THE ELUSIVE MISS BLOWN : ORGANISTS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

by David Shield


Extract from OHTA Journal April 1998, pp.16-18, 23-29 and July 1998, pp. 

A paper delivered at St Stephen's Anglican Church, Richmond on Saturday 27 September 1997 as part of the OHTA 20th annual conference.

PREAMBLE

In 1992 a book of essays was published by the Association of Professional Historians entitled William Shakespeare's Adelaide 1860-1930. With such a title one might have expected something about the theatre, music or painting. But there was not a word! Was this an oversight, or ignorance, to miss any reference to the cultural pursuits of the City? My faith was blown as to the expected balance in historical research! William Shakespeare was the Inspector of Weights and Measures, Inspector of Vehicles, and Registrar of Dogs and served the City of Adelaide from 1 January 1873 until he retired in 1922 when not quite 80 years old. But, William Shakespeare, a man who read the service at the Home for the Incurables, had a pipe organist bachelor brother and five sisters, of whom no mention is made.1 But more of that anon.

To attempt a survey of the organists of South Australia, or any State for that matter, is a challenge to determine what theme to follow. A biographical listing would take too long and be infinitely boring. My imperfect list contains over 200 names already. To choose only the prominent would probably bias towards an outline of male dominance and ignore all those, largely female, who faithfully rendered service each Sunday. To define a particular time frame could prove to be too narrow. I for one believe that you can get too close to history so what follows will grow thinner in detail as the time span progresses. Loosely, I have taken an event and endeavoured to follow those personalities who were regarded as prominent at the time in three directions, those who became City Organists, the Anglican Cathedral organists, and those involved with Academia and teaching, while at the same time searching for a lost personality who might represent all those overlooked. As such, not all will receive equal attention for reasons of time and difficulty of research, however, the paper may give an overall view of the scene in South Australia from the 1870s to the 1920s and a little beyond in each direction. And so we go in search of Miss Blown.

INTRODUCTION

On 1 April 1882, Fincham & Hobday were given a complimentary organ recital by the leading organists of the day to mark the completion in the factory of their first instrument built in South Australia. Miss Blown was not in their company, nor was she to play on this, the pipe organ for the Norwood Baptist Church! Searching hither and thither from this April Fool's Day starting point we shall endeavour to find the elusive Miss Blown, and in so doing introduce ourselves to a number of organists of South Australia.

Arthur Hobday regarded the opening recital at the Twin Street factory a major success with 275 present,2 though the daily newspaper estimated less than 200.3 All bar one of the organists represented the major city churches of the day and four were to be organists of the City of Adelaide. One, whose name was on the programme, was apparently "unavoidably absent",4 but another was conspicuous by his absence.

It is not surprising that we do not find Miss Blown amongst the nine organists who were scheduled to play. In the first place she was too young. Even had she been of an appropriate age, it is unlikely that she would have been invited to be part of the occasion. To be described as "one of the best lady organists we have in Adelaide",5 would not necessarily have been sufficient. She was female, they were all male. Who did receive an invitation?

J SHAKESPEARE

first on programme

James Shakespeare, son of the first engineer to drive a train on the Adelaide to Port Adelaide Railway,6 brother to the aforementioned William, and organist of the Stow Memorial Congregational Church, opened the proceedings with the Overture to Nebucodonosor [sic] by Verdi. Born in Birmingham, he arrived with his parents in 1849 and received his education at Christ Church school North Adelaide, becoming for several years assistant teacher to the headmaster Mr James Bath. Shakespeare received an appointment as a teacher at J L Young's Academy where he continued for several years.

It is said that he inherited his love of music from his father who "was an organist, and constructed a cottage pipe organ for his own use".7 He was appointed organist at the Freeman Street Congregational Church which had opened on 1 November 1840. However, the singing was led by a precentor until a harmonium was purchased in 1860.8 He was appointed to Stow [opened Friday 12 April 1867] where he continued as organist for 45 years, being presented with an address and a purse of sovereigns on his retirement. For several years he was the organist for the first Philharmonic Society9 [which was instrumental in obtaining the 1875 Hill and Son organ for the Adelaide Town Hall].

In 1871 he conducted the opera Norma (Bellini 1831) in White's Assembly Rooms, following with Maritana (W V Wallace 1845) the next year. In August of 1889 he was so successful at presenting the cantata The Haymakers, that a repetition was given as a complimentary benefit to him.10 He was one of six organists allowed the use of the Town Hall Organ, the others being: George Oughton, W R Pybus, W B Chinner, A Landergan and A Boult.11

After an illness of nine months, James Shakespeare, Professor of Music, died of paralysis at Miss Hill's private Hospital, on 4 October 1912, aged 72 years. A bachelor, he shared the same marital status as Miss Blown and also a lingering illness which led to his demise.

G OUGHTON

fourth on programme

Listed fourth on the programme, three pieces were to have been given by the first City Organist, Mr George Oughton, the Andante from the 1st Symphony by Haydn, Mendelssohn's Gondenlied, and a Postlude in D by Allen. Unfortunately he was unavoidably absent, so too is any newspaper reference to the pieces or performers that filled the gap. At the age of 40 Oughton was the oldest to have contributed to the afternoon's entertainment and represents an imperial and military import. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 20 February 1842, he was the youngest son of the Revd Samuel Oughton and early began playing psalmody on the fine organ in his father's church. [Presumably that built by Samuel Green, 1740-96.12] He was educated in England at the collegiate establishment at Oundle, Northhamptonshire, then conducted by Professor Newth, where, in addition to his classical and other studies, he devoted his attention to music, having as his tutor the organist of the parish church. Before leaving England, he lived in London, where he learnt from Ebenezer Prout, a distant relative.

