and Ireland, half a century ago, of being little better than a terra incognita, while its capital was not as widely known throughout the world as the bay over there at Botany. Curiously enough, a few years later, it began to attract attention, and its history soon became associated with the career of men distinguished in many ways. First, we have the "bead-roll" of Governors - from Sir Richard Bourke to the Right Honorable gentleman now the Sovereign's representative, not overlooking those who have exercised constitutional rule in the neighbouring colonies; secondly, a long series of distinguished ecclesiastics (leaving no denomination out of account) has creditably contributed to the moral elevation of the community. Then follow the learned bands of lawyers, who have shed a halo on our Courts of Justice, and reburnished English Jurisprudence by adapting it to the needs of a "new Britannia in another world." It is needless to dwell on our array of statesmen, shaped and coloured by the circumstances of their colonial surroundings - of the scientific men and scientists, whose reputation is wider than the bounds of New Holland - of the sturdy immigrants who have founded homes and established families on the island-continent. In this rapid glance we intentionally avoid taking notice of the contributions to science, art, and literature by the native-born population - that is subject matter for future consideration. Now of all, not actually sons and daughters of the soil, who have made any part of Australia temporarily their homes, whose fame most quickly touch the chords of sensibility in the heart of the people? Unquestionably those children of genius, whose real worth, was not known till they left our shores, but whose reputation is now as dear to us as if it had been achieved in our midst. Is not Victoria proud of her associations with the names of Summers and Chavalier; and are not we of New South Wales (somewhat less confidently) proud of ours with those of Woolner and Terry? It is useless to allude to the gay and sweet-voiced "birds of passage" - the "bright particular stars" of the stage lyrical and dramatic, who are endearing memories of the past - because although they refined public taste and raised public aspirations to a higher ideal, their stay was all too short to permanently stimulate the esthetic powers of the community. But of all who have sojourned amongst us there is probably not one - referring to the laurelled princes of art - whose splendid success brings a truer thrill of gratification to an Australian breast than that of William Vincent Wallace, the composer of "Maritana," "Matilda of Hungary," "Lurline," and other masterly contributions to the musical libraries of the world.

The Muse that gave Wallace at his birth his special gift of genius - creative lyrical powers - was unable or unwilling to bestow on him a sound physical constitution, or a temperament which could control sudden impulses of character. His whole life is an illustration of success in spite of fortune and of himself. His father was a good musician, the band-master for years of the 29th Regiment, and the friend of his colonel, the late Sir John Buchan, who ever admired his ability and solidity of character. The few, now living, who remember him as a shop-keeper in Parramatta, will hardly have for gotten his steadfastness of purpose, his stateliness of manner, uniform urbanity, and the honourable pride he took in the musical development of his children. His eldest son, the subject of this notice, was born at Waterford, in Ireland, on the 11th March, 1815, and at an early age gave manifestations of an ability which only required ordinary cultivation to render it remark able. Though constitutionally delicate, dreamy, and often mentally shadowed with presentiments of future responsibility, he found in music not only a relief from physical debility and mental depression, but a source of the purest enjoyment. He was, in the seventh year of his age, a child-prodigy as an executant on the pianoforte; but it was "the brisk awakening viol," whose "sweet entrancing voice he loved the best," that awakened in his soul the purest passion of his life - a thorough love of music for its own sweet self. In the fourteenth year of his age, he was placed in the orchestra of Hawkins-street theatre, Dublin, where in a short time he acquired a wonderful mechanical mastery over half-a-dozen instruments; but his forte was not mechanical mastery, or mere skill only - he gave early proof of the inspirational agencies at work in his brain, and composed marches, fantasias, and ballads, which at once won distinguished recognition. While yet a mere youth he was appointed organist of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Thurles, and for a time gave up the best powers of his mind to sacred music. He was within a year after recalled to Dublin, where he took a good position among the musical celebrities of the time, and appears to have won the esteem of eminent contemporaries, Paganini ard Ferdinand Ries among the rest.

The flame of genius, however, began to prey on the frail body, and he was recommended to try a more genial atmosphere than that of his native land. Accordingly, after conducting the first performance in Ireland of Beethoven's "Mount of Olives" he emigrated to Tasmania, where he arrived towards the close of 1833 [sic, 1835]. Here it may as well be premised that the Australian portion of the career has been gathered by the writer from the most reliable sources, from persons who were intimately acquainted with Mr. Wallace, many of whom are still living, some few of them not five hundred yards from the place in which these lines are being written. This assurance is the more necessary as there are numerous inaccuracies in the account, published soon after the great composer's death by his friend Mr. Wellington Guernsey, in the Musical World, of October 31, 1865. That writer throws, or attempts to throw, a halo of romance over Mr. Wallace's life, which its facts do not justify - which, indeed, they disprove. After a short stay in Tasmania (then Van Diemen's Land), he came on to Sydney, where he soon established himself as a teacher of music, and a director at concerts and at the theatre (the old Vic.). His family - father, brother, wife, and sister - soon after joined him, and he looked upon Sydney as the scene of his future efforts. His musical talents soon gained triumphant recognition, to which accidental causes greatly contributed. Sir Richard Bourke, a patron of every humanising influence that could be brought to bear on colonial Society for its improvement, was then Governor, and the late Honorable John Hubert Plunkett was law-vizier to the Crown, who, besides being eminent in his profession, was a good amateur performer on the violin. He made the acquaintance of Mr. Wallace soon after the arrival of the latter, invited him to his house, where a small philharmonic party was formed, and several delightful musical evenings passed. Mr. Wallace also performed very often at Government House. There is an amiable and distinguished lady not far distant, who could, if she chose to enlighten the public on the subject, bear ample testimony to the delightful entertainments at Government House, of which the young composer was the directing spirit.

