Saturday 13 January 2018

Noel Ricketts Collection

Click on pictures for full-screen image

Thanks to Noel for sharing his collection & memories. Concert party went to Tuena/Trunkey Creek three times, in 1967, 1968 & 1969.

I thought that I would tell you how and when it was that I discovered the B.M.C.

It was some time mid to late 60's and I had been breeding a couple of Australian ponies and spending a lot of time in country areas with agricultural shows and also doing a bit of gold prospecting as I had just built a new cradle. I was also listening to what I suppose were Hillbilly songs and quite a lot from Tex Morton who I still admire for his lyrics, mostly very Australian and sometimes very humorous, but I still could never understand why the Austerican accent, and was finding it quite frustrating as I was and still am very pro. Australian.

Any way this particular weekend I was visiting Trunkey Creek, a small old gold mining town about thirty eight miles from Bathurst. I was accompanied by another would-be prospector Gary Bryant was his name, now deceased and we were having a few beers in the Trunkey pub when Gary read out a notice that was stuck on the pub door stating that this evening the Bush Music Club was going to be playing in a vacant paddock at the back of the pub.

I said who is the B.M.C. He was more informed than I, and he said that they were a group of people that came from Sydney and that they sang and played Australian traditional songs of which I knew nothing, but I couldn't wait for the night to come quick enough, and so decided to stay in Trunkey a further few more days.

Then at round about eight o'clock there was a huge bonfire ablaze in the paddock and I heard this wonderful music filling the quiet little town, so over we went. I was so excited to hear all this music about my country and the great songs and I particularly remember Dave Small singing Flash Jack from Gundagai. They were all there at the time John Dengate, Jamie Carlin, Eric Bolton, Ken Greenhalgh, Elaine Thornhill, Frank and Ann Maher and Harry Glendenning, it was great and they had a good  crowd. I was very impressed.

I managed to be able to get a few words with John and he said we meet in Clarence St Sydney once a week on a Tuesday night, I then knew that I was experiencing the music and song that I had so much been wanting to hear and get to know so much, so on the next Tuesday night Gary and I were in Clarence St.

John was very surprised to see us and said to me Gee you have come a long way tonight, I said Greenacre is not far and he said well I thought that you were a local from Trunkey Creek.

So from then on I was at Clarence St. on a very regular basis, fumbling along with a couple of old Hohner mouth organs, till Harry Glendenning persuaded me to spend up big on a couple of chromatic ones of which I never mastered.

Harry then was transferred with his job and had to move to Grafton which left the Concert Party without a mouth organ and accordion player, so not very long after that John said to me, Noel what are those mouth organs of yours like, I said O.k. I think, so he then said How about you coming to the Occidental Hotel on Thursday night where we practice and maybe you could join us.

Well I wouldn't of missed that for anything, I was there and played along with the Concert Party for many wonderful years and graduated to playing the accordion as the Club had a couple that they used to loan out and John encouraged me borrow one of them.

The music and culture has given me a life of wonderful connections with wonderful people, great times and now fifty odd years later, I still play those beautiful tunes and remember those lovely days when we were young and had such a happy time with our music, our excursions away, our all sharing the accommodation, possibly the best time of my life and it has beneficially stayed with me till now.

Best Wishes Noel. 23rd May, 2020.

1.  Ken Greenhalgh, John Dengate, Elaine Thornhill, Jamie Carlin, Noel Ricketts (The Bank of NSW was renamed Westpac in 1982)

2.  Noel & the late Gary Bryant, Wild Colonial Days Society Ball, mid 60s


Concert Party at Cremorne - Wilma Bolton, Elaine Thornhill behind Noel, back view of Eric Bolton, Jamie Carlin, Ken Greenhalgh, Dave Small with guitar, John Dengate - late 60s

5. see also 21 & 22

6. Wilma Bolton, Elaine Thornhill, Noel, Dave, John Dengate's back, Jamie Carlin, Ken Greenhalgh, Frank Maher - Cremorne Shopping Centre  - late 60s?

7.  Elaine Thornhill & lagerphone in front of side curtain, Jamie Carlin,
Ken Greenhalgh, John Dengate, Eric Bolton


9.  Elaine Thornhill in front of side curtain, Ken Greenhalgh, John Dengate, Jamie Carlin, Eric Bolton


11. Noel Ricketts mid 1960s

12.  Eric Bolton, Ken Greenhalgh, Elaine Thornhill (later Wood), Noel Ricketts, John Dengate


14.  Elaine Thornhill with lagerphone in front of side curtain, Ken Greenhalgh, Jamie Carlin, John Dengate, Noel Ricketts, Eric Bolton

16.  Concert Party - Frank Maher (bush bass), Eric Bolton (banjo), John Dengate (guitar), Wilma Bolton (lagerphone), Eileen Thornhill (singer), Dave with guitar, Noel (mouth organ).

front - Jamie Carlin (concertina), Ken Greenhalgh (flute).

17.  Concert Party at Abercrombie Caves - John Dengate, Frank Maher, Noel, Elaine Thornhill, Jamie Carlin, Dale Dengate, Ken Greenhalgh, Eric Bolton.

18.  Noel, Dale Dengate, Elaine Thornhill,
John Dengate's back, Jamie Carlin (seated), Ken Greenhalgh (flute), Eric Bolton, Frank Maher singing - Abercrombie Caves


20.  Daily Mirror, July 1969 - date obscured

21.  Eric Bolton, Noel Ricketts, Elaine Thornhill, Jamie Carlin, John Dengate. Cremorne Shopping Centre



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