Mr Oughton arrived in Melbourne during 1859, studied harmony and instrumentation under Mr Bandmaster Johnson, of the 40th Regiment, and continued his studies at the organ. With the New Zealand war at Taranaki in 1860, Oughton saw active service until the conclusion of the Waikato contest in 1864, for which he received the war medal. After leaving the army he engaged in business in Auckland with considerable success.

Mr Oughton arrived in Adelaide in August 1870, when he immediately received an important position as organist, and an appointment in the Civil Service. His position as organist was at St Paul's Anglican Church Pulteney Street, where they had replaced a Bishop barrel organ in 1863 with a "splendid and fine toned harmonium" for the sum of £107.13 Here he started the first surpliced choir in Adelaide. On the resignation of Mr J Hall in December 1876, Oughton was appointed to the Unitarian Church Wakefield Street. The Church Committee reported in October the purchase of an organ from Wolff which was opened by Landergan and Pybus on 13 April of the following year.14

He conducted the Musical Union which took a leading part with the opening of the Hill & Son organ of the Adelaide Town Hall in October 1877. He was appointed to the honorary position of City Organist and instituted a programme of Saturday Pops over a period of two years.15 He was perhaps best known as bandmaster of the Local Military Forces. Oughton's Military Band had 34 members in its prime.

At some point he was labelled the Musical Bismark by the Register newspaper, a slight he felt deeply and never quite recovered from. He left Adelaide shortly after the arrival and appointment of Professor Ives (c.1886), staying in Melbourne for two years before moving to Brisbane and Sydney, where he became involved with the Government Statistician's office and the census of 1891.

He returned to Adelaide in 1897 suffering from paralysis. When interviewed in February 1898 a columnist wrote:

Today with an unimpaired brain, but with a body crippled by paralysis he lies helpless in an invalid's chair in a little cottage [his daughter's residence] just below the Lutheran Church in Flinders Street awaiting the order which shall come to secure him admission to the Home for Incurables.

Unfortunately the latter point has a direct connection with Miss Blown 73 years later. He felt his friends had deserted him "with the exception of W B Chinner who has been very good to me indeed". No mention is made of J H Fray F.M.I.C., his former pupil, who had visited him in November 1896. Fray had come to South Australia as a boy and at some point studied with Bridge of Westminster Abbey and Prout. His first appointment was to St Michael's, Mitcham then serving at St Peter's, Glenelg and St Mary Magdalene in Adelaide before obtaining a position at St John's Anglican Church, Launceston in April 1898, and proceeding to the Cathedral in Auckland, New Zealand.16 He was also a Grand Organist of the Freemasons Grand Lodge. He advertised as a teacher of music and also music warehouseman. Fray constructed an organ for St Mary Magdalene's which was opened by E H Wallace Packer on 23 October 1897.17

As a musician Mr Oughton was apparently fairly versatile, but like most others who may best be described as amateur professionals, his knowledge was greatly in advance of his technical powers. He passed away in October 1898 at the age of 56.18

JOSHUA IVES

Town Hall Organist

Appointed in 1884, Professor Joshua Ives Mus. Bac. (Camb.)19 was the first Professor to fill a Chair of Music in any of the Australian Universities. He arrived in Adelaide in March 1885, two years after Miss Blown, and within a month he had delivered his inaugural address, framed his regulations for the new degrees, formulated the course for students and mapped out his lectures. A native of Manchester, he was born in 1854 and educated at Owen's College, under Frederick (later Dr then Sir Frederick) Bridge, who held the College lectureship on harmony. According to one source Bridge was a "notoriously indifferent organist" and his teaching drew uncomplimentary comment. He did show a great aptitude for fund-raising and as soon as possible set about getting the organ at Westminster Abbey modernised and extended.20 Subsequent to Bridge's appointment to Westminster Abbey, Ives studied with Dr Henry Hiles and Dr Chipp, organist of Ely Cathedral.21

It would seem that Ives had some of the traits of his first mentor. He was said to be a hard worker but lacked the essential qualities of leadership. However, as a lecturer in harmony and counterpoint he was considered an authority.22 When a lecturer at the Glasgow Athenaeum the directors remarked that "one of the most remarkable features of Mr Ives' work is the very high position which his students have taken at the examinations. During the last two years all the students he sent forward passed, and about 75% of this number were placed in the first class".23

Within the year he had prevailed upon the Adelaide City Council to enlarge the 1875 Hill & Son organ and undertook to raise £100 towards the cost by recitals.24 In October 1886 he was organist at the concerts to "re-open" the instrument and wrote an Andante to display the new

gamba, orchestral oboe and the flute stops.25 By 1891 he was being criticised for being lazy and later still for inattention to his duties.26 His resignation in 1902 caused little regret.27

Students of the organ under Ives included Pybus and Jones. More research would be needed to determine whether Miss Blown ever graced the Professor's lecture rooms either as part of the Degree Course or a diploma at the Conservatorium of Music.

