Wednesday 22 April 2020

Bush Music Club, Australia's oldest folk club & apparently the second oldest folk club in the English-speaking world

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Way back in 2011 I posted on Mudcat Cafe  Long-lived folk clubs? 60yrs?    Australia's oldest folk club, the Bush Music Club is counting down to it's 60th birthday.

extract from Bush Music Club Inc - History The club was founded in 1954 by a mob of mostly bush types that found the jobs had all moved to the city. They missed the friendly, informal social life they remembered from the country towns where they grew up.

They formed a band, which they called the Heathcote Bushwhackers, sang some of the old songs, and played such simple instruments as the squeezebox (button accordion) and whistle. As a group they became involved with the New Theatre, supplying the musical side of Dick Diamond's new Australian musical play Reedy River.
Musically inclined theatricals joined the band (now just called the Bushwhackers) and membership rose to seven. The band now played accordion, guitar, banjo, mouth organ, tin whistle and those distinctive home-made instruments; bush bass, bones and particularly the lagerphone - which the Bushwhackers first introduced to the public.
When more and more people wanted to join the band they decided to form a social, teaching club, founded at a meeting on 14th October 1954, and called the Bush Music Club in honour of the survival in bush areas of that style of self reliant entertainment and sociability that seemed so scarce in the "big smoke".

We were wondering about other clubs around the world of a similar age - maybe we can celebrate together!


Alas, no club was the same age.

San Francisco Folk Music Club (US) - founded 1948

Bush Music Club (Aus) - founded 1954

Topic in Bradford (UK) - founded 1956

Edinburgh University Folk Society (UK) - April 1958

Vancouver Folk Song Society (Can) - July 1959

The Folksong Society of Greater Boston (US) - 1959

Victorian Folk Music Club (Aus) - 1959

Swindon Folk Club (UK) - Jan 1960

Dunfermline Folk Club (UK) - 1961

Stockton Folk Club (UK) - 1962

Aberdeen Folk Club (UK) - 1962

Birtley Folk Club (UK) - 1962 & closed December 2014

Herga (UK) - 1963

The Fo'c's'le (formerly Balladeer) Southampton (UK) - 1963

The Pick'n & Sing'n Gather'n
(US) - 1960s

Grimsby Folk Club (UK) - 1964

Cutty Wren Folk Club, Redcar (UK) - 1965

Folk at the Royal Oak, Lewes (UK) - 1965

Black Diamond Folk Club, Birmingham (UK) - 1964

Southport's Bothy Folksong Club (UK) - 1965

Orpington Folk Club (UK) - 1965

Whitby (UK) - similar age to Orpington

Folklore Society Of Greater Washington (US) - 1965

Croydon Folk Club (UK) - 1967

BACCApipes Folk Club - 1967

Frodsham Folk Club (Cheshire UK) - Jan 1968

Christchurch Folk Club (formerly Bank Peninsula Folk Club) (NZ) - est. Nov 1968

Central Australian Folk Society in Alice Springs (Aus) - est. 1968

Durham City Folk Club
(UK) - 1969

(UK) - 1969 (40 slightly interrupted years)

Top End Folk Club (Aus) - est 1971

Calgary Folk Club (Can) - 1972

Islington Folk Club (UK) - 1972

Woods Hole Folk Music Society (US) - 1973 final concert May 2019, Society is still in existence

Dorking Folk Club (UK) - 1976

Llantrisant Folk Club (UK) - 1980

Somers Traditional Folk Club (UK) - 1981

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