Mr. Wallace was at this period in excellent health. He was fair-haired and blue-eyed, of middle height, but rather languid in movement unless when strongly excited. The dreamy far-off look of earlier days had not yet entirely deserted him, and he was at times singularly distrait and absent-minded. He was then, unknown to himself, in the throes of a creative ecstasy - an attempt to combine melody and harmony in absolute completeness, and ally sublimity of conception with the most tender of human emotions. It was then that the first idea of a powerful but pathetic opera took possession of his faculties, and many strong or bright suggestions did he score down in Sydney, which have since boomed or flashed in the most fastidious musical circles of Europe. He was so intent on his professional engagements, and the all absorbing theme of his soul, that he could not find time for the instruction of his sister and younger brother, but his wife (nee Kelly) was an excellent performer on the pianoforte, and had a fair knowledge of vocalization. She gave the rudiments of a sound musical education to both Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Wellington Wallace. The former, about this period, married Mr. Bushell, a professor of languages, of music and singing, and who was probably the most distinguished man in personal appearance that ever trod the streets of Sydney. He was six feet three inches in height, upright in gait, with dark hair and large luminous gray eyes that looked almost black in the shade; and he had a voice said to be equal to that of Lablache, whom in many other respects he resembled. It was to his tuition his wife was indebted for the musical finish which characterised her for years, both as a vocalist and a pianiste. Mr. Wellington Wallace settled at Adelaide, where he married and had a family. At the several concerts, given by William Vincent Wallace in Sydney, he was assisted by Mons. and Madame Gautrot, both accomplished artists, Mrs. Clancy (a cousin of the celebrated George Field, of Bath, and the daughter of an organist of St. Paul's, London), not to mention the principal instrumentalists that took part in those entertainments. The story of his ever having been a squatter, or that Governor Bourke ever gave him a flock of sheep, is almost mythical. It is true Mr. Wallace purchased a small flock of sheep which he pastured near Camden, and his Excellency presented him with a few rams of superior breed; but the thing from the first to last was a mere speculation, suggested by a friend (still living), and the sheep were sold about six months after their purchase at a profit. Sir William Macarthur knows all the facts of this pastoral episode in the life of the great composer, who, when he found his health restored, determined to return to Europe. This purpose he carried into effect in 1843 [sic]; and after many adventures by sea and land - hair-breadth escapes in New Zealand and India, he reached London, where (in 1865 [sic]) he produced "Maritana," the outcome of his musical imaginings in Sydney, and two years later his more matured conception "Matilda of Hungary." The first of these established his fame - the second diffused it over the musical world.

To show how quickly he could shake off his languor, in face of duty or an urgent emergency, may be seen from the following anecdote related by Mr. Guernsey, and which may be accepted as historically true, inasmuch as the narrator was then in South America, the scene of the occurrence:

"His (Wallace's) last concert at Santiago," writes Mr. Guernsey, "produced him the sum of 3000 dollars paid at the door in all sorts of specie, and among other coin given, the writer recollects two gauchos, not having any specie, giving two game-cocks for admission, which they prized highly, so great was the enthusiasm to hear the great musician. He was assisted by Senora Paquita Rohles, a native vocalist, and a young Scotchman. . . . He here displayed a remarkable evidence of his enthusiasm for art. He had given a pledge to play at a concert on a certain day in Valparaiso for the benefit of a charity, but some circumstance drove the promise from his memory. Being reminded by his friend, the writer of this, of the fact when it was apparently impossible to reach Valparaiso in time, Wallace resolved to ride on horse back the whole of the distance, 125 miles, to keep faith; and he performed this equestrian feat, with change of horse, in less than eleven hours, and was in time for the concert. From Chili he went to Peru, and gave a concert at Lima, which procured the large sum of 5000 dollars. He again crossed the Andes, via Rosario, to Buenos Ayres, and visited Havanah, Vera Cruz, Tampico, and the city of Mexico. His success in these cities was very great, and there can be but little doubt that he realized a vast sum of money, more especially in Mexico where he wrote his Grand Mass . . . It was performed at the Cathedral with immense success several times, and for which he was municently rewarded by the Government."

But to return to his triumphs and successes in Europe. Hitherto his compositions glowed with epic conceptions, or melted into strains of exquisite tenderness; but he had not yet invaded the world of fairy mythology. During his residence in Germany the legend romance of the Lurleyberg, which he had wed to immortal music, gave him an opportunity of so doing. He was not satiated - nor, indeed, satisfied - although "Lurline" gave the stamp of immortality to his reputation. Soon afterwards he wrote "The Maid of Zurich," and began two Italian Operas, "Gulnare" and "Olga," which have not been produced - so far as the writer is aware. Probably they were left in an unfinished state. He was constrained to relax his efforts, and he betook himself to Paris, where he became a prince in the society of the sovereign princes of Art. His recuperative powers responded wonderfully to his energy of volition; and he recovered sufficiently to be able to grapple in 1861, with a difficult dramatic subject, which he completely mastered and produced under the title of the "Amber Witch" - the most daring of his efforts, and the least appreciated. The public want petting, not elevation. The perfume of love breathing from "Maritana," and the gush of passion from "Matilda of Hungary," will always gratify large audiences, and deservedly so; but a higher strain - a more unearthly conception - dazes them because of their superstitious tendencies or uncultured minds. Thought, melody, harmony, and crashes of superb instrumentation, as they are found developed and perfected in "The Amber Witch," supply a too strong musical dietary for people who only doat on sentiment, or like a "bit of fun" - even in grand opera. We must draw the curtain between the living figure, whose career we have been tracing, and the reading public.

The great work last alluded to, was followed in 1863, by "Love's Triumph," and the year following by "The Desert Flower," the last of his actual musical creations. What more remains beyond reproducing the news conveyed by electric telegraph - to the poignant grief of hundreds in Australia - that he died of consumption on Thursday, 12th October, 1865, at Chateau de Bagen, Haute Garonne, France.

One of his sons - the only one so far as we can learn - named after his father, survives him, and is an official in the General Post Office, London. While the public periodically enjoy the finest breathings of Wallace's chaste mind and musical soul, it would be an insult to his memory to utter a word of praise that would hint of rhapsody. Let it suffice to acknowledge him to be a perfect master of his art, and facillime princeps in the ranks of English operatic composers.

