LAST MODIFIED Monday 18 December 2023 9:43

James Waller (1819-1871), musical amateur, and family

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "James Waller (1819-1871), musical amateur, and family", Australharmony (an online resource toward the early history of music in colonial Australia):; accessed 16 April 2024


Amateur musician, bass-baritone vocalist, pianist, songwriter, composer

Builder and developer (Beaumont and Waller), partner and entrepreneur (Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany)

Born Manchester, England, 1819; baptised Christ church, Manchester, 14 November 1819; son of James WALLER (d. by 1851) and Mary DICKENSON (c. 1790-1868)
Arrived Sydney, 8 August 1826 (free per John Barry, from Plymouth, 2 February and London 20 February)
Married Sarah MUDDLE (1835-1888), St. James's church, Sydney, NSW, 20 September 1853
Died Botany, NSW, 6 February 1871, in his 52nd year (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

WALLER, Sarah (Sarah MUDDLE; Mrs. James WALLER)

Musician, pianist

Born Kent, England, 7 May 1835; daughter of Charles MUDDLE (1806-1857) and Elizabeth COOKE (c. 1803-1870)
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 15 September 1838 (per Woodbridge)
Married James WALLER, St. James's, Sydney, NSW, 20 September 1853
Died Petersham, NSW, 18 January 1888 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

WALLER, James Charles Beaumont (James Charles Beaumont WALLER; James C. B. WALLER)

Amateur musician, vocalist, organist, choirmaster

Born Redfern, NSW, 11 April 1855
Married Emily Anne HARTSHORNE, Burwood, NSW, 1881
Died Strathfield, NSW, 17 June 1920

WALLER, Frank (Frank WALLER)

Baritone vocalist

Born Sydney, NSW, 1857
Married Emma FERGUSON, NSW, 1886
Died Sydney, NSW, 1901


James Waller (Mr. J. Waller) is not to be confused with John Gough Waller (Mr. J. G. Waller), also a longtime leading Sydney business figure, and fellow member of Sydney Philharmonic Society; I have found no evidence that they were related.


James Waller (1819-1871)

"Mr. James Waller", Australian Town and Country Journal (25 February 1871), 9 

James Waller (1819-1871)

James Waller; in "MUSICAL MEMORIES", Sunday Times (7 February 1909), magazine 7 


Baptisms solemnized in the parish of Christ Church, Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, in the year 1819; register 1819, page 345; Manchester Cathedral archive (PAYWALL)

No. 2758 / [1819 Nov'r 14 Sunday / James Son of / James & Mary / Waller / Manch'r / Weaver . . .

Married male and female immigrants and children, Muddle family, per Woodbridge, 15 September 1838; State Records Authority of NSW (PAYWALL)

Charles Muddle / [per] Woodbridge / [Brought out by] Government / . . . Hoop Maker / [age] 31 years 23rd Sept'r 187
Elizabeth Muddle . . . / daughter of John Cooke / . . . [calling] Ladies Maid / 34 years . . . Very delicate . . .
Charles Muddle / 4 years march 1838 // Sarah Muddle / 2 years 7th May 1837

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (27 May 1842), 1 

The Spacious Hall, Sydney College,
WILL be performed THIS EVENING, the 27th May, 1842.
The Overtures and the whole of the Music, expressly arranged for full orchestra (which, by the politeness of Colonel French, will include the Band of the 28th Regiment) by Mr. Nathan. SOPRANOS AND TREBLES.
Madame Gautrot, a Young Lady (whose friends have favoured Mr. Nathan by permitting her to sing in public on this occasion only), the Misses Nathan, Miss F. Pettingell, the Misses Sullivan, Miss Ellison, Miss Jones, Miss Mears, Miss Lynch, Miss Riley, Miss Tuohy, Miss Cochlen, Miss Riely, Master Allen, Master Richards, Master Riley, Masters Tuohy, Master Nathan, and the Masters Weavers.
Monsieur Gautrot, Mr. Worgan, Mr. Whitfield, Mr. Allen, Mr. Richards, Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Nathan.
Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Bridge, Mr. Callaghan, and Mr. Waller . . .

"THE BENEVOLENT ASYLUM", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (4 June 1842), 2 

We are happy to inform our readers that several Amateurs had a meeting at Mr. Waller's on Wednesday night last for the purpose of making arrangements to get up a Concert of sacred music for the benefit of the inmates of the Benevolent Asylum. This laudable undertaking reflects great credit on the gentlemen concerned, and it is to be hoped that their praiseworthy desire to assist the indigent will be crowned with success.

"MUSICAL", The Australian (2 September 1842), 2 

The oratorio in aid of the funds of the Benevolent Society came off, as announced, on Wednesday night; and to say that we were pleased, would but faintly convey our feelings on the subject; we were delighted and astonished. We confess that we previously felt some misgivings that a composition, so difficult as the Messiah, and one requiring such effective management, both in regard to the number and utility of the performers, would prove too great an attempt for the musical powers of our community. We are happy to say that our fears proved to be wholly without foundation, and we express not only our own sentiments, but those of every person with whom we have conversed on the subject, when we say, that the performance as a whole was such as to raise, in a very high degree, the character of our city, with respect to its musical powers . . . We were more particularly pleased with the recitative and song, "For behold darkness shall cover the earth," and "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light," which were sung in great perfection by Mr. Waller. "The trumpet shall sound," would, we have no doubt, have been sung well by Mr. Griffiths, had it not been completely marred by the horn accompaniments, which seem fated never to be played in tune . . .

"THE ORATORIO", The Sydney Morning Herald (19 October 1842), 2 

THE ORATORIO. - The amount handed to the Committee of the Benevolent Society by Mr. Waller, the Treasurer of the Oratorio, after paying all expenses, was £57 8s. 5d.

"MRS BUSHELLE'S CONCERT", The Australian (12 October 1843), 3

. . . Mrs. S. W. Wallace, Mrs. Gibbs, Mr. Waller, Mr. Marsh, and Mr. S. W. Wallace, each and all, deserve a more detailed notice than we can afford to-day . . .

