Monday 24 September 2018

Lost poem by Duke Tritton sent to Wild Colonial Days Society in 1965

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Thanks to Chris Woodland for sending this to BMC.



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Saturday 22 September 2018

From the Archives - Burl Ives & the popularisation of Australian folk song

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This well-used folio is available in our Reference Library. (The State Library of Victoria has a pdf download of a pristine copy of this folio here)

In 1940 priest & musician Dr Percy Jones published an appeal for Australian folksongs in Melbourne's Sun News-Pictorial & collected many examples, some of which were later  given to Burl Ives when he visited Australia.
Australia's Folk-Songs by Percy Jones   - THESE last few years have witnessed a welcome and long overdue interest in Australian historical research. For far too long, this aspect of Australiana remained the Cinderella of Australian publications. It is therefore not very surprising to find even knowledgable people taking for granted the statement that "Australia possesses only one folk-song, 'Waltzing Matilda.''' There has been a great deal of printers' ink spilt over the authorship of this popular song, but to my mind, this energy could have well been diverted into a much more important channel of research – namely, the rescuing from oblivion of the large number of other folk-songs which were characteristic of the pioneering days of this country.  (read on) 
This article (minus the graphics) was first published in 1946 in the first edition of the magazine TWENTIETH CENTURY pp. 37-43  

How Burl Ives popularised Australian folk songs. This program was broadcast by Radio National's RareCollections on Sunday 31 August 2014 & audio is no longer available.
The summary includes a pdf download of an article "Bring me songs" says Burl Ives in Australian Woman's Weekly, 7th May 1952, page 12, extract: One of the things I look forward to in Australia is that there will be, I know, a large number of people come and see me with songs for me to sing. You can tell Australians I want them to do that. I'm on the look-out for any real indigenous Australian folk songs, adapted aboriginal songs, or any English folk songs that have been kept alive one way or another -  The article is available here in TROVE.
Wikipedia on Australian Folk Songs (Decca DL 8749) is a 1958 album by Burl Ives  During his visit to Australia in 1952, invited there by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Ives met the Reverend Percy Jones, a professor of music at the University of Melbourne. The two men compiled a book of Australian folk songs and Ives recorded an album, "collected and arranged" by Jones, which were later released in the United States and elsewhere as Australian Folk Songs. (read on)
Burl Ives' Folio of Australian Folk Songs (Sydney, Southern Music Publishing, 1953)

2. first song

4.  This carbon copy was found between pages 18 & 19

5. Green grow the rushes,

Australia's Lost Folk Songs. The treasures that slipped through Percy Jones's fingers, by Keith McKenry. Rams Skull, 2008. Australian Folklore - Occasional Paper no.25.
Copies are available from Rams Skull Press & Trad and Now on-line Bookshop   

A scholarly work of serious note. This book detailing about 50 Australian folk songs and fragments of many others is published by the Rams Skull Press, and produced under McKenry's own Fanged Wombat Productions. It's #25 of a series of papers known as Australian Folklore Occasional Papers, published by Rams Skull Press.

McKenry's aim was to present a range of folk songs that seemed to have slipped under the guard of contemporary Australian folk singers. He used fragments of songs published in the Sun News-Pictorial in 1940, where readers provided verses of songs they had heard or sung themselves. McKenry then sourced many of them putting them in context, detailing the history of each song, each fully referenced with words, music and guitar chords. The book is illustrated by, and dedicated to, the late Ron Edwards. There is a comprehensive bibliography, references used, cross references and annotated remarks. In his introduction, McKenry asserts that many early collectors of Australian folk songs, or bush songs, ignored songs that originated in urban areas.

McKenry also notes that many songs from states other than the 3 main Eastern were not collected either. However in the early 40's an appeal was put in the Sun News-Pictorial for readers to send in Australian folk songs they knew. Unfortunately the requestor did not follow up many of the leads which leads McKenry research to piece together scraps or fragments of songs. As a person who is interested in documenting and archiving Australian music, I welcome this book. It would be of interest to those of you who have an interest in learning new songs or learning about where folk songs originated.
Review by Chris Spencer from Trad & Now.

In 2007 Keith started a thread on the Mudcat Cafe about one of these songs When the Old Man Came Home Sober for the First Time in His Life -

The cat flew up the chimney,
The doggie tore about,
He jumped inside the cradle
And turned the baby out.
The servant sought protection behind the carving knife
When the old man came home sober
For the first time in his life.

I found the reference in a 1940 issue of the Melbourne Sun newspaper. A Sun columnist was asking readers for old songs from the pioneering and gold rush days, to assist Rev Dr Percy Jones (who was looking for Australian folk songs). The columnist published fragments of 71 submitted songs before passing them on to Jones. Sadly, the papers the journalist gave to Jones have all been destroyed. I have been trying to identify the songs from the published fragments, and then to obtain full texts and tunes for them. Thus far I have positively identified 47 of the songs. When the Old Man Came Home Sober is one of the song fragments. 

