Tag Archives: music

Polka Music in Geelong

The railway line between Melbourne and Geelong opened in 1857 and in 1866 von Rochlitz published the Geelong – Melbourne Railway Polka, this copy from the National Library of Austtalia.   It was a common practice for a new song to be  commissioned for the band to play at the opening of a new railway.

Geelong-Melbourne Railway Polka

Over the years Polkas appear in the programs of musical entertainments in Geelong including performances by Geelong’s Volunteer Rifle Band, the oldest Victorian Militia unit, first raised in 1854 in Geelong as a Volunteer Rifle Corps

The Volunteers were present for the arrival of the first train and the official opening of the Geelong Railway Station  and so was a band who played some spirited items.   A huge banquet was arranged but unfortunately the train was late and the locals had their fill of the feast before the  invited guests arrived, including the Governor, Members of Parliament  and other dignitaries.

The Geelong Artillery Band , as the Volunteer Rifle Corps band later became,  is commemorated in the Bollard Walk along the seafront.  The band played its  first recital in 1861

bollard band

And what could they possibly be playing ?

Geelong Polka music  Flickr 3374324250_5290276276_z

My grandfather, Tom Tansey, joined this band some time after arriving in Australia in 1888  and was with them until 1899.  This photo of the Artillery band was taken in 1890

Artillery-1890And was Tom with the band when this photo was taken ?  I don’t know. His portrait (below) was in the uniform of the Geelong Town Band c1900.

Tom-ValveTrombone

2015.02W.48

 

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday for this week but there are plenty more examples of polkas, violets, music and mystery posts to be found in the links on the Sepia Saturday page.

 

Advertisements

Pianists from the Past

2014.01W.25I have been acquainted with many different pianos over the years but few of them have made their way into a photograph such as we have for this week”s theme.

It was part of the life of many a girl to learn how to tinkle the ivories, to play a pretty tune, to accompany  a singalong around the piano,  to be able to play a waltz or a barn dance for a bit of dancing, and once even to sit on a stage at a grand piano to accompany a school choir.

But the earliest photo I have was taken in the beer garden at the old pub at Porepunkah in 1953. It was called the beer garden but it was simply a ramshackle lean-to at the back of a quaint old pub.

Porpunkah Hotel Beer Garden 2. Jan 1953I have mentioned Porepunkah before in  Honeymoon in he Snow – 1929    as it is where you branch off from the valley road to go up the mountain to the Mount Buffalo Chalet.  This Ovens Valley was a great place for growing tobacco until recently  Because the Chalet was “dry” guests would often wander down to the Porepunkah Pub for a bit of variety.

Later a young one started to take an interest in the piano

Sally at piano 8 monthsThis piano is rather special as it had belonged to a family whose only son was a talented pianist.  But he died of polio at age 17.  When it became clear that the family could no longer bear to have his piano in the house we were lucky enough to buy it.

The young one later learned to play.

Sally at pianoShe later  put it to good use

Lachlan Rod Sally Diane sing-songBut nowadays none of us go anywhere near a piano.

And with a little hesitation I add this newspaper cutting c1952 from the Castlemaine Mail.

Fire Brigade DanceStudents will do anything to earn some money and all you needed was  to be able to  keep a good regular beat. Good on our fire brigades.  I turned on the news at 7 am this morning to hear that a grass fire was under way about 5 km from here on the outskirts of town.  It was soon brought under control  by men with 17 fire trucks .  The section of our Country Fire Authority which deals with these fires are volunteers and we can’t praise them highly enough. At the moment the idea is to tie a red balloon to your fence or tree or car  to show that you appreciate what our volunteers are doing for us.

red balloon 2I’ve wandered off topic.  But our volunteers needed to raise money and Saturday night dances (with a piano being played) used to be one way of doing that.