ASSOCIATIONS: Summers = perhaps Joseph Summers (musician); Nicholas Chevalier (artist); John Hubert Plunkett (lawyer, musical amateur); Joseph and Madame Gautrot (violinist and vocalist); Elizabeth Clancy (vocalist)

Cox 1884

Alfred Cox, Recollections: Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealans (Christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1884), chapter 4, 24-25; chapter 5, 29-31

[24] When I was quite a small boy I used to fancy that my father cared for music, for he seemed proud of my flute-playing, but after his bumping my head against a verandah post for persisting in whistling after he had repeatedly told me not to make a row, I began [25] to be of opinion that he must indeed have been utterly indifferent to the higher kinds of music. Touching my flute-playing, I well remember that when one day I was practising my very hardest, out of school hours, my master came up behind me and said, "Ah, boy, if you were only half as much in earnest over your other lessons as you seem to be over that flute-playing, we should have little fault to find with you." Fifteen years after this encouraging speech was made to me, I ventured to say to my wife, "I think I could sing if I seriously made the attempt." She remarked, "I think you could, if you had a voice." I once heard a married brother say, "Depend upon it, there is no one in this wide world so ready to speak disagreeable (un)truths as one's wife" ...

[29] CHAPTER V. Music - William Vincent Wallace.

I HAVE already spoken of my having been taught to play the flute when I was a youngster. My music-master was Samuel Wallace, an old bandmaster in the 17th Regiment [sic]. He was a charming player, warbling exquisitely on the flute, and playing upon many other instruments nearly as well. He was the father of William Vincent Wallace, the well-known composer, who was a first-class performer on the violin and pianoforte.

The first concert that I ever attended was one given by Wallace the son, in 1837 or 1838. He alone performed at this concert, first on the violin and then on the piano. It is hardly necessary to say that I had never before heard such music. I sat by the side of my dear old grandmother, who, always ready to indulge me, had taken me with her to listen to Wallace's warblings. I was fairly entranced, confessing that I had at last heard something that I could never forget, and I then and there resolved that I would try and become a player myself.

This man, William V. Wallace, who had thus tickled my ears and filled my young soul with indescribable sensations, became, not many years after this, a very great man indeed in the musical world, establishing a reputation that has outlived him. All who know his music, will not be slow to admit that the lovers of melody are under great obligation to this composer. I have not a word to say here of the preference shown by many in these days of musical culture and development to the new school of music becoming fashionable; but I am not myself so far gone in this direction as to have outgrown my love for simple and flowing melody. The best proof of the claims of Wallace to be regarded as a tuneful composer is that his music still lives, is as popular as ever, and holds its own in these days with new works of a host of new writers.

I would like to say a few words as to variety in music. To my mind, that is one of its chief charms. It is calculated to soothe and [30] excite. My own experience prompts me to confess that there are times and seasons when my nerves are thrilled, my heart touched, and my thoughts are raised by sounds sweet and simple; and there are times, also, when my mind or soul, as well as my heart, craves and longs for something fuller and greater, higher and holier. It seems to me strange that anyone should have ever thought it a suitable thing to say that only one class of music should be tolerated and taught. There is a beauty and perfection in natural music, as certainly as there is in music the outcome of cultivation. Not all the world are yet musically educated, and even if they were, there is still a wonderful variety in the many schools of music. Italy represents one; Germany another; France a third; and, let us in all diffidence add, England another. I am not quite sure that in these days, when there is such a craze for culture, so called, and such a passion for something new and startling, that music may not suffer by the many attempts to perfect it. Plain speech, plain writing, simple and natural manners are still in high repute in the world; why not, then, strive to preserve, in all its purity, simple and natural music? Let us have variety in music, as we have it, unquestionably, in all other things. Diversity is a law of Nature. It has been written of the voice, "There are many kinds of voices in the world, and none of these is without signification." May it not as truly be said of music, "there are many kinds of music in the world, and none of these is without power to move us." I should as soon think of maintaining that one class of music only is worthy of being cultivated as that all my friends should be of one age, of one type, or of one nationality. I have had many friends in my time. They have been of all ages and various nationalities, and of different idiosyncracies, and I have loved them none the less in discovering them to have been not cast in the same mould. Were a man to invite me into his orchard and to tell me to help myself to one kind of fruit only, where there was a great abundance and variety, I should not know what to think of him; and were he to show me into his garden blazing with a variety and a profusion of beautiful flowers, and to tell me to fix my gaze upon one sort exclusively, I should wonder at his folly. When men are in a mood to make ornamental plantations, they keep before themselves the necessity of variety, even contrast. And when poets rave about loveliness in women, there are as many to be found praising blue eyes and fair hair as there are [31] those who are ready - on paper - to lay down their lives for a flashing eye and a dark skin. Music in all its varieties is one of heaven's best blessings - without it this world to some of us would be a dreary place to linger in. With music at command, we have always within reach a something to excite or to soothe us. I think and speak of music, of melody and harmony, as of twin sisters. I am enamoured of both, but wedded to neither.

ASSOCIATIONS: Alfred Cox (musical amateur)

Hogan 1887

James Francis Hogan, The Irish in Australia (London: Ward & Downey, 1887), 338-40 (DIGITISED)