In 2012 further information was located. On 17th Dec Guest, 999 posted a link to the sheetmusic of When the old man came home sober, by John Cook jr, probably written in the 1880s.

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Thursday 20 September 2018

Extracts from Singabout - John Arcott, the mysterious Melbourne composer who set to music the works of a number of Australian worker-poets

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The Bush Music Club published many new songs & poems in Singabout, Journal of Australian Folk Song between 1956 and 1967. This series lists the works of these writers and musicians and provides biographical information where possible.

Aims of the Bush Music Club, Singabout 1(1), Summer 1956

Singbout 1(1) Summer, 1956, p.17  
He was the winner of the first "Findatune" competition, for the tune to It's Lovely Down the Pit My Lad
by Mick Lawson   Music: John Arcott.

Singabout 1(1),
p.12, 1956
A Man of the Earth
by Jock Graham  Music by John Arcott

Singabout, 1(2), p.11, 1956
 Victory at Bowen by Ross Tracie, music John Arcott
Singabout 1(2)
The Rona's Last Trip
by Merv Lilley   Music: John Arcott

Singabout 1(4)

One of his tunes was included in the 1988 edition of Chris Kempster's Songs of Henry Lawson

 The Glass on the Bar,  p. 56 

It is not easy to find information on John Arcott (sometimes referred to as John Arcot)  

An enquiry to the State Library of Victoria asking for information on John Arcott/Arcot, composer, Melbourne, 1950s received the following reply -  I am one of the librarians working in the Arts Team here at State Library Victoria, and I am responding to you regarding the composer John Arcott. I'm afraid I wasn't able to locate any further information regarding him. The manuscript archive that you referred to merely contains music credited to him - no further details about him are contained within. I also did a search of the Melbourne metropolitan telephone directory for a few years in the 1950s, and didn't find any J. Arcott's (or any Arcot's or Arcott's, for that matter). Hopefully you have better luck with the NLA.

Vol. 1: 7 sonnets of John Keats set to music; Vol. 2: Rejected entries for the Australian National Anthem Quest, 1973 with a forward by Ralph Traill; Article by Ralph Traill "Blest pair of sirens (reprinted from The Rationalist 1963 Mar.-Apr.); Sonatas for violin and pianoforte; Sonatas for violoncello and pianoforte; Suite in G for small orchestra, with notes; Vol. 3: Copies of original music: Clarinet part to Dead Man's Glory (words by David Martin set to music by John Arcot); Songs of poems by David Martin set to music by John Arcott; Songs of poems by Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmore set to music by John Arcott.

Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore in the National Library
Series IV. Sheet music
Eight pieces, including drafts and copies of "Australian Battle Cry", "Six poems by Dame Mary Gilmore set to music by John Arcot" and Six songs from the South (words by Mary Gilmore; music by G.H. Clutsam) (3 folders + 1 volume).

A copy of Singabout: Journal of Australian folk song: v.3, no.1, Summer, 1958 (Item 26)  is also included in her papers.
Papers of David Martin in the National Library 

3 ‘Poem for Laura’: radio play
Script containing an insert of a short piece of music composed by John Arcot, with words by Martin (43pp)
4 ‘The rising of the men’: stage play, c1968
2 bound copies of edited script (74pp). Includes two short pieces of music composed by John Arcot, with words by Martin

Series 41 Music
The musical scores, mostly undated, were written specifically for selected poems of Martin. Most of the music has been composed by John Arcot, but there are also compositions by Berkeley Fase, John Gordon, Wendy Hiscocks, Jenifer Mann, Bernard Stevens and Ralph Traill.

1 Photographs of musical scores by John Arcot for ‘Armistice’ and ‘Dead man’s glory’
Correspondence with Ralph Traill, 1959-64

Folio 1 Music by John Arcot:
‘The almond tree’
‘Apple and arrows’
‘Bagpipes in Hobart’
‘Blinded in Spain’
‘Collinsville’, 1961
‘The empty goal at Castlemaine’
‘Four in the march’
‘Give me a word’
‘In Flanders’, 1959
‘Jarrama, ten years’
‘New Year’s Eve’
‘On the retreat’
‘One day the young will die no more’
‘Soldiers, 1939’
‘Song of the Jarama front’
‘Spring song’
‘The triangle and the star’
‘With a broad sickle’

The papers also include 3 tunes by Jennifer Mann who is featured in Singabout 1(3)