W R PYBUS

third city organist; third on programme

George Oughton claimed credit for introducing the third performer of the April Fool's Day recital, W R Pybus, to the public notice. At a concert given by the Musical Union, Pybus played Mendelssohn's piano Concerto No 1 in G Minor, op.25 (1831) for which he received a great encore and very flattering notices in the newspapers. Apparently it was the first time a concerto had been heard in Adelaide.28 Pybus was to become the third City organist following Ives, being appointed on 5 May 1891.

William Richard Pybus became a teacher of music. Born in Adelaide on 9 October 1848, he was the eldest son of the late Mr William Pybus, ironfounder, of Adelaide, one of the earliest colonists. Early schooling was at Mrs Lincoln's private school, Walkerville, where he studied the piano from the age of eight. During his schooldays he was a solo chorister at St Andrew's Church, Walkerville. When about 15 years of age he commenced work in his father's business, and shortly after displayed a great talent for music. He received lessons in the theory of music under Mr Needham, and piano under Mr R B White. He started teaching the piano, organ and singing in 1875. Later he studied theory at the Adelaide University under Professor Ives, passing the necessary examinations.

In October 1873 Pybus was appointed to Kent Town Wesleyan Church "on a trial for a month and subject to satisfaction...[he]...was then engaged at a fee of £30 for the first year and £40 per annum thereafter".29 He remained for 14 years until E H Davies replaced him on 25 April 1897.30 Pybus then moved to the Tynte Street Baptist Church, North Adelaide, for two and a half years. From 1900 he became organist of the Flinders Street Presbyterian Church. On the resignation of Ives from the position of City Organist Pybus became the honorary organist to the City Council from 5 May 1891.

Early in his career Mr Pybus was a very successful organizer of popular concerts, and his services were in frequent demand at important social functions. He was pianist to the South Australian Amateur Musical Union Society, and after the retirement of the conductor (George Oughton) he was appointed to the position. He subsequently became conductor to the Adelaide Philharmonic Society, and under his baton several oratorios and cantatas were produced with great success. He was honorary pianist to the Adelaide Liedertafel, and on the retirement of their conductor (Herr Mumme) was appointed to succeed him, holding the position for some time.

In May of 1880 Pybus opened the Wolff organ of the Port Adelaide Wesleyan Church, displaying the admirable capabilities of the instrument by performing on it the solos Athalie (Mendelssohn), Andante (Batiste) and Silver Trumpets (Viviani).31 He specially composed an ode for the opening of the Sunday-school festival at the Exhibition Building, Adelaide, on 22 October 1890, where he conducted a chorus of 1,500 voices and 50 instrumentalists. He was widely known as a most successful teacher of music, many of his pupils attaining distinction.32

As item seven on the complimentary recital, Pybus offered the "Cujus Animam" by Rossini as his contribution.

T H JONES

fourth city organist; fifth on programme

South Australia claimed Thomas Henry Jones as their own, but in fact he was born at Williamstown in Victoria on 20 September 1856. The only son of a watchmaker, he attended St Paul's Church of England School in Melbourne, pursuing his musical studies at home under the guidance of his father (who was a good musician). The family came to Adelaide in 1866 and Jones attended the German School run by Leschen and Niehus until the age of 15. His finishing tutors in piano and harmony were Mons. Jules Meilhan and Mr S P Heedham.33

Prior to the arrival of Professor Ives, Jones is credited with being the first to introduce a series of "Recitals" on the Town Hall organ. These performances, which extended over a period of three months, were commented on in several English musical papers. The London Musical Times of 1 February 1885 had the following remarks:-

"Mr T H Jones, purely with a desire of fostering the taste for classical music, has arranged to give a series of Recitals on the Town Hall organ, Adelaide; the first of which took place on the afternoon of October 21. The programme contained Mendelssohn's Third Sonata, an Adagio by Schubert, Chopin's Funeral March, Lemmens' "Storm Sonata", and Handel's Concerto No 2. All these works were excellently played, and considering that Mr Jones bestows his services gratuitously, we cannot but think that his efforts in the good cause deserve to be recorded and warmly acknowledged, even outside the colony, the musical education of which he has done so much to advance."

Jones had to stop his recitals on the professional appointment of Ives.

In 1885 Mr Jones entered upon a three year course of study at the University of Adelaide. 1889 saw the conferring of the degree of Bachelor of Music, Jones being the first in the Colonies to take such a degree. In 1898 he was appointed sole lecturer of theory (rudiments, harmony and counterpoint), at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. Jones was a Past Grand Organist of Freemasons.

Jones is the author of several compositions for the organ, also the cantata entitled "The Miracles of Our Lord", the words having been written by the Revd Henry Howard, of the Pirie Street Methodist Church. The cantata was written and composed expressly for the South Australian Methodist Conference Sunday-school demonstration, held at the Jubilee Exhibition Building, Adelaide, in February 1905.

For the complimentary recital Jones played a March in E Flat by Robertson; he was then organist at the Tynte Street Baptist Church where he played for five years. His first appointment was with the Norwood Baptist Church and subsequently he was connected with the Flinders Street Baptist Church, then North Adelaide. This was followed by 19 years at Brougham Place Congregational Church until his appointment to Pirie Street Methodist Church in 1902, a position he held until his retirement in 1927.

There appear to have been few tears on his death in 1936,34...nor were there to be for Miss Blown!

