A Cane Chair in Beechworth with a side serve of Brass Bands

Sepia Saturday has suggested cane chairs – or should I say wicker furniture – as a possible theme for this week.  Here is Amelia Tansey in 1931 nursing one of her four grandchildren while seated in a cane chair  at the side of her house in Camp St, Beechworth .

CampS7, , Beechworth  1931

So while wifie was at home cooking, cleaning, washing, sewing etc, etc,  what was hubby Bandmaster Tom doing?   If not at work he might have been at the State School training their brass band.

He would have been using his favourite teaching methods.  My cousin Larraine gave me a copy of his hand-written notes in his lovely  cursive script  This is the first page of three.

Tansey's Silly System 1Here is Tom at the centre of the State School Band playing in front of the school in 1931.

Beechworth School Band in front of school 1931And then again after playing at the hospital for Christmas in 1931. Some of the boys look quite old but some schools went up to  the 8th grade and the boys would be 14 or 15.

Beechworth School Band in front of the hospital 1931

At other times he might have been rehearsing  the Town Brass Band. or putting the band through their marching practice, this time in 1934

Beechworth Town Band 1934

Other  interpretations of this week’s  theme can be found at Sepia Saturday




10 thoughts on “A Cane Chair in Beechworth with a side serve of Brass Bands

  1. Lorraine

    Tansey’s Silly System looks amazingly complicated to this musical novice! Why would he have called it ‘silly’? You’re lucky to have the lovely photos of him ‘at work’. And it looks like grandma Tansey included gardening on her work list as well.


  2. La Nightingail

    I earned solid ‘A’s in music theory, but I’m afraid I would have flunked Mr. Tansey’s class if I’d had to use his oddly complex “Silly” system. Wow.


  3. jofeath

    Very interesting story about Tom and his school band, but I’m glad you managed to link in a photo of ‘wifie’ on her cane chair.One of our sons-in-law calls our daughter wifie, which I must admit grates a little with me, but no matter 🙂


  4. Mike Brubaker

    All wonderful photos but Tom’s “System” is priceless. Such methods very rarely get preserved and are very difficult to document. It demonstrates how music was once taught, and of course it is an echo of how Tom was taught. Printed music and method books were expensive, so most beginning children in this era learned an instrument through rote and clever rhymes for pitch and rhythm. A good bandmaster had to know all the fingerings of all the instruments and how best to explain them to youngsters who had limited knowledge of music fundamentals and might even be illiterate. However unlike written language, music making only requires a good ear and once the “System” is understood the rest is just good noise. I bet Tom’s band sounded great.

    The last diamond formation photo was very clever of the photographer to take it across the diagonal and thereby get every musician in profile. The courtyard concert photo is also unusual as images of musicians “in action” are not common.


  5. Tattered and Lost

    I can’t get past that beautiful handwriting. Makes me so embarrassed for my scrawl. I really need to sit down and try to copy the beauty of his work. Just look at that capital “P” for crying out loud!



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