Music by Jenifer Mann: 'The lovely lasses of Innisfail' (Item 1c) - Folio-Box 1

Music by Jenifer Mann:'Song without words' (Item 1c) - Folio-Box 1

Music by Jenifer Mann:'To my daughter-in-law unknown' (Item 1c) - Folio-Box 1


Papers of Ralph Cuthbert Traill in the National Library
Ralph Traill was Deputy Director for the Victorian Scientific Liaison Bureau from 1943 and Chairman of the Victorian Division of the Australian Association of Scientific Workers from 1942. He was a research chemist at Leathercloth Pty Ltd from 1935 to 1940 and a biochemist at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories from 1940 to 1943. Traill was later appointed Vice Principle of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

An entry in the National Library of Australia catalogue for a manuscript collection c.1977
Music, 1954-1973 [manuscript].  Traill, Ralph C. (Ralph Cuthbert) 

The contents include - Clarinet part to Dead Man's Glory (words by David Martin set to music by John Arcot); Songs of poems by David Martin set to music by John Arcott; Songs of poems by Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmore set to music by John Arcott. 


Collection of music manuscripts ​ by Ralph Traill, 1953-1983. in the National Library 

Creator - Traill, Ralph C. (Ralph Cuthbert), (composer.) 

extract -
  • Collection of bound and unbound notated music by Ralph Traill ; in some scores the composer is given as John Arcot, Traill's pen name. Collection comprises 21 holograph bound volumes (in fair copy) and a bundle (about 150 pages) of other compositions, some in pencil draft, some photocopied.
  • The vocal music includes settings of David Martin, Henry Lawson, Mary Gilmore and John Keats ; other items include instrumental sonatas, piano music, a Suite in C and a Suite in G for small orchestra, various items of chamber music and a volume of six, "Rejected entries for the Australian National Anthem Quest 1973" ; some items come with typescript annotations by the composer and other various handwritten and typescript leaves.

John Arcott/Arcot was Ralph Traill's pen name.


Tuesday 18 September 2018

The Bushwhackers trip to Mudgee for the first annual Henry Lawson celebrations, 7th-8th September, 1956

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Extracts from Keith McKenry's John Meredith and the Fight for Australian Tradition (Dural, Rosenberg, 2014) pp.167-168.

Mudgee Mail, 6 Sept 1956: a notice by Mudgee Mayor Robert Roth, stating the Sydney Bushwhackers Band will be performing in the Mudgee Town Hall on Saturday Sept 8th 1956 [and the following day they will do a concert at the Lawson memorial at Eurunderee]     Correspondence with Keith, 2017

Unfortunately neither of these articles are available in TROVE.

Report by J.M. (John Meredith) on the visit to Mudgee, Singabout 1(4) Spring 1956, page 14.

Bushwhackers at Lawson birthplace (BMC archives) - Brian Loughlin (lagerphone), Harry Kay (harmonica), Cec Grievas (bones, behind Harry), Alan Scott (whistle), John Meredith (accordion), Jack Barrie (bush bass), Chris Kempster (guitar) 

Report in BMC minutes 27th Sept 1957 (Archives - Minutes 1957-1978)


Thanks to Mid Western Regional Council Library for the following newspaper clippings from The Mudgee Guardian.

Thurs 6th Sept 1956 



Thursday 6th Sept 1956


Monday 10th Sept 1956

Dud Mills, poet & bones player was featured in Singabout 2(2) Sept 1957, page 9 & Singabout  2(3), December 1957

Singabout 2(2), Sept 1957, p.9


Thurs 13th Sept, 1956
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Tuesday 11 September 2018

Duke's Place Australian Songs in Concert & Session with Ten Quid Poms, Friday 9th November, 7.30 for 8pm

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Friday 9th November, 7.30 for 8pm

Bush Music Club  
Tritton Hall, Hut 44
Addison Road Centre
142 Addison Road, Marrickville

Robin Connaughton and John Warner, THE TEN QUID POMS, started singing together about five years ago,  and the duo was an instant success with a number of festival, club and concert performances, recently  including backing the German/Celtic group Cara and a stand-up ovation for a May day concert in Wollongong.

 (photo Marion Connaughton)
Look to them for great and creative harmonies, clever instrumentation and a lively stage presence, including the audience in their songs. They will take you into beautiful places in our heritage, as well as happy and sad ones. They have their roots in traditional Australian and English music, and compose many songs in the same genre, as well as singing those of other Australian writers, such as John Dengate and Alistair Hulett. John has written a huge number of songs, and many themed albums, including Yarri of Wiradjuri and Pithead and the Fern. The two of them collaborated to write We Made The Steel, about Robin's experiences in the NSW steelworks, very well received in England as well as Australia.

Duke's Place, 2nd Fridays February to December, 7.30 for 8pm start - concert is followed by a session.