"BOAT ACCIDENT AND NARROW ESCAPE", Morning Chronicle (5 February 1845), 3 

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (15 September 1845), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (16 September 1845), 1 

ROYAL HOTEL. CONCERT. MR. DEANE begs most respectfully to inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of Sydney and its vicinity, that he intends giving a CONCERT OF VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC, At the Royal Hotel, George-street, on WEDNESDAY, 17TH SEPTEMBER, 1845. On which occasion he solicits their patronage. PART I ... 3. Song, "King Death," [Neukomm] with full orchestral accompaniments, arranged by Mr. J. Deane - Mr. Waller ... PART II ... 7. Song, "The Last Man," (by the earnest request of several parties) the orchestral accompaniments by Mr. J. Deane, Callcott. - Mr. Waller . . .

"SCHOOL OF ARTS", The Australian (16 September 1845), 3

SCHOOL OF ARTS. Mr. James Johnson delivered, last evening, at the Theatre of this Institution, the first of a course of Lectures on the History and Science of Music, to a crowded and fashionable audience, who appeared highly pleased with the evening's recreation, more especially with the illustrative part - amongst which the most prominent features were "Leichhardt's Grave," by Mr. Waller; "Hark! hark the Lark!" and "Glorious Apollo." Some illustrations of ancient Greek music were also well received.

"MUSICAL EXAMINER", The Examiner (20 September 1845), 53 

One of the most purely gratifying soirés of the season was that, in the form of a Lecture on Music by Mr. James Johnson, on Monday evening . . . The lecture was a most interesting one, with a fine choir, headed by Mr. Waller, to assist in its illustration and development. The chief pieces were "Pindar's Ode," - " Glorious Apollo," - "Hymn to Calliope," - "Here in Cool Grot," - "Hark the Lark," - "Leichhardt's Grave," - "When I think of the Wrongs he has done me," - one of Paer's choicest gems, abundant of fine thoughts and still finer examples of their treatment - and "Hail to thee Mighty One." . . .

"MUSIC", The Australian (20 September 1845), 3 

Mr. Deane's Concert on Wednesday evening was extremely well attended, and the entertainments were highly satisfactory . . . Mr. Waller's "Last Man" was a very wretched affair. In fact his voice, which is from the head, never had any charms for our ear, and in such an ill-constructed place as the Royal Hotel Saloon, it was particularly unmusical . . .

"THE ORATORIO", The Sydney Morning Herald (25 December 1845), 2 

THE firs and second parts, together with a portion of the third part, of Handel's Messiah, were given at the Victoria Theatre on Tuesday, for the benefit of the Commercial Reading Rooms and Library. The music had been got up under the direction of Messrs. Johnson, and the performers comprised nearly the whole of the available musical skill of the city . . . The chorus, "O thou that tellest," went passably well, but Mr. Waller's "For behold darkness, was a little darker, we apprehend, than the composer could have intended or wished. It is but fair to say that this gentleman was very useful in the choruses, for which alone his voice is fitted . . .

"MR. JOHNSON'S CONCERT", The Australian (17 October 1846), 3

. . . Mr. Waller sang Handel's glorious, "For behold! Darkness shall cover the Earth"; and Pasiello's masterly, "Fall of Zion", spiritedly. Mr. Waller has a fine, mellow-toned bass voice, which, if it had been cultivated, would have qualified him to give effect, and to do justice, to any composition. He is a good timist, and generally sings in tune; but his very defective articulation, and (in particular instances) more than imperfect intonation, resulting from his evident ignorance of the art of managing his voice, disqualify him for solo singing. The vocal organs of the human voice are so beautifully and wonderfully constructed, that in nine hundred and ninety-cases out of a thousand, nature will point out to the singer the best method of producing, or rather, the proper channel through whose influence the various qualities of tone are as it were created; and any infringement on nature's direction for the creation of sound, must occasion impurity of tone. Here then is Mr. Waller's great stumbling block. He does not seem at all conscious that the tones of a bass voice should issue from the chest, (what the Italians term Voce di petto,) and that any attempt, with such quality of voice to produce sounds through the influence of the head - distinguished as Voce di testa - would be almost as preposterous as expecting a horse to trot across the ocean on the surface of the water, or setting a ship down on dry land to sail over the Blue Mountains! Mr. Waller most frightfully disfigures nature, when he aims at artificial sounds - we mean those sounds which he produces so repugnant to the laws of melody, and so excruciatingly revolting to the ear of the unfortunate listener: they are unearthly sounds - not such as we read of in Shakspeare, Pythagoras, and others, as being produced by the spheres above, but more like sounds we might imagine from the Tartarean Palace below. We have no desire to be severe on Mr. Waller. His voice is good, as we before observed, and, at this remote distance from England, invaluable to join in chorus; but we hope he will never again attempt to sing a solo, unless he sings so low that we may not hear him.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (8 September 1848), 1 

MESSRS. BEAUMONT AND WALLER beg respectfully to tender their earnest and most sincere thanks to the ladies and gentlemen who, by their patronage have kindly distinguished their establishment during the last twelve months, and in soliciting a continuance of the same, beg to assure them that the indefatigable care and study of all connected with the establishment will be most assiduously exerted to render it in every respect worthy of their future patronage and support.

Messrs. B. and W. are fully aware that an advertised return of thanks is a manoeuvre to attract attention so generally adopted by all classes of tradesmen as to be looked upon as a mere form of words, with which the writer's sincerity had nothing whatever to do ; but they conceive the fact of their establishment having been honoured by the patronage of the most distinguished individuals in the colony, a circumstance peculiarly demanding the public acknowledgment herein made, and for which they cannot but feel grateful.

Messrs. B. and W. take advantage of this opportunity also to lay before those ladies and gentlemen who have not yet visited the hotel, a short statement of the peculiar claims it possesses over every other establishment of its kind in the colony, and which have concurred to procure for it such pre-eminent distinction, as well as briefly to allude to those particulars which should always be prominent and characteristic features in the management and general conduct of an hotel, the proprietary of which aims at earning the support of the superior classes of society.