W R KNOX

fifth city organist; second on programme

One gets the impression that Miss Blown might have been shy and retiring...not so with W R Knox! Even his photograph suggests the presence of a strong ego. Unlike Jones or Miss Blown, William Robert Knox was a native of South Australia. Following Shakespeare on the programme, this 21 year old presented Batiste's Andante in G. This famous, or infamous, piece was in the repertoire of all the organists of the day and featured at many opening recitals. At that stage he was organist at the Presbyterian Church, Flinders Street and later recalled the recital favourably. "The building was crowded to its utmost capacity, and each item given by the various organists was loudly applauded".35

Born in Adelaide on 21 July 1861, Knox received tuition from Mr Landergan and Signor Paola Giorza (the eminent musician and composer). He made his debut in public at the age of 18 as a performer on the organ and piano, and was also appointed as organist of the Flinders Street Presbyterian Church. He resigned after 12 years owing to ill health and accepted an appointment at Glenelg Congregational Church, with a view to residing at the sea side.36 In 1902, he returned to the City and Brougham Place Congregational Church. He finally settled at the Unitarian Church in Wakefield Street.

Knox was a populariser of the organ, "familiarising the public with gems from the repertoire of Schubert, Chopin, Mozart and other great composers".37 He was also a moderniser, and although he recognised the Town Hall organ was "a beautiful one", he thought it needed improving. He was given credit for rescuing "the instrument from the silent oblivion into which it had fallen" by a series of recitals in 1909, before which "it was looked upon as something in the light of a white elephant".

Knox was a teacher both privately, as a visiting master at Prince Alfred College, and as Director of "the Musical School", Way College.38 He obtained the Fellowship of the Victoria College of Music London in 1896, and then the higher diploma of Fellow of the International College. In 1898 he severed his connection with the Victoria College and succeeded J H Fray as local secretary for the International College whose principal, Dr Edwin M Lott, visited Adelaide in May 1900.39 He gained some fame as a composer, producing the Australian Pianoforte Tutor which ran to a number of editions. In October 1895 he brought out the South Australian Musical Journal, a quarterly review and record, the first paper devoted entirely to music published in South Australia. It was abandoned after a year as too time consuming.40

The father of Sunday organ recitals became ill at the end of 1932 and passed away on Thursday 7 September 1933.41

A. LANDERGAN

Although Arthur Landergan was only in South Australia for five years, he clearly had an impact beyond his time. A well known conductor of oratorio and large musical events in Christchurch, New Zealand, Landergan moved to Adelaide in 1874, and was appointed organist at Christ Church North Adelaide. As he had been in New Zealand, he was responsible for additions to the organ, organising a series of concerts to raise money for the additional ranks which were ordered from Fincham's in Melbourne and installed in 1877.42 With others he was granted permission to play the Adelaide Town Hall organ. He returned to New Zealand in 1879, and married the next year. He opened the organ in St Mary's Addington in September and that in St Mary's Halswell in December 188243, so clearly could not have escorted Miss Blown to the recital nor taken part in it.

W B CHINNER

sixth on programme

Chinner was an opener of organs but did not become a City Organist. Presiding at the Magill Wesleyan organ built by Wolff in September 1873, selections from "Moses in Egypt", the "Cujus Animam" and a March displayed the power and tone of the instrument. The October opening of the Hill organ at Kent Town saw a selection of sacred music used, but disappointment was expressed at the depth of tone. The decided gem of the evening of the opening of the Wolff organ at Tynte Street Baptist Church was Dr Brown's celebrated march, which was played in a most brilliant manner. Selections from the "Messiah" were chosen for the opening of the Wolff organ at Norwood Methodist in 1880.44 What would Miss Blown have chosen had she been given the chance?

Eldest son of a draper, William Bowen Chinner, born in 1850, was educated at St Peter's College under Canon Farr M.A., LL.D. and earned distinction by gaining a scholarship for classics. His first musical instruction came from his father, well known in the early days of the colony as an experienced authority on musical matters. He afterwards studied with Signor Paolo Giorza (as did Knox).

On several occasions he acted as organist for the Philharmonic Society and the Musical Union.

A teacher, he succeeded Herr Puttman as music master at Prince Alfred College. Several of his compositions for piano, organ and choir purposes have been published and given public performance by his peers. For the occasion of the complimentary recital, he again chose to perform one of his own compositions, his Andante in A Flat (Varied) followed by Marcia by Formagalli.45

He was first appointed to Pirie Street in 1869, but seeking to improve himself, went to Melbourne and "took advantage of the best instruction available". On his return in 1873 he took up his appointment again and remained at Pirie Street until 1902. He was the music writer for the Register Newspaper in the first decade of the new century.46

Chinner died on 2 July 1915 with a request for "no flowers",47...nor were there to be any for Miss Blown!

H BERTRAM

eighth on programme

How the blind Mr Bertram gained an invitation to be present at the recital is unclear. He had arrived in the colony less than a year before and was not attached to any particular church at the time. The son of a German merchant and native of Brunswick, he had studied music with his mother and, for several years, Herr Winckler, from whom he learnt the principles of harmony, counterpoint and thoroughbass, and the art of performing the organ and pianoforte. Partially blind from birth, he lost all sight at the age of 12. He was obviously an accomplished organist and composer. When aged 16 and at the Berlin Conservatoire, he acted as organist of St Peter's Church at Brunswick in the absence of Herr Rebelling. By 1885 he had composed upwards of 36 sonatas, 14 nocturnes and romances, a number of songs, etc. His own Organ Prelude and Fugue in E flat major had been publicly performed48 and for the recital he played the Fugue in E flat major by Hesse.