$10, BYOG and a contribution for supper  

enquiries Sandra 9358 4886

Map of Addison Road Centre

Duke's Place, named after our honoured early member Harold 'Duke' Tritton (1886-1965), is the place to go once a month for a great night of Australian songs in concert and session. Duke was a powerful singer who supplied BMC with many songs he had learnt in his younger days while working as a shearer and at other bush jobs. He was also a songwriter and poet giving us songs that have entered the tradition such as Sandy Hollow Line and Shearing in the Bar.

Duke Tritton, drawing by Hottie Lahm, 1959


Sunday 9 September 2018

Louise Murray collection - Playford & Boadicia Women's Morris

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Thanks to Lou for sharing her photos & to Mike Young for adding names of Playford dancers.
Boadicia Women's Morris, 12th September 1982

Boadicea Women’s Morris started in the early 1980’s and I decided to join after talking to some of the dancers. I was already dancing with Sydney Playford at that stage. Boadicea and Black Wattle Morris Men did many things together, including some practices. Sydney Morris Men didn’t like us because as far as they were concerned, women didn’t wear the flowered hats, men’s clothing and baldrick. An old myth was that if you wore a Morrisman’s flowered hat you would fall pregnant - still waiting!

In 1983 I spent 4 months in the UK and Europe. While in London I went to the Cecil Sharpe House and bought 3 different sized Morris bells. It ended up that Boadicea not only had the largest sticks but we also had the largest bells! We used to meet in Glebe in the hall that was used by an aboriginal dance company, name escapes me. After every performance we would have to sweep the floor for splinters. We had many foot-ups and the one in the photos is at the Domain.  email 27/3/20

1.  Meredith, Jenny, Anne, Louise

2.  Back of no. 1

3.  Janet, Carol, ?, Meredith, Louise "Shooting"

4.  Back of no. 3

5. "Bluebells" Carol, Jill, Anne, Louise

7.  Back of no. 5.
Playford at 23rd National Folk Festival, Sutherland, Easter 1988 


8. left -
Patricia Early (blue),    Mike Waters (right)

9.  Back of 8


Playford at Blacktown

10.  Blacktown - 
Yoshi, Jaan, Maureen, Ros, Jim G, Louise, Lorraine, Mike, Patricia, Sharyn

11. Back of no. 10
Playford at Windsor, 1988



14. Back of no.13

Playford at N
ewcastle Folk Festival

15. Eric Eisler & Louise

16. Back of no. 15

17.  l to r -
Phil Baker, Errol, Bryden, Patricia

18. back of no. 17

19. Tess Mallos,
20. Back of no. 19

Playford at Picton Music Festival, Town Square, Argyle St

Lou, Mike Young, Jim Gambling, Margaret Winnett, Alex Bishop, Patricia Early

Playford at National Folk Festival, 2000
Ros thinks the NFF performance may have been 2001. It was definitely no earlier than 2000 and I don't think it would be later than 2003 as I don't have any digital pictures of it and I got my first digital camera in 2003. I think the girl in green is probably Susie Bishop. (Mike)
Photos by Bob Bolton - Bob Bolton collection - National Folk Festival 2000, Part 2 - (Jan 2023)

Dancers - Julie & Alex Bishop & Susie Bishop, Jaan Boersma, Jim Bradman, Pat Burnett, Patricia Early, Eric Eisler, Jim Gambling, Sharyn Mattern, Louise Murray, Lorraine Tomlinson, Yoshi, Ros & Mike Young.

Louise & JimG, Julie & Alex, Sharyn & Susie. Standing out Patricia, Yoshi, Eric

23. Ros & Mike (front), back Louise & JimG, Julie, Alex, Sharyn, Susie. Standing out Patricia, Yoshi, Eric


looks like Love 'em and Leave 'em. Not really Playford but written by a former member of the group, Noreen Grunsheit.
Yoshi, Eric, Lorraine, Jaan (top hat), JimB, Sharyn & Mike. Standing out - JimB, Lou, Susie.

26.  Lou, Yoshi, Mike, JimG, Alex, Julie, Patricia. Standing out
Pat, JimB

Eric & Patricia,
JimG & Julie, Yoshi & Mike at front,  Louise & Alex. Standing out - Pat, JimB, Lorraine, Jaan.

28. Eric, Yoshi, Patricia, Louise, Julie & Alex, Mike.  Standing out - Pat, JimB, Lorraine, Jaan

29. JimG, Julie, Lou, Patricia, Eric

30. Patricia, Lou, Jaan, JimB, Eric & Susie behind Jim, Yoshi, Sharyn (blue), Alex & Julie, Mike, Ros, JimG, Lorraine

31.  Yoshi, Jaan, Eric, Lou, Julie, Patricia, Alex, Susie, Lorraine, Jim B, Sharyn (blue, cut off)
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