Foremost on the list of its peculiarities, stand the many advantages consequent on its unequalled beauty of situation, commanding in a degree to be found nowhere else in the colony, all that is desirable in a marine residence, added to facilities provided for the enjoyment of a country life; these again are materially enhanced by the circumstance of the house being such a distance from the city as would have been chosen had distance been the only object, being something short of an hour's ride or drive, and still sufficiently far to hinder its becoming a rendezvous for that class of persons with whom ladies and gentlemen object to mix. Parties fond of the amusement of boating and fishing will be fully enabled to appreciate the convenience afforded for these purposes by the jetty, which extends one-eighth of a mile into the Bay. thereby ensuring perfect safety and comfort in embarking or disembarking without reference to the state of the tide. The jetty also affords a delightful promenade terminating in a stage on which are erected a sufficient number of seats to accommodate a large party.

A boat will be kept constantly in waiting for the convenience of visitors. Should more than one boat be required it will only be necessary to give a few hours' notice to ensure their attendance. A safe and commodious bathing-house has been erected, with bathing-dresses, &c, when required. The stables are extensive, and afford accommodation for twenty horses. In connexion with the hotel, but sufficiently removed from the main building, to avoid the bustle of business, there is a neat cottage large enough to accommodate a family, and particularly suitable for an invalid or other person requiring quiet and retirement.

The gardens and pleasure grounds are extensive and tastefully laid out, in them will be found some choice specimens of floriculture, there are also shady and agreeable walks in the parts not immediately under cultivation. A number of swans and emus, as well as some specimens of the forest birds, which are kept in front of the house, will afford amusement to persons who are not familiar with these varieties of the ornithology of Australia. Added to the general beauty of the bay there are some objects of particular curiosity, such as the monument to the celebrated French navigator, La Perouse, the Botany Tower, Captain Cook's Commemoration Plate, &c, all of which are within a short distance of the hotel.

For information as to what amount of credit is due to the establishment for its internal cleanliness, and the assiduous attention with which its patrons are treated, parties intending to reside at the hotel are respectfully referred to any lady or gentleman who has had an opportunity of knowing. Every further particular may be ascertained and orders for dinners, luncheons, &c, attended to, by the parties interested, communicating with Mr. BEAUMONT, Builder, No. 221, Castlereagh-street. 4046

"THE RING. FULL ACCOUNT OF The Great Fight . . .", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (13 October 1849), 2 

. . . The eventful day arrived; and, from three till five o'clock a.m., the rumbling of vehicles and the clatter of hoofs was incessant throughout the town: almost everything that had two wheels and four legs was called into requisition, and both the Cook's River and Canterbury Roads were lined with helter-skelterers, pushing on for the convincing ground. We who had tried those passages preferred doing the quiet to the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel at Botany, where a breakfast and a whaleboat were awaiting our arrival. At seven o'clock we reached that lovely place, which Messrs. Beaumont and Waller have rendered, at great personal trouble and expense, the most tasteful and delightful hotel in the vicinity of Sydney. While indulging ourselves in taking a view of the zoological collection of these gentlemen, we were informed, to our infinite consternation, that the aboriginal nautical individual, called Boatswain, had walked off with our marine without a "with your leave, or by your leave," and left us on our beam ends . . .

[Advertisement], Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (29 December 1849), 3 

"A DAY'S PLEASURE", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (29 December 1849), 3 

By our advertising columns it will be seen that Messrs. Beaumont and Waller, the enterprising proprietors of the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, have engaged the steamer Eagle, for the purpose of affording their friends and the public a marine treat on New Year's Day. The vessel will proceed from the harbour to Botany Bay, and return again in the evening. Everything that can conduce to the pleasure has been provided by the projectors of the trip, and this, linked with the attraction which a view of the delightful scenery in the Bay and its vicinity, and the various amusements obtainable at the Hotel, will we have no doubt, procure the Eagle a full freight of those who are solicitous to throw care overboard and swim gaily down the holiday stream. The City Band has been engaged for the gratification of the lovers of music, and the votaries of Terpsichore.

"THE PLEASURES OF BOTANY", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (23 February 1850), 2 

. . . The success of Messrs. Beaumont and Waller, has hitherto been deservedly great; and from the satisfaction given to all classes of guests, whether casual visitors, or temporary residents, we opine that there will be a heavy run upon the "Banks" during the summer months. The only additional attraction we can suggest to harmonize with the beauty of the gardens would be the bi-weekly attendance of a band; while the musical accomplishments of the amiable hostess, and Mr. Waller, frequently contribute to the enlivenment of the evening . . .

[2 advertisements], The Sydney Morning Herald (1 May 1850), 3 

"MAY-DAY FETE AT BOTANY", & "MR. MARSH'S CONCERT", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (4 May 1850), 2 

The Honorable Captain Keppel of H.M.S. Maeander, having placed his splendid brass band at the command of Messrs. Beaumont and Waller for Wednesday last, those gentlemen on the previous evening mounted a splendid entertainment, in the beautiful grounds attached to their hotel; and notwithstanding the necessarily brief publicity which they were enabled to give to their intentions, the gardens were crowded far beyond expectation. The services of the Ethiopian Serenaders were retained at a moment's notice; the sable gentlemen arriving express from Parramatta about noon, where they had on the night before performed gratuitously to a crowded audience in aid of the funds of the Benevolent Society. A platform was speedily constructed in the enclosure sacred to the gambols of the kangaroo, and a programme was immediately issued in three parts, an hour intervening between each. An excellent luncheon was spread in the extensive saloon which had been prepared for the fete on Easter Monday, and a goodly company sat down to the feast, gladdened by the harmonious strains of the gallant Maeanders who, in the early part of the day, played some of the most popular overtures, and subsequently numerous quadrille sets, to which the lads and lasses of the city blithely footed it under the able directorship of Signor Carandini, M C. (not Member of Council.) The company were in the highest degree select, numbering probably between 400 and 500 persons who, we will venture to say, enjoyed themselves not a whit the les from the suddenness with which they had been required to "hie to the revel." A brilliant display of fire-works in the evening cast a parting radiance upon the scene, leaving still darker the homeward road to which most of the party immediately betook themselves. We are informed that it is the intention of the proprietors of the Sir Joseph Banks to give another fete on the 24th inst., the anniversary of Her Majesty's birth and we cordially wish them even greater success than has hitherto attended their spirited catering for a day's relaxation from the sterner cares and duties of city life. The only drawback to the enjoyment of the return home was the absence of the "Moon," as the worthy landlord of the London Tavern observed to his "confidential."

