Wednesday 30 July 2014

Saplings workshop for young Bush Musicians 8-16 years, Marrickville Saturday 10th August 2014

Click on pictures for full-screen image


What is it? – A one day master class for young people (8 – 16 years) to experience playing Australian collected music.

Aim - For young people to have fun and introduce them to Australian collected tunes. Associated topics such as history of the music, the musicians who played the tunes and those who collected the music will be briefly covered.

What we will be offering - Our tutors are musicians who are some of the foremost players of Australian Traditional Music.

Students will not only learn the tunes but how they should be played.

Each student on arrival will receive a comprehensive booklet, which will contain a large collection of tunes and songs plus associated material.

All meals will be catered – snack on arrival, morning and afternoon tea + pizza for lunch.

Extra activities will be offered such as introduction to bush dancing and bush percussion. As well as percussion instruments, there will be an opportunity for students to have a feel or play of other instruments eg: the banjo or concertina.

At the end of the day each student will receive a gift bag.

Each student on arrival will receive a comprehensive booklet, which will contain a large collection of tunes and songs plus associated material.

What if my child does not play an instrument? - There will be a class for students who do not play a musical instrument. This group will focus on to the joy of music and playing bush percussion. We can also offer these students basic instruction on harmonica, tin whistle or ukulele. Please note these students will be required to bring a harmonica or tin whistle in the key of C or G or a ukulele.

The Venue

Tritton Hall and The ARCC - The Sapling Master Class will be held at Tritton Hall, Hut 44, Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road Marrickville and other huts in this complex.

Tritton Hall is the home of the Bush Music Club and the Addison Road Community Centre (ARCC) is Australia’s largest not-for-profit community centre. Parking is available but as the markets are on Sundays, it is best to allow extra time to find a car spot.

How to get there – A detailed map and directions will be sent on registration.

The Cost

Only $25 per student! This will cover a full day’s tuition, sheet music, gift bag and all meals. The day is being subsidized by the Bush Music Club so we can keep costs to a minimum.

The Program & Structure

Class Structure

Intermediate to advanced Melody instruments (depending on numbers this group may be split)
Beginner Melody Instruments
Rhythm Instruments
Musicians of the future

The final programme for the day will be designed closer to the date as this will depend on the registration numbers of each individual group.

Registration will be from 9.30

10:00 am Fun begins, classes commence and individual groups go off with the tutors

Except for a morning tea break the first half of the day will be spent in groups playing music and experiencing other instruments – some rotation of tutors

12:00 am Lunch – (pizza, drink and fruit)

1:00 pm Musicians split back into groups to play more music

2:00pm Bush Dance

2:40pm Break (snacks and a drink) group photo

3:00 pm All in Session. A chance for the groups to showcase what they have been playing
and everyone to play together

4:00 pm finish
Meet The Tutors

Our head tutors are David Johnson, Jason Roweth and Tony Romeo. A bio with a picture of tutors can be forwarded on request.

Examples of Music

A sample of the music and songs can be provided on request.

Contact Details:

For more information or to register contact:


Helen Romeo: 4297 5128

Kerry Doherty: 0409 600 949

Bush Music Club Inc:

  photos - Sandra Nixon, National Folk Festival 2014, Saplings session

*********************************************************************************************** ***********************************************************************************************

Friday 25 July 2014

Lola's Keg Night, the story of Lola Wright, founder of the second bush band

Click on pictures for full-screen image

updated 16/10/14
with pictures from October premiere of the play
Lola's Keg night at Merringong Theatre

Videos - Part 1 & Part 2  recorded 'live' in the NSW Teachers Federation Auditorium (Sydney, Australia) Saturday 25th October 2014 by Wayne Richmond 

Sometime in early 1954 a young teacher from the Illawarra attended a production of the hit musical play Reedy River at Sydney's New Theatre and was so impressed by the Bushwhackers Band and the songs they performed in the play that she decided to start her own bush band.

The Bushwhackers helped her, and Australia's second bush band, the South Coast Bush Band was born.

South Coast Bush Band: L to R - Norm Mitchell, Merv Haberly, Jack Wright, Jeanette Caine, Wally Watt, Lola Troy, Jack Chalmers

In October 1954 The Bushwhackers founded the Bush Music Club, & in February 1956 when the Club published the first issue of Singabout, the journal of Australian Folksong, Lola Troy (later Wright) was the representative of the South Coast Group.

Illawarra Mercury, undated, c.1955

Coast's Rarest Band
They beat out the old hits - vintage 1900

The South Coast Bush Band comprising young musicians was formed last year to popularise Australian songs and music.

Mrs Lola Troy is piano accordinist and pianist, Mr Jack Wright is bones player, Mr Wally Watt guitarist, Mr Merv Haberly mouth organist, Mr Norm Mitchell is on the "lagerphone,"  Mr Jack Chalmers is on the "bush Bass" and Miss Jeanette Caine is pianist.

Mrs Troy is the driving force.