He lived in Wakefield Street, Adelaide in 1890 and successfully tutored students for the PEB Music examinations.49

A BOULT

ninth on programme

The programme was rounded off by Mr Boult, the first organist of St Peter's Cathedral, with a rendition of the Offertoire in D by Batiste.

Who played the National Anthem to conclude was not stated, but it can be confidently said it was not Miss Blown.

J M DUNN

third on programme

Little Johnny Dunn was the youngest to perform at the complimentary recital. Aged 17, he had been accompanying the full service at the Cathedral since the age of 15, and apparently was at practice by 4 o'clock in the mornings! His admirable performance of Bach's Giant Fugue in G Minor "was a marvel of execution", receiving loud applause on conclusion.50

John Millard Dunn, born in North Adelaide in January 1865, was one of seven boys in an apparently non-musical family. The family moved to Glenelg where, at the age of seven, he started piano with Miss Francis. In the choir aged 10 he came under the notice of E S Hall who was also a teacher of piano and organ. Employed by the English Scottish and Australian Bank, Hall rose to be manager of the Nairne branch but left to establish the Parkside College of Music. He was organist at St Paul's, Adelaide, 13 years at St Peter's, Glenelg and 10 years at St Matthew's, Kensington and St Augustine's, Unley for six.51

The Dunn family returned to the City where John went to Whinham College. He received piano tuition externally from Herr E Boehm, a colonial musician with experience from one of the best German Conservatoria. He studied the organ under Arthur Boult, receiving further instruction from Mr John Ellis, a highly talented performer and some time organist and choirmaster of Christ Church, North Adelaide.

Like Hall he became a banker, being employed with the Bank of Australasia. Ill health saw him travel to England in 1888 where he studied with Sir Frederick Bridge for choir accompaniment and Mr W de Manby Sergison for organ, piano and theory. He remained in London for about a year, and, on his return on 1889, resumed his work in the service of the Bank and became acting organist for St Peter's. Arthur Boult, who in 1878 presided at the formal consecration of the Cathedral, but was regarded as a skilful amateur full of taste, and whose recital performance in 1882 was played with "his usual taste and judgement", resigned, and Dunn was appointed Cathedral organist from November 1891.52

As a result, he resigned from the Bank to devote himself entirely to the teaching of music, especially organ. Dunn successfully presented pupils for examination, both privately and from Tormore House School. He also studied subjects of the Mus. Bac. degree alongside W B Hills (later at Glenelg), W M Hole and A H Otto, though Hole was the only one to graduate (in 1898) and Hills obtained an Associate in Music in 1904.53

Amongst his compositions was the music for an opera bouffe entitled "The Mandarin" which had a successful run at the Theatre Royal.

He died on 3 March 1936 and was succeeded by H P Finnis.

HORACE PERCY FINNIS M.A., Mus.Bac.

H P Finnis was highly regarded as a spiritual adviser and musician. In 1933 he founded in Adelaide the first branch of the School of English Church music (later renamed the Royal School of Church Music) and, as precentor and organist of the Cathedral, had a deep and lasting influence on the men and boys of the choir.54

I G REIMANN

Of the young turks of the musical world of 1882, there was only one reason why 23 year old Immanuel Gothold Reimann could have been prevented from playing at the recital. He was overseas! In April 1880 he had left Adelaide to complete his musical education at the Berlin Academy of Music conducted by Prof Theodor Kullak (pianist to the Emperor of Germany) and then at the Berlin Conservatory directed by Prof Xavier Scharwenka (pianist to the Austrian Emperor). After having successfully passed an examination in musical pedagogy under Dr Hans Bishoff, Reimann studied musical theory with Professors H Dorn, Rhode, Würst, P Schwarwenka and Albert Becker.

 

Reimann was the second son of Edward Reimann, a German farmer, amateur violinist and colonist of 1849,55 who settled in Hahndorf. Born on 13 January 1859 and possessing a voice of excellent quality and range, the boy was sent to Hahndorf College and joined the singing class. He studied piano with Herr Boehm, Principal of the College, and a Mrs Price of Mount Barker. At the age of 14 he went to Adelaide to become a teacher, began studying piano under Herr Stange, and in 1875 was invited to return to the Hahndorf College as a music teacher. He settled back in Adelaide in July 1876.

 

On his return from overseas in October 1883 he established the Adelaide College of Music in Wakefield Street. In 1897 when the University decided to establish the Conservatorium of Music, a merger of the two institutions was suggested and Reimann was appointed principal teacher of the pianoforte.

 

He was organist at Christ Church, North Adelaide and was appointed to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Flinders Street in 1891, where he had his own organ installed from the College of Music about 1892, replacing a Wolff organ of 1872.56

 

It is appropriate to suggest that Faith Blown may have received her musical training from the Adelaide College of Music, which in 1896, when she would have been 20 years of age, had 250 students. This may be even more probable if there is any connection between her and one, E E Mitchell.

 

E E MITCHELL

 

Born the son of a Bank Manager in Port Adelaide on 16 January 1865, Ernest Edwin Mitchell was educated at Prince Alfred College. He went to Adelaide University, passed the three-degree examinations for Mus.Bac. and established himself as a teacher of composition in the YMCA buildings in 1896. [Note: The Victoria Hall was to have an organ built by J J Broad installed the following year.] Concurrent with his University studies he studied under Reimann, and for several years was engaged on the staff of the Adelaide College of Music as a teacher. For some 15 years he was organist and choirmaster of the Woodville Methodist Church. He became Honorary Secretary of the Music Teachers' Association of South Australia established in 1906.57 The connection to Miss Blown may become evident a little later.

