Category Archives: History

Lady Franklin’s Reel

  “…the assemblage was brilliant, the punch superlative, and the dancing extremely active, if not elegant.” Jane Franklin1, Government House, Hobart, 1838 Most histories of the Franklins concentrate on Sir John’s explorations and disappearance in the Arctic, supplemented with stories … Continue reading

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François Girard, dancing master, convict

No portrait of François Girard exists, yet from the convict records a fascinating image emerges.  Twenty-seven years old upon arrival in Sydney of “dashing appearance and pleasing address” 1, François was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a sallow complexion, … Continue reading

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Lord Castlereagh’s Waltz

Le Sylph: An Elegant Collection of Twenty Four Country Dances, Thomas Wilson, London, 1815. Listen to Lord Castlereagh’s Waltz as a midi or mp3.   Download the pdf Country dance: Longways set for three couples. A 1-4 The 3 ladies and the … Continue reading

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Clog dancing

English clog dancing, which was hugely popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in Australian, has almost completely disappeared from our tradition.  However, there are many references and a wealth of collected tunes.  A number of dances have survived, … Continue reading

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The Quadrille Arrives.

Development Arrival in Australia Difficult first steps Quadrille mania Music Listen to Ellard’s La Sydney Development of the quadrille. The quadrille was inspired by revolutionary France.  It developed in the last years of the 18th century as a suite of … Continue reading

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Captain Woodriff & The Wheatstone Collections

A selection of elegant & fashionable country dances, reels, waltzes &c. [music] : for the ensuing season 1808, including those much admired Neapolitan & Maltese pandean airs, arranged for the pianoforte or harp, alto flute or patent flageolet : with … Continue reading

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Australia’s first piano

In London during the early 1760s small, rectangular, five octave keyboard instruments started to be produced. Unlike the harpsichord or spinet, these were capable of playing both loudly and softly – the forte piano or fortepiano. The demand for these … Continue reading

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Sailor’s Hornpipe

January 21, 1788. The Governor accompanied by Capt. Hunter & some other officers went in Boats to examine Port Jackson….The next day one of the Party took a fife on Shore played several tunes to the Natives who were highly … Continue reading

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