Thursday 30 April 2015

Duke's Place - The Ballad of the Heathcote Bushwhackers, Friday 8th May 2015, 7.30 to 11.30

Duke's Place - Australian Songs in Concert & session

The Ballad of the Heathcote Bushwhackers.
with long long time members Jamie Carlin, Frank Maher & Ralph Pride
Producer & Director - Eric Eisler
Narrator - Ian Hamilton

In the beginning

It's hard to imagine an Australia without the ubiquitous bush band but that is how things were back in the early 1950s.

The "colonial cringe" was in full flight. Genuine folk musicians were seldom given serious consideration in the public eye. Performers rarely achieved the degree of polish in their performance needed to gain popularity. To be genuinely Australian was a commitment to relative obscurity.

Enter The Heathcote Bushwhackers.  A breath of fresh air. Everything old was new again. Suddenly everyone was singing about shearers and drovers. Performers came out of the woodwork and a new era of Australian entertainment was begun.

Heathcote Bushwhackers

The band was formed in Sydney in early 1952 by pioneer folklore collector John Meredith and two of his friends, Jack Barrie and Brian Loughlin.

In an interview with folksinger Bobby Campbell, John Meredith recalled the local activities in his Sydney suburb of Heathcote: -

I was living in Heathcote and there was an organisation called  The Defence of Australian Culture which was aimed at saving Australian culture from the inroads being made by imported American crap. They hit on the idea of having Australian social evenings where everything on the program was Australian.

There would be poems read by Dorothy Hewitt and somebody would sing some Australian songs, Faith Bandler would sing some aboriginal or Torres Strait Island songs. Anyway we had one of these evenings down at Heathcote which was quite a success so we decided to do another one. For the second  one I suggested to Brian Loughlin that we get together and do two or three Australian songs.

We stuck on false whiskers, dressed rough and gave out with our entire repertoire

Click go the Shears

Botany Bay and

Nine miles from Gundagai.

In spite of my whiskers falling off, or maybe because of them, we were an immediate success ... as a comedy act!        
  John Meredith 

 Late in 1952 they gave their first public performance at the Rivioli Hall in Hurstville. It was at this time that the name of the band was permanently changed to The Bushwhackers.

In December 1953 the band performed at the Sydney New Theatre amateur production of Reedy River, an Australian musical written by Dick Diamond featuring bush and Australian folk music, some of which had been collected by Meredith.

The musical was an enormous success and run for fourteen months after which the group rode high on an unprecedented wave of popularity. 

The formation of the Bush Music Club

In 1954 ...  Reedy River produced by the New Theatre was still playing to packed houses every weekend - starring the Bushwhackers' Band led by John Meredith.

About October, a foolscap circular headed "The B.M.C." was circulated. It set out the intentions of several of the Bushwhackers' Band, to form an organisation of the many friends of the Bushwhackers.

It was the intention of the B.M.C. to encourage the formation of small bands in various suburbs, capable of doing work similar to that of the Bushwhackers' Band. However these small bands did not last very long, and eventually broke apart: some members joined the B.M.C.

The newly formed B.M.C. met on Friday evenings at the Video Studios, Castlereagh Street.

"... although I have not recorded my first visit, it was quite close to the foundation. The small group at Granville were regularly practicing. This group dissolved eventually, and I became a more regular attender of B.M.C. meetings"     Jamie Carlin


Tritton Hall, Hut 44 Addison Road Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville

Door opens 7.30 for 8pm start.

Concert & supper 8-10, Singing Session 10.00-11.30pm

BYO Australian songs

Cost - $10

Bring something to drink & a plate for supper

Enquiries - Sandra 9358 4886


Wednesday 29 April 2015

Singabout - Journal of Australian Folksong, Volume 2, 1957/58 - precis of each issue

Click on pictures for full-screen image

The Bush Music Club was founded in October 1954 & published the first issue of Singabout in January 1956. This issue included notice of BMC's First Annual Conference on Saturday 11th February at the International Seaman's Club. 

The final issue published was Vol. 6, no. 2, 1967. Issue 6(3) was prepared but never printed and BMC then relied on newsletter-style publications until Mulga Wire started in 1977.

Singabout 2(1) April 1957


New Songs

Shining Moon A song for children words & music by Stan Wakefield
Shearing in a Bar by Duke Tritton

Collected Songs

The Wild Colonial Boy - collected from an old convict named Timms by Mr Malcolm Ellis before 1903
The Ryebuck Shearer - tune & several verses collected from Jack Luscombe, Ryde NSW, additional words from Ernie Sibley, Mudgee NSW
Sam Griffiths - collected from Jack Luscombe, Ryde NSW

Best Foot forward

The Quaker's Wife


Singabout 2(2) April 1957

see Vol.1(3) for Myxo song

New Songs

Sleeper Cutting in Baradine Bar by Laurie Cooper


Collected Songs

The Goondiwindi Song
Broken Down Squatter

Ye Maids of Ontario (from review of Folk Songs of Canada by E.F Fowke & R. Johnston)

The Numerella Shore
Maggie May & a variation from a journal of 1830



The Jacaranda Dance - original version as written by Leith Charlston, President of the Clarence River Folk Lore Association


Singabout 2(3) December 1957

New Songs

Wallaby Liz words & music by Stan Wakefield
Ballad of Norman Brown by Dorothy Hewett  (tune - the Collier Laddie)