 

Professor Ives was to be followed at the University by Dr Ennis and then E H Davies.

 

EDWARD HAROLD DAVIES Mus.Doc.

 

Davies would have been the closest of the prominent musicians mentioned to come to Miss Blown. He arrived just four years after she did, though he was 20 at the time and she was only seven. He became very influential with regard to instruments built by J E Dodd, was frequently consulted and chosen to open them. It was Davies who opened the new organ at Norwood Wesleyan church in 1912, using the Kent Town Choir, and playing pieces specially arranged for the occasion by E E Mitchell, another academic of the University.

 

Edward Harold Davies Mus.Doc., Adelaide University, elder brother of H Walford Davies, had a most distinguished musical career in England and South Australia. The fourth son of Mr John Whitridge Davies, of Oswestry, England, and born in that town on 18 July, 1867, he was educated at the Oswestry Grammar School, and studied music under Dr Joseph Bridge, organist of Chester Cathedral. He arrived at Adelaide in January 1887, graduated Bachelor of Music at the University of Adelaide in 1896, taking first class in each year, and Doctor of Music in 1902, being the first student in the Commonwealth to obtain this, the highest academical distinction. Dr Davies was the founder and director of the Adelaide Bach Society, one of the foremost choral bodies in the State, consisting of one hundred picked voices. Dr Davies was formerly organist and choirmaster at Christ Church, Kapunda, St Peter's Church, Glenelg, the Chapel Royal, Windsor Park, England (during an absence of 12 months in 1890), and at St Paul's Church, Adelaide. He was a Past Grand Organist of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of South Australia and organist and choirmaster of Kent Town Methodist Church from 1897 to 1927.

 

From 1921 Davies held the Chair of Music at the Adelaide University with distinction. Harold Wylde, William Silver and John Horner F.R.C.O. were all important appointments at this time.58 Miss Blown was not!

 

JOHN BISHOP

 

John Bishop succeeded E Harold Davies on 13 February 1948 at the age of 45 and was the first Australian-born Elder Professor of Music and Director of the Elder Conservatorium.

 

His inclusion here is not so much as an organist, although his love of music may have come from his grandfather, Henry Field, who played the organ in the country town of Gawler and in a city church. Born at Aldinga on 26 October 1903, he was the second of six children born to Henry Bishop, a saddler and his wife. Bishop went on to become a pianist, conductor and an able administrator.59 His oversight of the Conservatorium saw the appointments of such academics as Harold S Parsons and Jack Peters.

 

HAROLD STEPHEN PARSONS

 

Parsons was born at Nairne, South Australia on 20 August 1885. He completed his education at Prince Alfred College, and commenced to study the violoncello at about 12 years of age, his first teacher being Mr Thomas Grigg of Adelaide. At the age of 14 Mr Parsons entered the Conservatorium of Music at the Adelaide University as a student, and was placed under the tuition of Herr Kugelberg.

 

Although Parsons was foremost a cellist, he was to spend 50 years with the organ. Starting at Brougham Place in 1904-5 he spent time at Dunn Memorial Methodist, Mt Barker, before leaving Adelaide for the purpose of continuing his musical studies in Europe. On his return Parsons received the appointment of 'cello master at the Adelaide Conservatorium as successor to Herr H Kugelberg, commencing in March 1907.60

 

For the next seven years he played the organ at Highbury Street Methodist, Prospect until 1914 and then followed a series of retirees, Harold Wylde from Stow, Dr Davies from Kent Town, and finally T H Jones from Pirie Street in 1927, staying there till 1939.61

 

DR J V PETERS

 

Seven years after the death of Miss Blown, Dr J V Peters was appointed as the last City Organist to play on the 1875 Hill & Son organ in the Adelaide Town Hall before its rebuild. Like Ives, Knox and Wylde before him, he too wanted to modernise the instrument. Peters combines three of the four main themes of this paper. He was an academic, Cathedral and City organist. He was not female!

 

Peters was appointed by John Bishop to teach the organ in the Conservatorium of Music in 1954. Born in Christchurch New Zealand, Jack Peters was educated at Canterbury College, the University of New Zealand, Trinity College of Music, London, and Durham University. He was a graduate of the Universities of New Zealand and Durham, a Fellow of Trinity College, London, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He was a widely recognised authority on church music and composer of a number of published works. He was apparently a brilliant but volatile man with a fierce temper, given to hurling hymn books, bottles of ink, or lighted cigarettes, inaccurately at people when in a rage. He had very high academic standards and had frequent disagreements with Bishop.62 It is difficult to imagine Miss Blow with such a temperament.

 

So who was Faith Winsome Kirkup Blown?

 

FAITH WINSOME KIRKUP BLOWN

 

Unlike the majority of early South Australian colonists, Miss Blown arrived in style. With her mother, elder sister and nurse, she arrived in the colony in 1883 from England via the Suez Canal in the saloon of a brand new steamer, the Karaweera, designed for the coastal trade. Her father was a ship's captain.63

 

The family resided in Semaphore until Captain Blown's death in 1902 aged 58. By this time Faith, aged 26, had become a music teacher, presumably working from home, and already had presented students for examination.64 Living in Semaphore it is difficult to know anything of her early schooling or what influenced the development of her musical talent. It has already been suggested that she may have trained at Reimann's Academy of Music, perhaps under E E Mitchell.