The idea of forming the band was conceived after the players had seen the play, "Reedy River."

They realised that Australia had a wealth of folk songs which were in danger of being lost to the people.

The band members wear clothes that were fashionable at the turn of the century, and some of the men wear full beards and others settle for a moustache.

The Band has a catalogue of more than 50 numbers, and is steadily adding to its collection.

The collection covers songs about all types of industry and many songs of the sea.

One of the oldest is "Botany Bay", and many others have survived from the convict days.

Band members said they would be pleased to hear from anyone who knew any Australian songs, particularly old ones.

If anyone knows the tune and words of an old song the Band will take a tape recording of it and Mrs Troy will set it to music for the Band.

Mrs Troy said the band mainly played for charity affairs and benefits for people in need.

The band has never made a charge for its services.

It would play next Sunday at a benefit at Warrawong for a woman whose husband was killed recently in an accident. 

Lola joined us at our Songs Session at the recent National Folk Festival and you can see pictures here 

Lola's life story has now been turned into a musical play, Lola's Keg Night, and will be premiered in October.

Wollongong - Merrigong Theatre,  9, 10, 11 (2 shows) October 

Sydney - NSW Teachers Federation auditorium, 25 October

Lola's Keg Night - a musical memoir adapted by PP Cranney & Christina Mimmocchi, from the autobiography of Lola Wright. As a reading only, with music, it was a big hit at the Illawarra & the National Folk Festivals. A full production will be happening at Merrigong Theatre in Wollongong in early October & in Sydney shortly thereafter.

Performers: Vashti Hughes (as Lola) with music from Laura Bishop & friends

Lola's keg night? Well, Lola was famous for her parties, where the keg was not broached until sufficient songs were sung! And no one could say they didn't know the songs as the words were projected onto a screen. After all, she was a teacher.

Lola's Keg Night @ Merringong, June 2013,  (Christina Mimmocchi photos) 

The Band
Laura & Vashti
 Illawarra Folk Festival, 2014 (Mike Young photos)


Laura & Christina on stage, Lola with audience, Illawarra Folk Festival, 2014 (photo Sandra Nixon)

Vashti & Lola at the National Folk Festival, 2014 (photo Sandra Nixon)
Photos from Merringong October 2014 (Photos Sandra Nixon) 

************************************************************************************************* *************************************************************************************************

Found on TROVE part 1, First and early versions of traditional songs and poems we love

Click on pictures for full-screen image

Trove: A revolutionary new free search engine

Finding information just got easier – thanks to Trove, a revolutionary new free search engine created by the National Library of Australia.

With just one click at users, like never before, can access a wealth of resources - across more than 90 million items in one go - about Australia and Australians.
Trove’s content, much of which is digital, comes from more than 1000 libraries around Australia as well as other cultural and educational institutions and international collections with relevance to Australia.

Trove takes users straight to the source – not just to a list of websites – and allows them to search across pictures, unpublished manuscripts, books, oral histories, music, videos, research papers, diaries, letters, maps, archived websites and Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1954. read more National library of Australia Media Release

Mark Gregory folksinger and scholar has been searching through the digitised newspapers using lines from traditional songs and poems and seems to be announcing discoveries almost daily!

They are published in his website Folkstream - A collection of Australian traditional and bush songs with words, music and information about each song. 

List of Songs 

A few interesting examples -

 The Visions of a Night Watch by C. J. O. S., of N.S.W. in The Kadina and Wallaroo Times (SA) 25th December 1889, known today asThe Drover's Dream

 The Bare Belled Ewe is the earliest known version of Click Goes the Shears, and was published in Bacchus Marsh Times (Vic) 20th November, 1891. It has been Bowdlerised with 2 changes in the last line He works hard, he dies hard, and goes to heaven at last replaced by He works hard, he drinks hard, and goes to hell at last.  
 Jason & Chloe Roweth sang it earlier this year on ABC's Landline

 The Shearer  from  Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Friday 3rd April 1874. p. 3.

Comment by Mark -  Because of its familiar phrases this 1874 South Australian song appears to me to be a forerunner of other shearers' songs. We have the famous hand shears "Ward and Payne", the ringer, the "clicking of the shears", "down the belly up the neck and down the whipping side", the "open Sorby wide", the "loudly bawls for tar", "wool, wool ringing near and far" and "the cobbler". All these phrases or variations of them appear in a number well known songs including Lachlan Tigers, Ryebuck Shearer, Tomahawking Fred, Widgegoweera Joe, Goorianawa, and, last but not least, Click Go the Shears. 

One of "the Have Beens"  A Song by Robert Stewart ©Robert Stewart 1875  published in the Manoro Mercury and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser, November 20, 1875 (Manaro was the alternate spelling of Monaro) 

The Bullock Dray   now known as The Old Bullock Dray,


 published in the Queensland Figaro and Punch, on 9th November 1887 with wonderful illustrations

************************************************************************************************* *************************************************************************************************