. . . It is something to be proud of that the two most popular English operas of the century "The Bohemian Girl," by Michael William Balfe, and "Maritana," by William Vincent Wallace - are the products of Irish musical genius; and it is a fact not generally known that it was in an Australian city, Sydney, that the delightful music of "Maritana " was mainly composed. Wallace seems to have caught a happy inspiration from the serene and sunny skies of Australia, and the lovely surroundings of Sydney, which are reflected in the airiness, the brightness, and the vivacity that distinguish his magnum opus. Though he achieved distinction as a young violinist in Dublin, Wallace seems to have emigrated to Australia in 1835, with the fixed determination of abandoning a musical career, and turning himself into a hard-working pioneer colonist. Anyhow, it is certain that he buried himself for some time in the bush country to the west of Sydney, and it was whilst paying a brief visit to this metropolis that a lucky accident revealed his secret, and opened the eyes of his fellow-colonists to the fact that they had a musical genius of the first order in their midst. The discovery was the [339] turning point of his life. Under the patronage of Sir Richard Bourke, the reigning governor and an admiring compatriot, he gave a concert in Sydney that was so successful from every point of view, as to convince the young Irish emigrant that he had been allowing a God-given talent to lie unproductive. As if to make up for lost time, Wallace now applied himself with much industry to the work of composition in private and violin-playing in public. He travelled professionally through the Australian colonies, and he more than once placed his life in jeopardy by a reckless disregard of necessary precautions, when passing through districts where the natives happened to be in a belligerent humour at the time. On one of those occasions, he was on the point of being sacrificed by a party of Maories who had made him prisoner, and it was only the opportune intercession of the chief's daughter that saved him from a horrible death. After this, his Bohemian temperament prompted him into the eccentricity of embarking on a whaling voyage, and this also was very nearly ending fatally for him. The native crew mutinied in mid-ocean and seized the vessel, and Wallace was one of the four white men who barely escaped with their lives. We next have a glimpse of the wandering minstrel crossing the Andes on the back of a mule, and traversing the whole distance from Valparaiso to Buenos Ayres in this primitive fashion. Other romantic episodes in the chequered career of this erratic genius might be narrated, but, to turn from the man to the music, it is a safe prophecy to assert that many a year will elapse before the works that he has given to the modern lyric stage will cease to charm the popular ear. Such widely-known and such favourite airs as "Let me like a soldier fall," "There is a flower that bloometh," "In happy moments, day by day," "Alas, those [340] chimes," "No, my courage," and "Sainted mother, guide his footsteps," throb with the life-blood of humanity, and will long perpetuate the name and fame of William Vincent Wallace.

ASSOCIATIONS: James Francis Hogan (author)

Brewer 1892

Brewer 1892, The drama and music in New South Wales, 55-57 (DIGITISED)

. . . Mr. Wallace, brother of Vincent Wallace, was also a performer on the flute, and some years after led a theatrical orchestra, playing the violin. Another prominent musician was Leggatt, once in the band, or a regiment [56] stationed in Sydney; his principal instrument was the oboe. The concerts with any pretensions to classical and other high-class music were given by Mrs. Prout and Stephen Marsh, a harpist and composer.

The first era in the musical history of Australia was the unexpected appearance in 1836 of William Vincent Wallace, the celebrated composer of Maritana, Lurline, Matilda of Hungary, and other operas. Wallace came to Sydney unknown as a musician save to a few, went to the bush, and was for a time engaged on a station. He returned to the metropolis, and some friends hearing him play by accident were amazed to discover in a simple immigrant a violinist of the first rank, and at the solicitations of Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of the Colony, he was induced to give a concert, which took place on the 12th February, 1836, and proved a great success. He played his own compositions, both for violin and pianoforte. The tickets for this concert were 7s. 6d. each. He then advertised himself as "Leader of the Anacreontic Society and Professor of Composition of the Royal Society", and commenced teaching. Wallace did not remain long in Sydney. He went to New Zealand, from there he proceeded to South America, passed through a variety of incidents, and then returned to London, where he composed the opera of Maritana, and became famous, not only as an operatic writer, but as a composer of music for the pianoforte, which retains its popularity to this day; his finest being the fantasia on Maritana, seldom performed.

In 1836 the Deane family arrived from Hobart Town, and it is only justice to them to record that they did much towards the introduction of classical music into the concert-room. Mr. Deane, senior, was organist of St. David's Church, Hobart Town, for ten years previous to his making Sydney his home. He was, before his emigration to Tasmania, a performer at the London Philharmonic Society's concerts, and was a sound musician. Miss Deane was a well-cultured vocalist, and a good pianist John Deane (fils) was well known in Sydney as a violinist, sometimes leader and conductor; and Edward Deane made the violoncello his speciality. Vincent Wallace at once availed himself of this valuable addition to the musical profession, and gave concerts in conjunction with the Deanes, at which, it may be said, the first string quartette performances took place. The Deane family long held a foremost position in the musical world of Sydney, and, to the present day, the name is familiar in the concert programmes. They were the first to give promenade concerts in Sydney, at the Royal Hotel, in 1850, an example followed by Mr. Emanuel, a pianist and musical instructor, in 1851. It may be of interest to mention here that the late Mr. W. H. Aldis was a frequent vocalist at concerts given by Mr. Deane. Mr. Aldis' name was connected with the musical history of the colony for forty years. He devoted both time and, money to the advancement of the art; was the friend and adviser of many professional visitors to Sydney; and the large room over his establishment in George-street was often used to introduce artistes to the critics. His eldest daughter, Mrs. Palmer, is well known as an accomplished pianist, and for some years was a soloist at the principal concerts in Sydney; musical talent is inherent in the family.

Vincent Wallace brought out his sister, Miss Wallace, as a vocalist at the concerts given in 1836. Miss Wallace (better known as Madame Wallace-Bushelle) was without doubt the finest of all sopranos that had appeared in Sydney; so well cultured as to become the exponent of many of the brilliant arias of Rossini, Bellini, Weber, and other celebrated composers. Her voice was a pure soprano, clear, flexible, and expressive she was very popular and a great favourite with the ladies, who presented [57] her with a magnificent harp. From the concert-room Miss Wallace rose to an operatic prima donna in Sydney; and after the death of Mr. John Bushelle, senr. (who was a very fine basso), went to England, a widow of 21, and for many years appeared as the heroine in her brother's operas; she also visited America, returned to Sydney in 1861, and devoted herself to teaching singing, for which she was thoroughly competent, having herself studied while in Europe under good masters. Many of the best amateur lady singers during the last twenty-five years were her pupils. Mrs. Wallace-Bushelle died a few years ago. Mr. John Bushelle, her son, was an accomplished singer, with a fine low baritone, and up to the tine of his death was well known as taking a leading part in oratorios and concerts when his health would permit.