MR. MARSH'S CONCERT . . . Mr. Waller sang, "England, glorious name," in capital style, without the military Band accompaniments; and this without was fortunate, as the Band entirely destroyed the effect of Miss Sara Flower's Rataplan, &c., &c. But, despite this, the Concert was eminently successful.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (1 July 1850), 3 

"PARRAMATTA. THE CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 July 1850), 3 

PARRAMATTA. THE CONCERT. - Though the evening was wet, Mr. Stanley's concert was very fully attended. Mr. Nash's large room was well filled, and the performers must have been gratified at the flattering manner in which the various pieces were received throughout the evening. Mr. Stanley began with the overture to the "Gazza Ladra," on the piano, which he played in masterly style. Mr. Waller sang the "Ship on Fire," and at a later period of the evening the "Newfoundland Dog." These are of the Maniac School, and might please those who find pleasure in seeing amputations. His voice is full and mellow, and he sings with good taste and correctness. His "Largo al Factotum" was admirable. Miss Sara Flower's "Te m'abandoni" was by no means a show-piece to the debutante; but the duet from Tancredi left no doubt as to the character of her voice - it is like one of those boy-voices that one meets with once in one's life, and remembers for ever after; so clear, so full, and nervous, and of such volume and compass . . .

"MESSRS. STANLEY AND WALLER'S SECOND ENTERTAINMENT", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (7 December 1850), 2 

MESSRS. STANLEY AND WALLER'S SECOND ENTERTAINMENT. - In consequence of Mr. Waller suffering from a severe cold, the second of these entertainments, which had been announced to take place on the 20th instant, was indefinitely postponed, which caused no little disappointment to many parties who, influenced by the fame of the first, had determined not to lose the second opportunity, and who anxiously awaited Mr. Waller's recovery. To our great surprise, without any prior notice having been given, we saw it announced in Tuesday's Herald that the second entertainment would take place that evening. Now this was very unbusinesslike, and evinced great want of judgment; for it is, we believe, almost the universal practice in our busy community to skip over announcements of this nature, and leave them for the evening's reading. The consequence of this blunder was that instead of the overflowing house which we are sure would have greeted them, had greater publicity been given to their intention, these admired artists performed to a house not more than half full, which circumstance, together with a slight evidence that Mr. Waller had not quite recovered, caused the evening to pass off somewhat less spiritedly than we anticipated. Nothing, however, could have been more gratifying than the determination evinced by all the gentlemen (and indeed by some of the ladies) present to make up for the deficiency in their numbers by the fervency of their applause. Mr. Waller sang "The Ship on Fire," "England," "The Lugger," and Rossini's inimitable buffo song "Largo al factotum," with the truthfulness, and manly energy which is his peculiar characteristic, and, by his powerful declamation and artistic execution, drew forth the warmest demonstrations of delight from the audience. To us indeed it appears almost incredible that such perfection in the science should have been the result of no better a musical education than the colony affords, and it is but fair to argue that where so much has been effected in the face of so many disadvantages, the natural capabilities must be of a very superior kind. Mr. Waller also sang Nathan's "Oh! for the Olden Time," which, although scarcely known before, will, we predict, now become a popular song - it was most enthusiastically encored. At the first entertainment Mr. Waller proceeded each piece with a few introductory remarks, which made a pleasing variety in the entertainment. On this occasion printed programmes but poorly supplied the place of these remarks. We would suggest a recurrence to the original plan in this respect, as more likely to give general satisfaction. Mr. Stanley's brilliant performance on the piano-forte fairly astonished the audience; which is technically called delicacy of touch, he most delightfully exemplified, and the style and vigour with which a fantasia, by Hertz, was given, was undeniable evidence that not only is Mr. Stanley the best accompanyist we have (which all the profession admit), but that he is, to say the least, unsurpassed as a brilliant solo player. It will be seen by reference to another column that Messrs. Stanley and Waller intend giving their third, and, we regret to add, LAST entertainment (for a season) on Wednesday evening next, when we sincerely hope they will receive that amount of encouragement they so truly merit.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (11 December 1850), 1

"DIED", The Sydney Morning Herald (20 January 1851), 3 

"MARRIED", The Sydney Morning Herald (24 October 1851), 4 

Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany Bay, c.1855 (G. F. Angus)

Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany Bay, c.1855, drawing by G. F. Angas; National Library of Australia (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (5 November 1851), 1 

THE EXHIBITION, HYDE PARK. THE public are respectfully informed that the Elephant, Tigress, Bears, Deer, &c, &c, now being exhibited at the corner of Park-street, Hyde Park, will remain there no longer" than THIS DAY, (Wednesday) and three following, after which they will be removed to the "Zoological Gardens," Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany Bay; therefore parties desirous of seeing the animals previous to their removal must not delay their visit. November 5. 9052

"MUSICAL STAR", The Argus [Melbourne] (14 October 1852), 6

MUSICAL STAR. - Mr. Waller, a performer who has earned golden opinions from the musical population of Sydney, may shortly be expected to arrive in Melbourne, where he proposes to give a series of concerts. If we may judge from the favourable notices which have appeared in the Sydney journals respecting this gentleman's performances, Mr. Waller is to all intents and purposes a star of the first magnitude.

