SOUVENIR-CHARTERS TOWERS, 1872 TO JULY,
Musical Memories of Towers Charters
CHORAL work began in Charters Towers in the late 1800's, with the
arrival of the migrants (the
miners) from Wales, Cornwall, and the north of England; the Taffies,
Cousin Jacks and Gordies. Most of them musical, vocalists and
choristers. The Welshmen brought with them their knowledge of the
organisation and management of "Eisteddfodau." In the early
days Queensland would be called the choral State of the Commonwealth.
The first tune recorded as being sung in Charters Towers was "The Star
In 1875 the first little Roman Catholic Church was placed on the
"Just in Time" and very shortly after was placed in its present
position. Two ladies from the All Hallows' Convent, Brisbane,
organised, the first choir.
At this same time the Hon. E. D. Miles was organist at St. Paul's, and
Mr, H. B. Walker, who was later Town Clerk, played at St. Phillips.
In 1878, Mr. E. D. Miles founded and trained a fife and drum band and
the first attempt to form an orchestra was made with Harry Walker
(barber) on the piccolo, P. N. Bosca violin, and H. B, Walker, the
piano. This year also saw the formation of the Fire Brigade Band.
Practices were held in Frank Silva's 'bark humpy named Balmoral Castle
near the Defiance Mill with Silva as instructor and, deputy
bandsmaster Jimmy Terrell, conductor and eight other players, Jimmy
Harris, Charlie Hammond, Martin Hansen, George Cronk, George Townsend,
Jim Butcher, Dolph Leyshon and John Dunsford, later M.L.A.
Between 1880 and 1882 the desire for better class music grew and there
was a big improvement in church music and younger people were taking an
interest in concert work. The Wesleyans and Presbyterians also formed
choirs and in 1883 the Charters Towers Musical Union was founded.
Charles Hooper arrived in 1885 and in that year seven new chum
(Lancashire) bandsmen stood up in Mosman Street one evening and
played and woke next morning to find themselves famous. They were
popularly known as the "New Chum Band."
Jack Lewis and Fred Broomhead arrived in 1885 as also did the
Fardon family, Misses Adelong and Christina and brothers Tom, Don and
Malcolm. Their influence in choral and oratoria work was great.
Chrissie was a fine contralto soloist and Tom a rare quality bass. Don
and Malcolm were prominent in training children's choirs.
In the early Presbyterian choir four Fraser girls represented the
family, two Hoelschers, two Meldrums, two Wilhams and two Fardons. Mr.
J. D. Knipe was a very fine baritone and Mr. Peter Husband arrived in
1885. Mr. J. Huddy was then leading the choir.
The Opollo orchestra was first formed in July, 1889, at the house of H.
B. Walker with W. Hooper as conductor.
This was the year in which the first regular Eisteddfod was held in the
old School of Arts, with four
competitive choirs. The Wesleyan United choir sang the "Hallelujah
Chorus" and won. In this choir were Mrs. Hunter, Mrs. Tregasis,
Mrs. Tully, Misses Rose Gard (Mrs. Meyers), M. Pick (Mrs. F. Yeo), Jean
Husband (Mrs. Jenkin), Flossie Husband (Mrs. Huxley), Misses
Dempsey, Harris, Rapple, Miss Ruth Bartlett (Mrs. Kettle), Messrs. J.
D. Knipe, R. J. Hand, Dick Trevertan, the Weeks brothers, W. Toy, P.
Husband (Jnr. and Snr.), J. Kettle, R. Rapple, W. Hooper, W. Keast and
J. J. Connolly.
In 1887, Mr. S. H. Hall arrived and with his flute and knowledge of
orchestra work he soon made his influence felt.
An eminent musician, Dr. Marnow, came about 1891. He was a virtuoso on
the piano and a good instrumental and vocal teacher. He gave his first
recital in Pollard's music shop, which Mr. Hall was
managing. Among his students