ASSOCIATIONS: Francis Campbell Brewer (author); Thomas Leggatt (musician); Stephen Hale Marsh (pianist, harpist, composer); Maria Prout (pianist); John Philip Deane (violinist); Rosalie Deane (pianist, vocalist); John Deane junior (violinist); Edward Smith Deane (cellist); Abraham Emanuel (pianist); William Henry Aldis (amateur vocalist); Hannah Aldis Palmer (pianist)

Pullen 1898

"The Australian Stage. To the Editor of the . . .", Australian Town and Country Journal [Sydney, NSW] (10 September 1898), 6 

Sir, - In your issue of August 20 I notice in your "Answers to Questions" columns a paragraph stating that Vincent Wallace is said to have composed "Maritana" when living in a house in Castlereagh-street, Sydney. I have no doubt this is correct. I am certain he was in Sydney at that time; that is, in 1844 to 1845 or 1846. He was one of the musicians in the orchestra of the old Victoria Theatre, and Mrs. Wallace was one of the stage performers at the same time. As far as my memory serves me, Mrs. Guerin was the first "Maritana," the two brothers Frank and John Howson playing with her, and John Gibbs, the leader of the orchestra. My first recollections of the Victoria Theatre go back to when Mr. Thos. Sims was manager. That was in 1842 or 1843. After him came Mr. Lazar; then John Gordon Griffiths, the best all-round man I ever saw on the stage. I can recolleet Mr. Coppin singing his first "Billy Barlow," and old Mrs. Gibbs, the wife of the leader of the orchestra, singing the "Grand Fancy Ball," composed Just after one of - if not the first - Mayor's fancy dress ball. I was only a youngster then, but with both Mr. Vincent Wallace and his wife I was a favorite, and seeing his name in your paper brought home pleasant old recollections!
- Yours, etc.,
W. T. P.

ASSOCIATIONS: William Toft Pullen (call boy at the Royal Victoria Theatre in the early 1840s); of course, it was not Vincent Wallace that Pullen recalled here, but Spencer Wellington Wallace and his wife Caroline Wallace; other of the correspondent's memories are reliable, however; Royal Victoria Theatre (Sydney); Theodosia Guerin (vocalist); John Howson (vocalist); Frank Howson (vocalist); Eliza and John Gibbs (vocalist and orchestra leader); Thomas Simes (actor, manager); John Lazar (actor, manager); John Gordon Griffiths (actor, manager); George Coppin (actor, vocalist)

Legge 1899

Robin Humphrey Legge, "Wallace, William Vincent", Dictionary of national biography 59 (1899), 116-17,_William_Vincent_(DNB00) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

WALLACE, WILLIAM VINCENT (1813-1865), musical composer, was born at Waterford on 1 July 1813, his father, a Scot, being bandmaster of the 29th regiment and a bassoon-player in the orchestra of the Theatre Royal, Dublin, in which his sons Wellington and Vincent played the second flute and violin respectively. While still quite a lad Vincent Wallace was a masterly player on the pianoforte, clarinet, guitar, and violin. At sixteen years of age he was organist of Thurles Cathedral for a short time (Musical World, 1865, p. 656), and appeared as violinist in a public concert at Dublin in June 1829, and in 1831 at a musical festival there, where he heard Paganini. He was also leader of the Dublin concerts, and played a violin concerto of his own at a Dublin concert in May 1834. In 1834 he began to weary of the limited musical possibilities of the Irish capital, married a daughter of Kelly of Blackrock, and in August 1835 set out for Australia. There he went straight into the bush, devoted some attention to sheep-farming, and practically abandoned music. He also separated from his wife, whom he never saw again. Once when visiting Sydney he attended an evening party, took part casually in a performance of a quartette by Mozart, and so captivated his audience that the governor, Sir John Burke [sic], induced him to give a concert, he himself contributing a present of a hundred sheep by way of payment for his seats.

Then Wallace began his wanderings, an account of part of which Berlioz tells in the second epilogue of his "Soirées de l'Orchestre" (Paris, 1884, p. 413). He visited Tasmania and New Zealand, where he narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of savages, from whom he was saved under romantic circumstances by the chief's daughter. While on a whaling cruise in the South Seas on the Good Intent, the crew of semi-savage New Zealanders mutinied and murdered all the Europeans but three, of whom Wallace was one. Proceeding to India, Wallace was highly honoured by the begum of Oude, and, after wandering there some time and visiting Nepal and Kashmir, he went to Valparaiso at a day's notice, crossed the Andes on a mule, and visited Buenos Ayres; thence to Santiago, where among the receipts of a concert he gave were some gamecocks. For a concert at Lima he realised 1,000l. In Mexico he wrote a "Grand Mass" for a musical fête, which was many times repeated. He invested his considerable savings in pianoforte and tobacco factories in America, which became bankrupt.

In 1845 he was back in London, where at the Hanover Square Rooms he made his English début as a pianist on 3 May (Musical World, 1845, p. 215). In London he renewed his acquaintance with Heyward St. Leger, an old Dublin friend, who introduced him to Fitzball, the result being the opera "Maritana," produced with rare success at Drury Lane on 15 Nov. 1845. "Matilda of Hungary" followed in 1847 with one of the worst librettos in existence, by Alfred Bunn [q. v.] Wallace then went to Germany, with a keen desire to make his name known there, and there he wrote a great deal of pianoforte music. From overwork on a commission to write an opera for the Grand Opéra at Paris, he became almost blind, and to obtain relief he went a voyage to the Americas, where he gave many concerts with good success.

In 1853 he returned to England, and on 23 Feb. 1860 "Lurline" was produced under Pyne and Harrison at Covent Garden, with a success surpassing that of "Maritana." On 28 Feb. 1861 his "Amber Witch" was brought out at Her Majesty's, an opera which Wallace deemed his best work, and was followed in 1862 and 1863 by "Love's Triumph" (Covent Garden, 3 Nov.) and "The Desert Flower" (Covent Garden, 12 Oct.) His last work was an unfinished opera called "Estrella." He died at Château de Bagen, in the Pyrenees, on 12 Oct. 1865 (and was buried at Kensal Green on 23 Oct.), leaving a widow (née Hélène Stoepel, a pianist) and two children in indigent circumstances.

Wallace was a good pianist, and a linguist of considerable attainments. The list of his compositions fills upwards of a hundred pages of the "British Museum Catalogue."