 

It is not known whether Miss Blown played the Town Hall Organ as accompanist or recitalist. She certainly did not become the City Organist.

 

After the death of her father, the family moved to North Adelaide where her mother opened a boarding house adjacent to Brougham Place Congregational Church. They later moved to Mills Terrace on the western side of the suburb. There is little evidence to suggest Faith worked elsewhere until after the death of her mother, where for two years she advertised teaching from the YMCA Buildings in Adelaide. For two years she was appointed to the Norwood Methodist Church.

 

It was an interesting appointment. The position arose as a result of friction between the organist (Mr W R McKinlay) and choirmaster, blame and three months' notice being apportioned against the organist. Miss Blown was not listed with the initial seven applicants for the job65 and yet within a month it had been resolved that she be appointed at a salary of £30 per annum. She replied stating she would begin her duties on Thursday 1 September and sought permission to give pianoforte lessons in the schoolroom regularly. Permission was granted. Her contract was signed on 27 August 1910. The Church Secretary just happened to be Mr E E Mitchell.

 

Her first letter of resignation was tendered in March of 1911. No reasons were given but her wishes were rejected and a special resolution supporting her with the hope that she might long continue to hold the office was forthcoming.66 She sought and was granted leave of absence during January of 1912. On 20 November the Secretary read a letter from Miss Blown resigning her position on the plea of ill health, a request accepted with regret.

 

The appointment coincided with a decision of the Trustees to upgrade the Wolff organ which had been opened by W B Chinner on 15 December 1880. It must have been in poor condition for, as an act of Grace to Norwood Methodist Church, in March of 1912, Miss Blown was permitted to practise on the organ of Spicer Memorial Wesleyan Church East Adelaide, (now St Peter's) once a week for a period of three months for a fee of £1/1/-.67 The new organ built by J E Dodd was opened on Tuesday 10 September 1912 by Dr E H Davies.68

 

The exact reasons for the resignation of "one of the best lady organists we have in Adelaide" at the age of 36 are not clear. In 1913 she appeared in the alphabetical section of the Almanac as a music teacher of Brougham Place but there is no entry apart from her mother's until 1925 and 1926 when she advertises as a music teacher, YMCA Buildings. After the death of her mother in 1924 she and her sister maintained their property at 59 Mills Terrace North Adelaide as apartments.

 

Her death at the age of 84 was bluntly reported in the local paper of Saturday 19 March 1960: "Blown - Faith (late of North Adelaide) - Passed away at hospital, March 16th".69 The hospital referred to was the Fullarton Home for the Incurables and she may well have been there for 10 years.70 Her body was interred in the family vault at Cheltenham cemetery. The headstone, an open book, broken and on the ground, contains the names of her father and mother, brother and sister. Her name is missing.71

 

There I wish to stop. Miss Blown represents the better of the forgotten majority. Those women whose services to the worship of the church through music are as yet poorly recorded.


 

Notes

 

1

Dickey B, (ed.) William Shakespeare's Adelaide, 1860-1930, Adelaide: APH 1992, p.5. This book is biographically very thin about the family, making no mention of James or his five sisters.

2

Hobday letters 12/46/5 April 1882

3

Register Mon. 3/4/1882 5.2/3

4

ibid

5

Register Sat 24/8/1912 5.3

6

Worsnop T, History of the City of Adelaide, 1878, facsimile edn., 1988, p.134; Pascoe J J, ed., History of Adelaide & Vicinity, 1901, facsimile edn., Osterstock 1972, p.121

7

note: in the revised Gazetteer of Australian Pipe Organs (in preparation) there is a reference to the instrument at Sunset Rock Uniting Church being installed in the residence of W Shakespeare in 1873 and then being removed to the Baptist Church Norwood in 1877. Although William is described as "a man of propriety, a pillar of protestant faith and unblemished public integrity" his Christianity "was cultured and active", Dickey op. cit., p.6. It is the vocation of James which makes it reasonable to query which house held the organ.

8

Cameron J, In Stow's Footsteps, S.A. Congregational History Project Committee, 1987, pp.9-10

9

see e.g. Advertiser 10/9/1869 1.7

10

Register Sat 5/10/1912 1701; ibid, Wed 28/8/1889 6.1; ibid, Fri 30/8/1889 5.4

11

Advertiser Tues 27/11/1877 4.6

12

Sumner W L, The Organ, Macdonald, 4th edn., 1973, p.176

13

Register Wed 24/6/1863 2.4

14

Twenty Second Annual Report of the Unitarian Christian Church, Wed 31/10/1877, p.2 para.5; Twenty First Annual Report 29/10/1876 p.3 para 8, State Library of South Australia SRG 122; Advertiser Sat 14/4/1877 5.7

15

Quiz 3/2/1898 p.4 Interviewette No 19. "A chapter of old musical history." George Oughton. [photo]

16

Music vol 1 11/1896 p.12, p.13 advt; ibid, 2/1898 p.6; ibid, 3/1898; ibid, 4/1898 p.7