"MUSICAL", The Argus (5 November 1852), 5

17 November 1852, Waller's concert, Mechanics' Institution, Melbourne

[Advertisement], The Argus (17 November 1852), 3 

MR. WALLER begs to announce, that on the above evening he will give a Musical Entertainment on a plan hitherto unknown in Melbourne, and which has gained for him the unqualified eulogy of the Press, and the personal compliments and commendation of His Excellency, the Governor-General, and the elite of society in Sydney.
This entertainment will consist of ten examples of the very highest order of musical composition, selected from the works of the greatest masters of the present day, with observations upon their various merits.
Biographical sketches of the different composers, anacdotes, &c., &c., as outlined in the subjoined
Introductory Address - The universality of Music. Henry Russell, his originality.
1. Grand Descriptive Scena - "The Ship on Fire"
Anecdote of Rink [Rinck] - a head on fire. Anecdote - Balfe, his standing as a Composer.
Anecdote of the first performance of the opera in Sydney, laughable perversion of a title.
2. Song - "The heart bow'd down." Opera - Bohemian Girl - Balfe.
Change in words, another kind of change - Anecdotes.
3. Song - "Might I march through life Again." Opera, Joan of Arc - Balfe.
Anecdote of Vogel the Flautist, a cunning device.
4. Song - "Woman's Love", Sola.
Genius of Rossini sketch of his career, peculiarities of his composition, reason for his universal popularity - Anecdote
5. Buffo Song - "Largo al factotum." Opera, Barber et Seville.
2nd Part.
The popular cultivation of vocal music, benefits accruing therefrom not generally considered. Dr. Rush's advocacy.
John Barnett - his Popularity - Biographical sketch - Anecdote.
1. Grand Scena - "See there! What thou hast cast Away." Opera - Mountain Sylph.
W. V. Wallace as a Violinist, Pianist, and Composer. The Peculiarities of his Composition.
Anecdote of Parke the Oboe player.
2. Cavatina - "Hear me, gentle Maritana." Opera Maritana.
Loder: his opera of the "Night Dancers." Mr. Nathan's Estimate - Anecdote.
3. Song "Pretty Sprites," Opera "Night Dancers."
The French school of music - Auber. -
Anecdote of Braham and his master Rauzini [Rauzzini].
4. Song - "Proudly and wide," Opera "Fra Diavolo."
Parry's burlesques; their popularity -
Different meanings of the word fast - The Frenchman's dilemma, &c., &c.
5. Burlesque - Cinderella.
Between the vocal examples, MR. HENRY RICHARDSON, Professor of the Concertina, the only accomplished performer on that beautiful instrument in the Colony, who arrived from London on Saturday last, will make his first appearance before a Melbourne audience on this occasion, and perform
Three Grand Solos, and several popular Melodies.
Pianist - Mr. BUDDEE.
The Performances will commence precisely at Eight o'clock.
Tickets 5s each, may he obtained of Mr. Wilkie, Music Warehouse, Collins-street; Mr. Urquhart, booksellers, ditto; Mr. Puller, booksellers, ditto; Mr. Williams, bookseller; Messrs. Huxtable & Co., ditto, and at the Mechanic's Institution.

"MR. WALLER", The Argus (19 November 1852), 5

This gentleman's entertainment, so novel to a Melbourne audience, came off on Wednesday evening, and we must congratulate him upon the success attending his debut. He is fully deserving of the high opinion expressed by our Sydney neighbours. We could scarcely expect such a diversity of musical talent in one born and bred on the soil, and therefore not being in a position to partake of those advantages enjoyed by our English vocalists, by having continually before him as examples such men as Duprez, Mario, Lablache, and others. Russel's fine scena, "The Ship on Fire", was rendered with a fine combination of passion and artistic skill; but to particularise any one song would be almost doing an injustice to the others. Mr. W. has a fine voice, not of very great compass, but full and round in tone. Between each of his performances Mr. Richardson entertained the audience upon the concertina in a very creditable manner, considering it was his first appearance.

ASSOCIATIONS: Julius Buddee (piano); Henry Richardson (concertina)

ANECDOTES: On Christian Heinrich Rinck's anecdote (on his wife's cap and hair catching fire); see "REVERIES OF A MUSICIAN. BY MISS AUGUSTA BROWN. NO. II", The Columbian magazine (October 1847), 186 (DIGITISED)

18 November 1852, weekly Thursday concert, Mechanics' Institution, Melbourne

"THE WEEKLY CONCERTS", The Argus (18 November 1852), 5 

The following is the programme for this evening. We are glad to see that the band is still to be assisted by our omnipresent friends of the 40th regiment, and that Mr. Waller is to lend his valuable assistance to enrich the programme: - . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: Georgina Bourn (vocalist); Band of the 40th Regiment (military band); Thursday Concerts (Mechanics' Institution, Melbourne)

[Advertisement], The Argus (30 November 1852), 5 

Will be published shortly,
VICTORIA, a song, written, composed and dedicated to the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Melbourne, by James Waller.

[Advertisement], Empire (18 January 1853), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (26 January 1853), 3

"CONCERTINA SOIREE", The Sydney Morning Herald (16 February 1853), 2

"MARRIED", The Sydney Morning Herald (22 September 1853), 3 

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (27 December 1859), 1

[Review], Empire (30 December 1859), 4

As was to have been anticipated from the popularity of the "bénéficier" and the character of the entertainment provided for his patrons, the concert of Mr. W. J. Cordner, at the Exchange, last evening, was attended by one of the most crowded auditories we remember to have witnessed within the building; every available spot in the Hall and the adjoining reading room being occupied by attentive listeners; and thanks to the excellent arrangements (for which, we believe, we must thank the very attentive Secretary), not the slightest discomfort was experienced. The arrangement of the station for the chorus, over the eastern entrance was very effective, but the organ was so miserable an instrument, that Mr. Packer was reluctantly compelled to make use of the pianoforte for the accompaniment to the florid music of Hayden. The first part of the programme consisted of sacred music from the works of Handel, Spohr, Haydn, Rossini, and Mendelssohn, of which the air and chorus from Spohr's "Last Judgment," and the recitatives and chorus from Mendelssohn's "Elijah," undoubtedly were the gems of this portion of the entertainment, both as regards the genuine worth of the compositions, and their execution . . . Mr. Waller gave evident symptoms of having suffered from indisposition; the "Elijah" recitative was, nevertheless, powerfully executed . . . A patriotic song "Australia," written, composed, and sung by Mr. Waller was, of course, loudly encored. It is a pleasing and spirited composition, though reminding one of "Jeannette and Jeannot" . . .