[Authorities quoted in the text; American Cyclopaedia of Music and Musicians, the article in which is by a personal friend of Wallace; Pougin's William Vincent Wallace: Étude Biographique et Critique, Paris, 1866; Athenaeum, 1865, p. 542; Choir and Musical Record, 1865, p. 75, where Rimbault errs in most of his dates; Musical World, 1865, p. 656, art. written by a fellow traveller of Wallace; Musical Opinion, 1888, p. 64 (which quotes an article by Dr. Spark from the Yorkshire Post); Grove's Dict. of Music and Musicians; manuscript Life of Wallace by W. H. Grattan Flood; a condensed list of Wallace's compositions is given in Stratton and Brown's British Musical Biography.]

20th and 21st centuries

Flood 1912

W. H. Grattan Flood, William Vincent Wallace, a memoir (Waterford: "The Waterford News", 1912) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

[6] . . . Like his countryman. Balfe - who was born in Dublin in May, 1808 - William Wallace came of a musical ancestry. His father was a native of Ballina, Co. Mayo, although all the musical authorities dub him a "Scotch bandmaster." The army records leave no room for doubt on this point, for in the pay-lists he is described as "of Ballina." A floating tradition has it that he was the first to arrange "The Girl I left behind me" for regimental bands about the year 1811 - but be that as it may, he wooed and won a fair Waterford girl during a brief stay in the Urbs Intacta early in the year 1811; and their first child was born in a house at the corner of Colbeck Street and Lady Lane on March 11th, 1812. In proof of the statement as to the exact date of Wallace's birth in Waterford, the following [7] extract from the Waterford Register is convincing:- "William, the son of William and Elizabeth Wallace, was born March 11th, 1812. Registered, March 15th, 1812, by me, Richard J. Hobson, Curate." It is of interest to add that young Wallace first saw the light in the self same house in which Charles Kean, the great actor, was born a year previously. A few months later the little household was transferred to Ballina, where Wallace's father was a music teacher and instructor of the regimental band. Another son - called Wellington in honour of the Iron Duke, who was then the hero of the Peninsular campaign - was born in Ballina in 1813, and a daughter in the following year.

As early as 1820 young Wallace showed an extraordinary aptitude for music, and his father taught him the clarinet and piano. From the Army records it appears that Wallace père joined the 29th Regiment in 1822, and was promoted Sergeant on August 27th, 1823 - proceeding with the regiment to Waterford in 1825. Sir John Buchan, Colonel of the 29th regiment, proved a generous patron of music, and he took the keenest interest in Master Wallace, whose [8] clarinet playing was particularly good for a boy of 13. No doubt Mrs. Wallace was very glad to be back again among her friends in Waterford, but in April, 1826, there was a flutter in the household owing to the announcement that the 29th regiment was ordered to be in readiness to go to the Mauritius. A family conclave was held, and it was decided that the purchase money should be provided to buy out Wallace père. Accordingly, on April 14th, 1826, there is an entry in the Army records that Sergeant Wallace, bandmaster, was discharged on payment of £20.

Between the years 1825 and 1827 Master Wallace received lessons from Otho Hamilton and John Ringwood, Organist of Waterford Cathedral, as well as from his father, and at the age of 15 was a proficient pianist and organist, as well as an expert violinist; in fact it is stated that on a few occasions he led the regimental band, to the delight of the Colonel.

The spring of the year 1827 found the Wallace family transferred to Dublin, as affording a wider sphere for the musical abilities of Mr. Wallace and his two sons, William and Wellington. Not long afterwards the elder Wallace and Wellington became members of the Orchestra of the Adelphi Theatre (subsequently known as the Queen's [9] Theatre, in Great Brunswick Street), and William was given the post of second violin in the Theatre Royal Orchestra, under the baton of James Barton, the teacher of Balfe.

In 1827 Master Wallace was regarded as not only a skilful performer on most orchestral instruments but also as a good organist, and he took lessons on the pianoforte from William Sarsfield Conran, and Logier, and organ lessons from Haydn Corri, Organist of the Pro Cathedral, Marlboro' Street, also studying orchestration with Phelps MacDonald.

On a few occasions in the year 1828 he took Barton's place as leader of the Orchestra - a fact which was told me by one who played off the same desk with him, the late Mr. R. M. Leveyand was complimented on his playing by Madame Catalani during her two visits to Dublin in 1829. Ten months later he made his Dublin debut at a fashionable amateur concert, playing the violin in Herz and Lafont's "Duo on Russian Airs."

In October, 1829, a strong Italian Opera Company had a successful season at the Theatre Royal in Hawkin's Street, the orchestral leader being the famous Signor Spagnoletti. The late Mr. R. M. Levey, who was leader of the Theatre Orchestra [10] from 1834 to 1880, tells the following anecdote:-

"Signor Spagnoletti, in addition to his great musical genius, had a keen sense of the ridiculous, and frequently amused the members of his orchestra with some witty observation or droll action. On one occasion after rehearsal, he descended from his elevated seat, stooped, and was observed to search closely as if under the music-stand of the violin players. W. Vincent Wallace (who, at this time, played from the same desk as Spagnoletti) asked him what he was looking for, when the Signor replied:- "Ah, for a great many notes which I missed from some of the violin parts. I suppose I shall find them after two or three nights more." He added, at the same time, addressing Wallace - "You didn't drop any." The future eminent composer was a most accomplished violinist, and received much praise and a souvenir from Signor Spagnoletti at the termination of the season."

Alfred Bunn - the "Poet Bunn " as he has been styled in derision - was lessee of the Dublin Theatre from October, 1827 to 1830. To mark the inauguration of Bunn's regime Richard Lalor Shiel wrote a political address, spoken at the old Royal on Saturday, November 25, 1827, by Calcraft. In February, 1830, Macready and Miss Smithson appeared. Miss Smithson subsequently became the wife of Hector Berlioz, the great Irish [sic] [11] composer. Wallace's acquaintance with Bunn stood him in good stead subsequently when Bunn was Manager of Drury Lane, as will be seen.