17

ibid 9/1897, ibid 10/1897

18

Biographical notes for Oughton have come from Loyau G E, Notable South Australians, Adelaide: Loyau, 1885, pp.168-9, Quiz op.cit 3/2/1898, and Music October 1898 p.8 Obituary

19

Calendar of the University of Adelaide, 1899, p.19

20

Warrack G, "Bridge, Sir (John) Frederick", in Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol.3 Macmillan, 1980 pp.280-1

21

Loyau, op.cit., p.230

22

Orchard W A, Music in Australia, Melbourne: Georgian House, 1952, p.58

23

Loyau, op.cit., p.230

24

Christian Colonist 2/10/1885 3.1; Register 13/10/1886 5.8

25

Register 15/10/1886 7.5

26

Quiz 30/1/1891 p.3, 18/3/1897

27

Orchard op.cit., p.58

28

Quiz 3/2/1898 op.cit., p.4

29

Register 30/10/1873 5.3; Kelley Revd W Brian, "A History of Kent Town Church" The Journal of the South Australian Methodist Historical Society, vol 4 10/1972, p.21

30

Music 3/1898 p.11

31

Register Fri. 14/5/1880 5.4

32

PEB Exams 1902 theory 1st Class Maggie Bowman Fleming teacher Pybus, University of Adelaide Handbook, 1902 p.588; note, ACC C933 newspaper clippings covers the student concerts of Pybus over a 20-year period.

33

Biographical notes based on Loyau op.cit., pp.246-7 and Burgess H T, The Cyclopedia of South Australia, vol.2, 1909, p.187

34

Advertiser Tues. 29/12/1936 Funeral Notice p.9.3

35

Music 12/1898 p.9

36

ibid

37

Loyau, op.cit., 77

38

Music 1/1900 vol.iv no.39, advt

39

Music 3/1898 p.6.1; ibid advt., 3/1900; ibid, 5/1900 "Interview with Dr Edwin Lott" p.15

40

Newspaper cutting dated 1/1913, "Art in Adelaide, Chats with Musicians", No 11 W R Knox, by Presto.

41

News 7/9/1933 obituary p.11.3

42

Register 6/4/1877 6d

43

Newton R G, Organa Cantuariensia, School of Music, University of Canterbury, 1992, p.426

44

Advertiser 23/9/1873 2.4; Register 25/10/1873 6.3; Register 5/7/1876 5.1; Register 16/12/1880 5.2

45

from an Edwin Ashdown catalogue of organ music, Chinner had published this Andante, another in G, an Offertoire in D flat major and a Second grand offertoire in C. T H Jones had a Military March published by the same firm.

46

Loyau op.cit., pp.99-100; Pirie Street Souvenir 16-19/2/1930; Advertiser 3/7/1915 8.9 Concerning People

47

Advertiser Saturday 3/7/1915, 8.2 Deaths

48

Loyau op.cit., pp.139-40

49

University of Adelaide Handbook 1902, p.588. Students of Bertram, PEB Music Examination results 1901, Piano Vera Nettie Thomas, Theory 1st class Edith Mary Thomas.

50

Advertiser Mon 3/4/1882 5.3

51

Biographical notes originate from Burgess, op.cit., 189 and Music 11/1898 p.9

52

Register Wed 2/1/1878 4.7/8 and 5.3/4/5; Advertiser Mon 3/4/1882 5.3

53

University of Adelaide Handbook, 1902 p.590; ibid, 1899 p.152; ibid, 1920 pp.72-3

54

Hilliard D, Godliness and Good Order, Wakefield Press, 1986, pp.99,100, note 41 p.106

55

but see Register Fri 18/11/1853 2.2; Shipping intelligence: Arrived Wednesday November 16 -The barque Herrmann 236 tons Kleingarn, master, from Hamburg 14th July. Passengers... Reimann...Lemke...

56

Loyau op.cit., p.130; Burgess, op.cit., 185-6; Reimann stayed till 1931 and was succeeded by H King 1932-1934, M Darsow 1934-1948 and James Thiele 1948-1997, Dedication of the Organ, 13/7/1958, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Flinders Street, Adelaide, p.14

57

Burgess, op.cit., p.184, pp.188-9

58

Orchard, op.cit., p.82

59

Hewlett A, Cause to Rejoice Rigby 1983, p.22; ibid p.29

60

Burgess, op.cit., p.189

61

Parsons H S, 50 Years with the Organ, n.d., pamphlet, Mortlock Library; Orchard op.cit., pp.81, 139-40; Hewlett op.cit., pp.72, 75, 90-1

62

Hewlett, op.cit., p.98; Notes to Recital, Premier Concert of Dr J V Peters 12/9/1967, Adelaide Town Hall

63

Register 16/1/1883 4.1

64

Music vol.14 no.39, 1/1900, p.11

65

Norwood Wesleyan Methodist Church, Minute Book vol 1 1/1/1899-1919, State Library of South Australia, SRG 4/150/11, 6/7/1910 pp.112/3

66

ibid 12/3/1911, p.123; ibid 24/1/1912, p.136; ibid 20/11/1912, p.146

67

Spicer Memorial Methodist Church Minute Book, resn 66 dated 18/3/1912, held at the Church

68

Register Thursday, 16/12/1880 5.2; Register Saturday, 24/8/1912 5.3; Register Wednesday 11/9/1912 9.8

69

Advertiser Sat 19/3/1960

70

almanac records for Mills Terrace cease in 1950

71

Cheltenham Cemetery Records, visited and researched, 5/1997


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