Author Archives: Heather

Cook’s Death in equestrian drama

The Death of Captain Cook: a grand equestrian dramatic spectacle The Death of Captain Cook was first presented as a ‘grand serious ballet’ in Paris in 1788, with an English adaptation in London’s Covent Garden Theatre the following year.  Although … Continue reading

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Astley in Dublin 1789

Astley’s equestrian drama The Death of Captain Cook, Dublin 1789 …the grandest spectacle ever exhibited in this metropolis 1 The grand equestrian drama The Death of Captain Cook enthralled audiences in Dublin throughout the winter of 1789-90.  Astley was keen … Continue reading

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Convict Tune Book

A collection of 12 tunes known to be popular with Australian convicts between 1788 and 1840.  Each tune includes sheet music and historical notes. Developed as part of the exhibition “Dancing in Fetters: The culture of convict dance”  at the … Continue reading

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Lord Morton’s hints

…they should not at first be alarmed with the report of Guns, Drums, or even a trumpet. – But if there are other Instruments of Music on board they should be first entertained near the Shore with a soft Air. … Continue reading

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Dancing for sailors

Captain Cook wisely thought that dancing was of special use to sailors.  This famous navigator, wishing to counteract disease on board his vessels as much as possible, took particular care, in calm weather, to make his sailors and marines dance … Continue reading

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Captain Cook’s country dance

From our CD Captain Cook’s Country Dance. Corri, Dussek & Co.  Twenty-Four New Country Dances For The Year 1797. London & Edinburgh. Country dance: Duple minor longways. A1 1-2 All cross right shoulder with partner. (½ gypsy and a sweeping … Continue reading

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Tekeli

Tekeli – a convict tune Tekeli was an influential and highly successful melodrama, one of the first of its genre, full of suspense and intense emotions.  The French play by Rene Charles Guilbert De Pixerécourt was produced in Paris in … Continue reading

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Dr William Redfern

Redfern, the convict doctor who saved thousands of lives. Dr William Redfern, came as a convict to New South Wales.  In 1814, he reported on the causes of an epidemic on convict ships and made recommendations for preventing further outbreaks, … Continue reading

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Convict music & song

How would you research convict music?  Through police reports, of course! Apart from the remarkable music manuscript of the Scottish convict fiddler, Alexander Laing, there are very few sources of information about the music or songs which convicts themselves played, … Continue reading

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Off She Goes

From a Police Report in the Sydney Herald, 2nd of September 1833 EIizabeth Fisher, Matthew Fisher, and Hamilton Murray, belonging to the Waterloo, were charged with dancing a reel on the King’s Wharf, at the hour of eleven overnight, to … Continue reading

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