In January, 1830, the post of Organist of Thurles (Catholic) Cathedral was vacant, and Wallace was asked to make an application for it, doubtless on the recommendation of Haydn Corri. J. W. Glover (grandfather of "Jimmy" Glover, of Drury Lane Theatre) was about to apply for the position, but learning that Wallace was already in the field he did not care to appear as a rival, as he himself told me in 1877. Consequently, Wallace's application was favourably entertained, and he took up his residence in Thurles, being also appointed as Professor of Music at the Ursuline Convent, in that town. The organ had been procured by Archbishop Laffan in 1827, and was then regarded as a very fine instrument. It may be added that the then Superioress of the Ursuline Convent was Sister O'Kearney, a most accomplished lady.

Although Wallace at the time of his appointment to Thurles Cathedral was not quite 18 years of [12] age, he was thoroughly well equipped for the post, and at once he became a favourite, as I was told by some old residents during my stay as Organist of the Cathedral from 1882 to 1884. In particular, the Ursuline Nuns were very kind to the young composer, and by way of return he composed a Mass and some Motets for them. He also composed an "O Salutaris," which he subsequently - perhaps unconsciously - utilised for the first eight bars of" Hear me gentle Maritana." Among the boarders at the Ursuline Convent was a charming Dublin girl, Miss Isabella Kelly, of Frascati, Blackrock, and it so happened that she was one of the first pupils entrusted to the teaching of Wallace. Both being of an impressionable nature, the result was that the young teacher fell head and ears in love with his pupil. It also happened that Miss Kelly's eldest sister, Sister Vincent, was a nun in the Ursuline Convent, and she exerted her influence to prevent any entanglement, all the more as Wallace was a Protestant.

In the autumn of the year 1830 Wallace became a Catholic - some say from conviction, but others from a knowledge that Miss Kelly would not consent to marry him unless he was received into the Church. On his reception as a Catholic he took the additional name of "Vincent," in compliment to Sister Vincent Kelly, thus assuming [13] the name of William Vincent Wallace, which he ever afterwards bore. This information I had from one of the Ursuline Nuns who knew Wallace in 1831.

The fame of Paganini, and the furore created by his engagement at the Dublin Musical Festival in 1831 so preyed on the mind of Wallace that he accepted the offer of sub-leader of the Dublin Theatre Royal Orchestra in August, 1831, and accordingly he left Thurles. His marriage with Miss Isabella Kelly was duly solemnised, and the young couple settled down at No. 11, South William Street, Dublin.

During the month of September, 1831, the Paganini Concerts and the intercourse with Ries, Sir George Smart, Mori, and others, gave a stimulus to Wallace for further musical study, and he sat up many weary nights practising the violin, and essaying various forms of composition. In November, 1833, he became Deputy Leader (for George Stansbury) of the Theatre Royal Orchestra, Stansbury electing to act various theatrical parts with William Farren.

Wallace appeared as a serious composer at a Dublin Anacreontic Concert in May, 1834, playing a Violin Concerto of his own. Previously he had the honour of being leader of the orchestra at the first production of Beethoven's Mount of Olives. During the Italian Opera season of 1834 he was [14] leader, but soon after resigned the post to Mr. R. M. Levey. As a matter of fact the Theatre Royal remained closed from October 10 to December 3rd.

Becoming wearied of Dublin musical life, and feeling his health precarious-being threatened with consumption - Wallace, in August, 1835, accompanied by his wife and her sister and his own sister, set sail for Sydney, New South Wales. It is said that on their long voyage out to Australia he paid such marked attention to his wife's sister that Mrs. Wallace grew intolerably jealous, and on landing at Sydney he parted from his wife whom he never saw again.

Wallace's arrival in Australia was on St. Patrick's Day, 1536, and on the same day the new Catholic Church of St. Patrick's, in Sydney, was founded. He only remained a few days in Sydney, and betook himself to the bush, "far from the madding crowd," where he devoted himself for a time to sheep raising. In the course of a flying visit to Sydney, in the autumn of same year, he was induced to play the violin at a private house His astonishing performance was so well received that Sir Richard Bourke, the Irish Governor of the Colony, prevailed on him to give a public concert, the Governor paying an admission fee of one hundred sheep.

To give a detailed account of Wallace's adventures by land and sea during the years [15] 1837-41 would fill a goodly volume, and would make very spicy reading . . . Here is an extract of his doings as recorded in an American paper of the year 1842, evidently supplied by Wallace himself:-

"From Sydney Mr. Wallace sailed to Van Diemen's Land [sic], and then visited New Zealand, where he engaged in the whale fisheries . . ."

ASSOCIATIONS: William Henry Grattan Flood (author)

De Meurant 1930

Annie de Meurant Mulligan ("adapted by Louise Kelly Mulligan"), "In happy moments, the romance of William Vincent Wallace, composer", unpublished typescript biography, 1930; National Archives of Australia (DIGITISED)

ASSOCIATIONS: Annie De Muerant Mulligan (family historian), daughter of Julia Kelly

DNZB 1940

Guy Scholefield (ed.), A dictionary of New Zealand biography . . . volume 2, M - Addenda (Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs, 1940), 455 (DIGITISED)

WALLACE, WILLIAM VINCENT (1812-65) was born at Waterford, Ireland, the son of William Wallace, bandmaster to the 29th Regiment. At the age of eight he showed aptitude for music and, with the encouragement of his colonel, his father taught him the clarinet and the piano. At the age of 15 Wallace became second violinist at the Theatre Royal, Dublin, under Barton (the teacher of Balfe), and in 1830 he was appointed organist at Thurles cathedral. There he composed a mass [sic] 0 Salutaris which he used later in his opera Maritana. He married Isabella Kelly, of Blackrock, became a Catholic and assumed the name of Vincent. He was now composing freely. In 1835 he visited Australia, but having quarreled with his wife he went into the back country and was employed on sheep stations. He gave very successful concerts in Sydney, travelled widely in New Zealand and on the whaling grounds (1837-41) and in South America and the United States. His musical triumphs continued and when he got to London he planned an opera for which Edward Fitzball gave him the libretto. Maritana was first produced at Drury Lane on 15 Nov 1845 and was an immediate success . . . There seems to be no warrant for the statement frequently made that Wallace composed portion of Maritana while in New Zealand.