The Station Hand's Reply by Trevor Rose  (tune - Paddy Fagan)


Collected Songs

The Shores of Botany Bay collected fom Duke Tritton
A Gum Tree Canoe - collected by Frank Nichols of Melbourne's Billabong Band
Old T.I. collected by Alan Scott

Out on the Condamine collected by Geoff Wills of Brisbane


Singabout 2(4) May 1958

New Songs

The Dogwood Itch words & music by Stan Wakefield
Robbed of All His Pay by Alan Scott (trad tune)


Collected Songs

The Broken-Hearted Shearer
collected by John Meredith from Tom Byrnes of Parramatta The Little Fish collected by Jamie Carlin from Dick Fitzgerald of Charleville, Qld
Native Mate collected by Alan Scott & others
The Shearer's Dream by Henry Lawson collected by John Meredith from Charles Ayger of Glebe
Five Bob to Four collected by John Meredith from Alf Fuller of Concord NSW
Nine Miles from Gundagai



Dukes program for 2015

Duke's Place - Australian Songs in Concert & Session
2nd Fridays, 7.30 for 8pm start - evening ends 11.30
$10, bring a contribution for supper

Tritton Hall, Hut 44
Addison Road Centre
142 Addison Rd

enquiries Sandra 9358 4886

13th February - Robin Connaughton


13th March - Southern Cross Trawlers


10th April -  Garry Tooth


8th May -   Ballad of the Heathcote Bushwhackers


12th June -  Margaret Bradford 


10th July -  Chris Maltby

14th August - Margaret & Bob Fagan


11th September -  John Warner


9th October - Chloe & Jason Roweth present
                  Gallipoli -
5 acres of pretty poor grazing country

2015 Marks the 100th anniversary of what is known in Australia simply as "Gallipoli". Though the campaign has been discussed endlessly, no one knows more than those who were there. Strip away the legends, these are the songs, poems, stories and closest thoughts of those who took part. This presentation is in the style of a radio play - a continuous collage of contrasting points of view.

13th November -  Mike Martin

11th December -  Chris Wheeler


Monday 27 April 2015

Tails from the past - 100 years of the site that became the Addison Road Centre, Sat 2nd May, 10-3pm

ANZAC Centenary Event –
Tails from the Past: To remember the horses -
  fete, competitions, music, talks

Saturday 2nd May, 2015.
10am – 3pm 

Addison Road Community Centre
142 Addison Road, Marrickville.

Addison Road Community Centre proudly present our ANZAC centenary event to remember the war horse.

The former Army Barracks in Sydney's Inner West, & now home to Australia’s first and largest community centre, will be transformed to a bygone era when horses were part of daily life, for the centre’s Anzac Centenary Event on the 2nd of May.

Over 130,000 horses left Australia for WW1, and only one horse made it home. Many soldiers and their horses spent time here on their way to war, as it was an Army Barracks and horse training ground.

The community will gather to remember the horses that played such an important yet oft forgotten role in our history, as The Australian Light Horse Association performs a concise re-enactment.

The transformation of the 9 acre grounds will include a WW1 era fete selling handmade, home-grown, vintage and recycled wares; old-fashioned games; period costume and baking competitions; music from Australia’s oldest folk group – The Bush Music Club; historical interviews and of course, the horses.

Register for competitions between 10 & 11am.

Best dressed in period costume (family, woman, man, child)

Best home-made mustard pickles

Best home-made plum jam

Best old fashioned sponge cake

Best scones

Best home grown veggies - Broccoli, potatoes, silverbeet

Best home-gown flowers - Rose, Begonias

On the stage

Official opening 10.15

11am - noon  Australian Light Horse Association performance

12 -1pm  BMC performance

1pm - competition winners announced

2pm  - Salvation Army Band

In the StirrUp Gallery

2pm, 4 speakers remember the Army, it's horses & the anti-conscription protests


Sunday 26 April 2015

Concert Party & other members @ 2015 National Folk Festival

Click images for larger size 

Concert Party's Songs of Stan Wakefield workshop & the world famous Waltz-a-thon were well received.

Back - Terry Pybus, Rick Hull, Sharyn Mattern, Ralph Pride, Mariamma Mitchell, Bob Foggin, Peter Cahill, Frank Maher, Gail Copely, Eric Eisler, Moira Cowie
front - Dave Moir, Chris Poleson, Cliff Grant

 Mariamma Mitchell

Bob Foggin, Allen Davis & Darri Adamson

Concertina session

Lunchtime Australian songs sessions

Dave Johnson, Tony Romeo & Bob Toohey

Chris Poleson & Tony Romeo

Frank Maher

Community Hymn Singing

Photo of my skirt as proof I was there

Chloe & Jason Roweth - Gallipoli - 5 Acres of Pretty Poor Grazing Country


Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers

Alex Hood with Franklyn B. Paverty

Beth Cambridge & the massed Morris - even tho Beth hasn't danced with Albion Fair for a couple of years since she started playing for Black Joak, she was able to join them when they needed another dancer!

Southern Cross Trawlers (Margaret Walters & Don Brian with special guest Tomas)


Late night session in the Session Bar

Shanty Session with the Redfern Shanty Club & friends

Margaret Walters

Don Brian

Don Brian & Chris Maltby

Dave de Santi


photos Sandra Nixon