Saturday 1 July 2017

Bawley Point AusSongs group - Singabout & Concert Sat 22nd July 2017

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When Chris & Virginia Woodland left Sydney in 1967, they didn't leave bush music behind with Chris forming his first group soon after arriving at Mulwara!

On Monday March 11, 2013, a handful of interested people met to discuss the possibility of forming an Australian singing group. The meeting was held at the home of Chris and Virginia Woodland (early Bush Music Club members) and were joined by old folk tragiques Tim and Mariah Beckett. Due to various commitments the sessions did not begin until Monday April 22, 2013.
The venue was at the Woodland’s mud brick house in the bush inland from Termeil. The site was adjacent to a eucalyptus forest and overlooked the Southern Ocean about 7 as-the-crow-flies kilometres away, an idyllic setting where the group were often joined by various songbirds and a very appreciative frog that croaked his accompaniment from the verandah guttering!

John Meredith, Virginia & Chris Woodland (Woodland collection)

The first gathering consisted of but 3 members – Col Keating, Mariah Beckett and Chris Woodland. The following week 6 people turned up and while the sessions could not be held every week, the numbers grew with a constant 7 or 8 in attendance each week. Long-time attendees included two sisters, Margaret McIntosh and Kathy Dullard (vocals), Mariah (vocals & guitar) and Tim Beckett (vocals), John Rushton (vocals, ukulele & banjo ukulele), Col Keating (vocals), Rosemary Milton (vocals) and Chris Woodland (vocals & mouth organ). In 2016 we were fortunate to be joined by Pete Hobson, a very experienced stringed instrument player and vocalist. Pete has played with many groups over the years, including Ulick O’Boyle’s The Settlers.

We eventually called the group AusSongs, which evolved naturally from my abbreviation of ‘Aust. Songs’ on the odd time that I had to commit the group to paper. I have been asking for suggestions for another suitable name, but none have surfaced as yet. Though we could not call ourselves the Bush Music Club (I am a life member of the BMC and the the Becketts are also members), perhaps we should call ourselves ‘AusSongs – a group  of the Bush Music Club’?

The group has introduced good, but little known Australian ballads to the general run of songs, such as At the Melting of the Snow (Paterson/Cheney), As Leichhardt Saw it Then (Buck Taylor), Mulwala (Clem Parkinson), Murrumbidgee (Ian McDougall) and others.

So far we have run 3 folks concerts – one, an all-Australian concert held last March – and they have all been well received by audiences. The venue we use is in a wonderful setting: the Cockatoo Room - a conference room at Bawley Bush Cottages near Bawley Point. The venue is beside a lake and is in a superb bush setting. Our next concert is to be held there on Saturday July 22nd.

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