[References] T. H. Grattan Flood, William Vincent Wallace, a Memoir (1912); Arthur Pougin, W. Vincent Wallace, etude biographique et critique (1866); J. F. Hogan, The Irish in Australia (1888); Cox; Ward; Otago Witness, 6 Jan 1866; Mennell; A Century of Journalism, p. 576; NZ. Herald, 13 Feb 1875.

Serle 1940

Percival Serle, Dictionary of Australian biography (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1949) (DIGITISED TRANSCRIPT)

WALLACE, WILLIAM VINCENT (1812-1865), musical composer, son of William Wallace, bandmaster in the army, was born at Waterford, Ireland, on 11 March 1812. Both parents were Irish. He showed talent as an organist at Waterford, and as a violinist at Dublin, where he played in a theatre orchestra. At 17 he appeared on the concert platform as a solo violinist. In 1831 he married Isabella Kelly, having previously become a Roman Catholic, and in 1834 he played a concerto of his own composition at a Dublin concert. He went to Australia in 1835 for the sake of his health, gave concerts at Hobart, and going on to Sydney arrived there on 12 January 1836. In February he gave two concerts and appeared as a soloist on the violin, also accompanying all the songs on the piano. He was the first important musician to appear in Australia. He was still in Sydney about the end of 1837, subsequently travelled in Australia and New Zealand and went to South America. He and his wife parted about the time of Wallace's coming to Australia and they did not live together again.

Wallace had many adventures during his travels but in 1840-1 settled in North America. He was a member of the Philharmonic Society at New York about this time, and a little later was conductor at an Italian opera season in Mexico. In 1844 he toured Germany and Holland, found his way to London in March 1845, gave a concert in May, and in November his opera Maritana was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre with much success. Another opera, Matilda of Hungary, now forgotten, was brought out in 1847, and in 1849 he was with a concert party in South America. He was giving concerts in the United States in 1850 with success, but lost his savings by the failure of a pianoforte company in which he was interested at New York. During the eighteen-fifties his instrumental compositions were in much favour in London, and in 1860 his opera Lurline was very successful at Covent Garden. The Amber Witch and other operas followed, but his health was failing, and having been sent to the Pyrenees he died there on 12 October 1865. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London. His wife survived until 1900; his son, Vincent Wallace, died in 1909.

Wallace had a gift for melody and was a most prolific composer. It has sometimes been stated that he wrote the music for Maritana while he was in Sydney, but no evidence for this is available and it appears to have been unlikely.

[References] W. H. G. Flood, The Musical Times, 1912, p. 448; Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. V; P. A. Scholes, The Oxford Companion to Music; Black's Dictionary of Music and Musicians; A Century of Journalism, pp. 576-7. For a discussion of Wallace's alleged second marriage and his religion see The Musical Times, 1912, pp. 595-6. See also A. Pougin's William Vincent Wallace and W. H. G. Flood's William Vincent Wallace A Memoir. | J. F. Hogan's account of Wallace's experiences in Australia (The Irish in Australia, pp. 338-9) is inaccurate.

Hall 1952-54

James Lincoln Hall, "A history of music in Australia . . . [nos. 11-26]" (1951-54), The canon: Australian journal of music

Especially, ". . . 11: Early period - New South Wales, William Vincent Wallace - The 'Australian Paganini'", 5/4 (November 1951), 152-156

Mackerras 1967

Catherine Mackerras, "Wallace, William Vincent (1812-1865)", Australian dictionary of biography 2 (1967) (DIGITISED)

Myers 1980

Kathleen Helyar Myers, William Vincent Wallace: life and works (Ph.D dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, USA, 1980) 

Lawrence 1988

Very Brodsky Lawrence, Strong on music: the New York scene in the days of George Templeton Strong, 1836-1875; volume 1: resonances, 1836-1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 187 note, 189-90 (debut), 211, 222, 224, 243, 274, 523-24 (Maritana, also excerpts, 402, 488), 600 (PREVIEW)

Phelan 1994

Robert Phelan, William Vincent Wallace: a vagabond composer (Waterford: Celtic Publications, 1994) 

Lawrence 1995

Very Brodsky Lawrence, Strong on music: the New York music scene in the days of George Templeton Strong, volume 2: Reverberations, 1850-1856 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 181, passim (PREVIEW)

Brown 2004

Clive Brown, "Wallace, William Vincent", Oxford dictionary of national biography (2004; online 2009) (PAYWALL)

Grant 2008

David Grant, "William Vincent Wallace and Music in Australia 1835-38", in Laurence M. Geary and Andrew J. McCarthy (eds), Ireland, Australia and New Zealand: history, politics and culture (Irish-Australian Conference, 14th, 2005, Cork, Ireland) (Dublin; Portland, Oregon: Irish Academic Press, 2008)

Skinner 2011

Graeme Skinner 2011, Toward a general history of Australian musical composition: first national music, 1788-c. 1860 (Ph.D thesis, University of Sydney, 2011), 23, 26, 31, 36, 39, 40, 44, 45, 48, 86, 89, 90, 94, 113, 122, 124, 126, 127,
128-39, 140, 147, 264, 302, 321, 364, 371, 372, 376, 392, 393, 419, 441, 442, 443, 467, 473, 499, 509, 512 (DIGITISED)

Lamb 2012

Andrew Lamb, William Vincent Wallace: composer, virtuoso and adventurer (West Byfleet: Fullers Wood Press, 2012)

Temperley 2001/2013

Nicholas Temperley, "Wallace, William Vincent", Oxford music online (2001, updated 2013) (PAYWALL)

Crowe 2015

Noelene Beckett Crowe, "Wallace brothers", Mayo Genealogy Group; Irish Community Archive Network, 2015 

Noelene Beckett Crowe, "Eliza Wallace Bushelle", Mayo Genealogy Group; Irish Community Archive Network, 2015

Van Rij 2015

Inge van Rij, The other worlds of Hector Berlioz: travels with the orchestra (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 1-13, 14-55, 320-35, passim (PREVIEW)

Rushen 2018

Liz Rushen, "William Vincent Wallace; celebrated Irish composer", Tipperary studies; posted 8 August 2018 (DIGITISED)


William Vincent Wallace, Wikipedia 

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2021