"AUSTRALIA: A PATRIOTIC SONG BY MR. JAMES WALLER", The Sydney Morning Herald (30 December 1859), 5

"PATRIOTIC SONG", The Sydney Morning Herald (14 November 1863), 7

PATRIOTIC SONG. - A patriotic song written and composed by Mr. James Waller, entitled "Australia," has been published by Messrs Johnson and Co., of Pitt street. The author is well known as our greatest amateur basso, and on the occasion of the benefit of the Philharmonic Society he sang this piece with sufficient effect to call forth a unanimous encore. The words and music are both unpretending, but combined they convoy the sentiment which the author desires to express. The song is set in the key of G sharp, with a full and spirited accompaniment.

"MUSIC AND DRAMA", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 November 1863), 3

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (7 February 1871), 1

"DEATH OF MR. JAMES WALLER", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 February 1871), 7

A much respected citizen, not less remarkable for his powers as a vocalist than distinguished for his private worth, has been suddenly called away from amongst us. Last Monday night, Mr. James Waller (of the firm of Beaumont and Waller), after a very brief but painful illness, expired at Burva-place, Botany Road, to the great distress of his family, and to the sorrow of a widely extended circle of friends. His death leaves behind him a melancholy void, which will long be appreciable; for his amiability of manners, and his large hearted philanthropy were in perfect harmony with his noble voice, so familiar to thousands, and so admired by all - and never so happily, so exultantly raised as when enlisted in the blessed cause of charity, or in the sacred service of religion. From his childhood James Waller evinced a singular taste for high class music, and developed vocal powers which, in spite of all difficulties, he assiduously cultivated, year after year, with a constantly increasing ability until in the path he chose for himself he achieved an unexampled success - a popularity of which his friends might well be proud. The music that he loved, and with which this community will associate his memory, was that of an elevated and classical character, whether secular or sacred. In the compositions of those great masters, whose names are household words in England, America, and Germany, our late fellow townsman took an unwearied delight, and especially in that class of music wherein the genius of Handel is so endeared to all Englishmen - the sublime music of the oratorio - for the execution of solos in which his voice was so peculiarly adapted. Many of the masterpieces of Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and the most eminent of our old church composers have here long found their fittest exponent in that voice now silent for ever - compositions it will be impossible again to listen to without recalling the grand sonorous tones, deep feeling, and profound expression with which the departed did justice to to their sweet and solemn beauty. James Waller delighted in sterling music, and devoted himself eagerly to its study, but always as an amateur, judiciously considering the gratification of his musical tastes altogether subservient to the main duties of his active life, as the head of a family and as a private citizen. Thus his character never degenerated into that frivolous inanity, earnest lulling, and oftentimes something worse, for which lovers of music occasionally render themselves obnoxious to the severities of hostile criticism. He seemed rather to be purified and elevated by his natural love for music, and he insensibly imparted to others those evident advantages which he had himself received from his devotion to that noble science. It would be well if all who study music loved it as wisely and as well as James Waller. The value of such a study, as an educating power and civilizing agency, would then, perhaps, be more universally experienced, and more unequivocally acknowledged.

Mr. James Waller was a native of Manchester, in England, where he was born on the 7th of November, in the year 1819. He arrived in this colony, with his parents, when not more than seven years old and as, during his life, he never left the country of his adoption, he has generally been accounted an Australian. He received his early education from Mr. T. Cape (that veteran teacher whom so many gratefully remember) and he was afterwards sent to the King's School, Parramatta, when that institution was under the mastership of the Rev. John Forrest. He appears to have left the King's School at about 15 years of age, and, like most of our well-disposed colonial youth, began to take his part early in the battle of life. In this career it is pleasing to hear that he has not been unsuccessful, and that he leaves his numerous family well provided for. His daily avocations, honestly and energetically pursued, did not deter him, as we have already intimated, from a sedulous cultivation of his powers as an amateur vocalist, and from a study of music - in those days not so popular as now. He was connected, en amateur, with the old Sicilian Society [recte Cecilian Society], and after the star of that association had set, he joined the old Choral Society. At the termination of the career of that musical body, Mr. Waller gave his friendly aid and important services to the Vocal Harmonic, and to other societies which have from time to time been formed in this community for the cultivation of a popular taste for first-class music. His valuable assistance was frequently given to the Sydney Philharmonic, and to the present Sydney Choral Society. One of the last great public occasions when his voice was heard, was in the sublime strains of the oratorio of the "Messiah," at the close of the late Intercolonial Exhibition.

Mr. James Waller's last illness was short and severe, and his death so sudden that his friends have all been affected by a very painful surprise. He was only last Sunday, to all appearance, in perfect health, and attended public worship, twice, in the Bathurst-street Baptist Church, to which congregation he belonged. In the evening he was, for some time, singing sacred music with his children and his nephews and nieces, in the house of his brother-in-law and partner, Mr. Beaumont. It was not until after retiring to rest, at about midnight, that he became very ill, with dysenteric symptoms and violent cramps in the stomach. Everything that the well deserved affection of relatives could do, or anxious medical skill could enjoin, was tried to relieve his sufferings, but with little or no beneficial effect. It was not, however, until the following morning that the symptoms became yet more alarming, and that his medical advisers, D. Fortescue and Dr. Sydney Jones, began to apprehend a fatal result. He became rapidly so much worse that he gradually sank, notwithstanding the active remedies that were applied. In the brief intervals of the paroxysms of pain, true to himself, he endeavoured to comfort his weeping relatives and sorrowing friends, committing his family to his long-tried faithful friend, Mr. Beaumont, with whom he had been connected by marriage, and by a business partnership extending over the space of eight and-twenty years, and never interrupted by one angry word. He died on Monday night, at eight minutes past 10, in the fifty-second year of his age. He leaves a widow and six young children. He was buried yesterday afternoon, at 4 o'clock, in the cemetery of St. Peter's Church, Cook's River. A large number of friends followed the corpse to the grave.

