Friday 31 May 2019

Reedy River publications in our library

Click on pictures for full-screen image

We are fortunate to have the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th editions of the Reedy River Song Book, as well as  several edition of the play, and a screenplay for a proposed television show.
On unknown dates Bob Bolton copied ephemera in the possession of Harry Kay & Chris Kempster, including Reedy River programs.

 A bit of history - Northern Folk The North Queensland Folklore Magazine, no. 15, July 1967


From New Theatre wiki   Play - Reedy River

Produced: 1953, 1954, 1960 (twice), 1963, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1982, 1988, and 2002.
A musical "as warm as a handshake", Reedy River was hugely successful for Sydney New Theatre and has assisted its finances more than once. It was first produced by Melbourne New Theatre, and subsequently by New Theatres in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Newcastle. The Sydney show also toured suburban and NSW country centres. 


from New Theatre wiki  - Premises 

When a court order forced it to vacate 167 Castlereagh Street in April 1954, the New had trouble finding other accommodation, city rentals being in short supply. As a “temporary” measure the theatre moved into the hall in the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF) building at 60 Sussex Street where it remained until 1963 under the auspices of the WWF Cultural Committee.

Financial and political stress marked the period at the WWF hall. In 1954 only two productions had seasons there; the hugely successful Reedy River instead played one-night gigs in venues stretching from West Lindfield to Sutherland, from Blacktown to Newcastle. 

link to ticket to Reedy River, Parramatta 11th Nov 1954

NT members lugged a gramophone to Mary Gilmore’s Kings Cross flat so she could listen to the Reedy River recording, and June Grivas composed an ode to the New’s most successful money-spinner:

Some people they like Homer, others they like Shaw
And others like the “classics”, I could name ‘em by the score.
Some people they like “epics” crammed full of blood and lust
While others go quite drooly over Marilyn Monroe’s bust.
But me, I like the stories of Australia land
Of the pioneers, the shearers and the gallant Eureka Band.
I’m not the only one, there’s at least 10 million more
So just give us Reedy River and the Eumerella Shore.



1.  Cover of 1st edition, 1954

2.  Inside cover of 1st edition

3.  Title page of 1st edition

4.  Wake up Landlord, by Dick Diamond,  music Charles Allen 

Songs in 1st edition

4.   Cover of 2nd edition, 1960

5.  Inside cover of 2nd edition

6.  Title page of 2nd edition

Songs in 2nd edition


7.  Cover of 3rd edition, 1966

8.  Inside cover of 3rd edition

9. title page of 3rd edition

Songs in 3rd edition


10. Program of 1973 production

11. 2nd page of 1973 program

12.  3rd page of 1973 program



13.  Cover of 4th edition 1979
14.  Inside
cover of 4th edition

  Title page of 4th edition

Songs of 4th edition

Leaflet inside Phyl Lobl's copy of 1979 program
(courtesy of Phyl Lobl)



16.  Program of 2007 production

Inside cover of 2007 production

19. cast list 2007 production

20.  Reedy River, the Australian bush musical.  Sydney Currency Press, 1970,



21.  Reedy River. An original screenplay by Evan Williams. (typescript)
Ex Libris Geri & Phyl Lobl, given to Geri Lobl by Dick Diamond when Geri interviewed him for the National Library in 1989. Donated by Phyl Lobl

From the archives -


Songs from 1955 production of  Reedy River @ Unity Theatre London at National LIbrary of Australia
Songs from the Australian musical play Reedy river : as produced by London Unity Theatre
London : Workers' Music Association, [1955]
1 score (21 pages) ; 17 cm
full content
  • By the Eumerella shore / words collected by A.B. ("Banjo") Paterson ; music adapted by Louis Lavater
  • Castlereagh / words by A.B. ("Banjo") Paterson ; tune collectedby A.L. Lloyd
  • Reedy river / words by Henry Lawson ; tune by Chris Kempster
  • My old black billy / words by Edward Harrington ; tune by Roy Jeffries
  • Wild rover / words: traditional ; tune: adapted by Louis Lavater
  • Ballad of eighteenninetyone / words by Helen G. Palmer ; tune by D.M. Jacobs
  • Lazy Harry's
  • Widgeegoweera Joe / words by Bill Tully ; tune traditional
  • Banks of the Codamine / words collected by Vance Palmer ; tune collected by A.L. Lloyd
  • Wild colonial boy / adapted by John Manifold
  • Click go the shears
  • Old bullock dray : (dance tune)
  • Drover's dream : (dance tune).

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