"DEATH OF MR. JAMES WALLER", The Sydney Morning Herald (24 February 1871), 7

"MR. JAMES WALLER", Empire (27 February 1871), 4

James T. Donovan, "MUSICAL MEMORIES: The Mendelssohn Centenary - Sir Charles Santley and James Waller", Sunday Times (7 February 1909), magazine 7 

. . . We have had quite an apostolic succession, of fine singing Prophets in Sydney - Frank Howson, James Waller, Andrew Fairfax, F. J. Hallowell, Signor Foli, Charles Magrath, Douglas Powell, William Paul, Alec Marsh, Charles Rosenthal, Watkin Mills, and Andrew Black among the number. The three "Elijahs" who "stand out" are James Waller, Sir Charles Santley, and Andrew Black.

James Waller, who sang the part of the Prophet when the oratorio was performed in St. James' Schoolroom, Castlereagh-street (now the High School), well nigh 60 years ago, may be claimed to be an Australian. A native of Manchester, England, where he was born on November 7, 1819, Mr. Waller arrived in Sydney with his parents when he was seven. Educated first at Cape's School, and afterwards at The King's School, Parramatta, the boy made music one of his studies. On leaving King's School at the age of 15, he joined the choir of St. James' Church - the oldest church in Sydney - and for a period of five years prepared himself for the work that was before him as an oratorio singer. James Waller counted among his musical friends Catharine Hayes, Anna Bishop, Madame Wallace Bushelle, Madame Sarah Flower, Madame Carandini, Madame Lucy Escott, Isaac Nathan, Lewis Henry Lavenu, William John Cordner, Charles Packer, and Charles Edward Horsley. Mr. Waller was connected with the old Cecilian Society, and after the collapse of that musical body he joined the old Choral Society. At later periods he was associated with the Vocal Harmonic Society, the Sydney Philharmonic Society, and the Sydney Choral Society. He was sought after whenever such works as "The Messiah," "The Creation," and "Elijah" were performed. One of his last appearances in public was as soloist in "The Messiah" at the Exhibition Building, Prince Alfred Park, October 7, 1870. The DUKE OF EDINBURGH WAS PRESENT, with the Countess of Belmore, wife of the then Governor. The last appearance of the popular bass was in the performance of "The Creation" by the Sydney Choral Society in the hall of the School of Arts, Pitt-street. After a few hours' illness, the singer with the big, manly voice died at "Burva Place," Botany-road, in his 52nd year, on February 6, 1871. His remains were interred in the cemetery of St. Peter's, Cook's River. In 1842 he entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. Beaumont. The firm of Beaumont and Waller, builders and contractors was carried on until Mr. Waller's death.

The celebrated Charles Edward Horsley, who came to Australia in 1866 [recte earlier], invited Mr. Waller to take a prominent part in the Musical Festival which was held at THE MELBOURNE EXHIBITION in April, 1867 . . .

On his first appearance in Melbourne the Sydney singer had encore honors for the "Largo al Factotum," from "The Barber of Seville.' This is what the "Argus" said on April 5, 1867: "Mr. James Waller, from Sydney, is proprietor of a good baritone voice - the best we have heard since Farquharson - and he has it in good control. He placed himself en rapport with his audience, who vociferously commanded the repetition of the solo." The "Age," among other complimentary comments, said: "Mr. Waller, who might appear with advantage on the stage in Rossini's opera, threw into the great buffo aria all the characteristic touches appropriate to the merry barber." The Melbourne "Herald" expressed the opinion that "the singing of 'Largo al Factotum' by Mr. James Waller was equal to, if not superior to, that of any basso who had appeared in Victoria." The "Herald" added: "Mr. Waller, who comes from Sydney with an enviable reputation as a basso, is an actor as well as a singer." During the Melbourne Exhibition concerts under Horsley's direction, Mr. Waller sang "O Ruddier than the Cherry," "Man's Misfortune," from "The Mountain Sylph" (Barnett), and his own song, "Australia," dedicated to the Volunteer Forces of Australia. He also sang the music of the Prophet in "Elijah," and the bass part in "The Messiah," Mr. Horsley conducting both the performances. In the Mendelssohn oratorio the artists associated with the Sydney amateur were Madame Carandini, Miss Rosina Carandini, Miss Fanny Carandini (contralto), Mr. Walter Sherwin (tenor), and Mr. Moxon. In the performance of "The Messiah" the soloists were Madame Wienbarg (a pupil of Manuel Garcia), Mrs. Fox, Miss Liddell, Mr. Melvyn (tenor), Mr. Moxon, and Mr. Waller. The Sydney singer was likened to Farquharson in his best day. As there are many readers of the "Sunday Times" who do not know anything about Farquharson, a little personal paragraph is here introduced. The distinguished English baritone-bass came from the Old Country in 1856. He sang with great success in opera and at sacred concerts and joined W. S. Lyster's opera company in 1861.

All through his singing career Mr. Waller insisted upon being styled an amateur - a man who sang FOR LOVE OF MUSIC, not for money. He was "billed" as an amateur when he took part in our first Musical Festival at the Sydney University in 1859. The same announcement had to be made when he went over to Melbourne for the Exhibition concerts in 1867.

Although a member of the Baptist Church - he attended the Bathurst-street Baptist Chapel - Mr. Waller assisted at some of the concerts in aid of the building fund of St. Mary's Cathedral 50 years ago, and he also sang on "special occasions" in Old St. Mary's. The late Archbishop Polding was a friend as well as an admirer of Waller.

In the musical work which was done by him, apart from the concert platform, Mr. Waller was greatly helped by his wife - a sound musician and a fine pianist. The Waller family is now represented by two sons and a daughter - Mr. J. C. B. Waller, organist and choirmaster, Mr. Sydney Waller, and Mrs. W. P. Powell, of North Sydney. The late Frank Waller, a baritone singer, and postmaster at Mosman, was also song of the man who had his full share of honors at the Musical Festival in the Great Hall of the University fifty years ago. Mr. J. C. B. Waller, who retired from the position of organist and choirmaster at the Presbyterian Church, Ashfield, a few weeks ago, was for 25 years organist at the Congregational Church, Burwood . . .

"OLD AUSTRALIAN PATRIOTIC SONGS", The Sydney Morning Herald (7 August 1915), 10

Musical works

Victoria (song, 1852)

[Advertisement], The Argus (30 November 1852), 5 

Will be published shortly,
VICTORIA, a song, written, composed and dedicated to the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Melbourne, by James Waller.

Australia! a patriotic song (words and music, Waller; December 1859) 

Australia! a patriotic song, written and composed by James Waller, dedicated to the Volunteer Forces of Australia (Sydney: W. J. Johnson & Co., n.d. [1863])

Copy at the National Library of Australia, digitised (DIGITISED)

Australia! a patriotic song, written and composed by James Waller

Added in a later hand: "Dedicated to the Volunteer Forces of Australia"

Manuscript copy (unidentified hand) at the National Library of Australia, digitised (DIGITISED)

Bibliography and resources

Graeme Skinner, "James Waller (1819-1871), musical amateur, and family", Australharmony (an online resource toward the early history of music in colonial Australia): 

Graeme Skinner (Australharmony), "James Waller 1819-1871", curated virtual archive of Trove resources (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

James Waller (c.1787-by 1851), senior 

Derek Miller, Muddle family: Charles & Elizabeth Muddle's family (2005; 2016) 

Charles Muddle married Hannah Elizabeth Anne Cooke, known as Elizabeth, at St. Paul's Church, Canterbury, Kent, on 26 June 1831. Elizabeth had been baptised at Chilham Church in Kent on 27 March 1803, the daughter of John and Hannah Cooke. Charles, who was a hoopmaker, and Elizabeth, who was a lady's maid, lived at Canterbury in Kent where they had three children born between 1832 and 1835. They were living at Wincheap in the parish of St. Mildred in Canterbury when their second child was baptised in 1834, but they had moved across the city to Union Street in the parish of St Mary Northgate in Canterbury when their eldest daughter died during February 1837.

Then in early 1838 Charles and Elizabeth decided to start a new life in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as the government there was offering them free passage as bounty immigrants. So in April 1838 with their two surviving children, aged 4 and nearly 3, and with Elizabeth about 3 months into her pregnancy with their next child, they started on their emigration. They boarded the emigrant ship Woodbridge at Gravesend, Kent with 133 other emigrants from Kent and Sussex on the 23 and 24 April. The ship tried to sail on 25th and 26th but unfavourable winds meant it was finally at noon on 27th that she got underway and arrived at Cowes on the Isle of Wight at 10am on the 29th. At Cowes 130 emigrants from Wiltshire boarded on 2 May, and the Woodbridge started on her voyage to Australia at 7am on 7 May. Just the next day, the 8 May, the ship's surgeon, Alexander Stewart, recorded that he had put Mrs. Muddle, aged 33 (she was actually 35), on the sick list because she had dysentery, which was one of the common aliments among the emigrants together with seasickness and constipation. During May and June they sailed south down the Atlantic with reasonably fair weather, some rain and noon temperatures that varied between 50ºF at Cowes and 85°F. After 7 1/2 weeks on the sick list Elizabeth was taken off the list on 30 June as cured. On the 21 July the Woodbridge put in at Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope for fresh provisions as there had been signs of scurvy among the emigrants. They left Simons Bay on 26 July to sail east across the Indian Ocean, the temperatures were now lower, the max noon temperature being 66°F, but the weather was very unsettled with strong winds, heavy rain and foggy conditions. The Woodbridge anchored at Sydney Cove on 15 September 1838, after a voyage of 4 1/2 months; two women and eight children having died during the voyage, mostly from dysentery. The emigrants all disembarked on the morning of 18 September 1838.

. . . Charles and Elizabeth's second child was Charles John Muddle who was born in the Wincheap area of Canterbury in Kent during March 1834, and baptised at St Mildred’s Church in Canterbury on 20 April 1834 . . . When he was about 20 years old Charles married Agnes Elizabeth Waller at the Scots Presbyterian Church, Pitt Street, Sydney on 30 March 1854. Agnes was the daughter of James and Mary Waller, and she had been born in Sydney, New South Wales on 24 February 1832. She was the sister of the James Waller who had married Charles' sister Sarah Muddle in 1853. She was also the sister of the Martha Waller who married William Beaumont in 1851. This William Beaumont was a successful businessman, being a landowner, builder, hotel keeper, J.P. and even opened the first zoo in Sydney. He was a business partner of Agnes' brother James Waller and lived at Botany and then Strathfield . . .

Charles and Elizabeth's third child was Sarah Muddle who was born in Kent, England on 7 May 1835. In 1838 Sarah, at the age of 2, emigrated, with her parents, from England to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. When she was 18 years old Sarah married 33-year-old James Waller at St James' Church in Sydney on 20 September 1853. James was the son of James and Mary Weller; he had been born at Manchester in England on 7 November 1819, and emigrated from England to Australia with his parents in 1826. He was the brother of Agnes Elizabeth Waller who was to married Sarah's brother Charles John Muddle in 1854. James and Sarah had seven children born in Sydney between 1855 and 1870. They were living at 124 Castlereagh Street in Sydney when their first three children were born in 1855, 1857 and 1860, then in 1862 when their fourth child was born they were living at 362 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney and when their fifth child was born in 1865 they were living at 85 Botany Street, Chippendale, Sydney.

James was a fine amateur Oratorio Singer with a rich bass voice; he performed in such works as "The Messiah" at concerts, and took part in the first musical [festival] at Sydney University in 1859. In other musical work James was helped by his wife, Sarah, who was a sound musician and fine pianist. James was the business partner of William Beaumont, who had married his sister Martha in 1851, and as "Beaumont & Waller" they had a timber business at the corner of Pitt and Market Street. They were also involved in starting a zoo in Sydney in association with Sir Joseph Banks' Hotel. James died at Burva Place, Botany Road, Sydney on the night of Monday 6 February 1871, at the age of 51, from food poisoning, and he was buried in the cemetery of St. Peter's Church at Cook's River, Sydney on 7 February 1871. His obituary was published in the 8 February 1871 edition of The Sydney Morning Herald.

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2024