Skip to content

TRANSMISSIONS JULY 2021

TRANSMISSIONS

JULY 2021

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network

Edited by Graham Seal

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network

*

Welcome to this edition of Transmissions. This time we have our usual updates on projects and links to sources of interest to members. Thanks to those who contributed to this edition and please email future items to g.seal@curtin.edu.au. In this edition:

Jig Dolls in Australia and Beyond

Australian Folklore journal online

The Traditional Ballad Index

Listen to Folklore Recordings Online

Folklorists of Australia Project

Where the Spiders Live – Magic in the Bush

JIG DOLLS IN AUSTRALIA AND BEYOND

A picture containing indoor, floor, toy, doll

Description automatically generated

Musician and jig doller, Tony Smith, writes about the intriguing folk objects known as ‘jig dolls’, limberjacks’ or ‘marionettes a la planchette’. These are found around the world, but Tony is one of a small band of Australian jig dollers who busks with his own doll, ‘Henry’ (‘Henery’) in support of Leukemia research and support.

Tony provides links to online performances by jig dollers in Australia and elsewhere, as well as an informative account of this folk art form, enlivened by his own experiences playing and jigging on the streets.  Read at https://verandahmusic.blogspot.com/p/articles.html

AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE JOURNAL ONLINE

Australian Folklore 1987-2017 is available online at

https://journals.kvasirpublishing.com/af/index

Australian Folklore is a peer-reviewed journal, maintaining its high quality through the engagement of Australasian research with the global research community. Australian Folklore explores traditional and settler cultures, folklore and cultural change.  Submissions may cover the folklore / folklife and traditions of any geographic region in the world.

The journal is published online annually and is searchable.

Submissions to https://journals.kvasirpublishing.com/af/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions

THE TRADITIONAL BALLAD INDEX

This is an ongoing collaborative project ‘designed to help people find reference information on ballads’ and is described as ‘An annotated source to folk song from the English-speaking world’. It is an excellent resource that includes Australian as well as English language material from other countries.

https://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladIndexDocs.html

LISTEN TO FOLKLORE  RECORDINGS ONLINE

The Oral History and Folklore Collection at the National Library of Australia is a large and unique resource. More and more of the original recordings are available online. Access begins from https://www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/oral-history-and-folklore

FOLKLORISTS OF AUSTRALIA PROJECT

This is a historical listing of people (not only Australians) who undertook a range of folklore related activities in various parts of the country, including fieldwork, publishing, writing, drawing, photography, videography and filming, archiving, public speaking and performing. All are deceased, but their combined work is an irreplaceable contribution to Australian society, history and culture.

The list has two main aims:

TO provide a historical register of important work done by many, often unrecognised, collectors, researchers, writers, archivists and performers

TO provide links to their collections, papers and other relevant resources available online (mainly)

The list (at https://ozfolklorists.blogspot.com) is very much a work in progress and open to addition and amendment. All contributions will be acknowledged. Please email g.seal@curtin.edu.au

WHERE THE SPIDERS LIVE – MAGIC IN THE BUSH

A picture containing text

Description automatically generated

Magical candlesmoke marks on the ceiling of the basement at the Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute

Ian Evans completes his ground breaking work on magic in Australia. Oh, yes there was, and here is the evidence to prove it. As Ian writes:

‘The history of magic in Australia was written in places where spiders lived: in dark, damp and malodorous cavities in chimneys, in roof spaces and beneath the floors of houses and other buildings. It was scratched onto furniture and on the walls of kitchens, barns and dairies and burned into the timber of stables.’

After many years of research and fieldwork, Ian and his fellow researchers have unearthed some of the hidden secrets of witches’ marks and other protective signs, as well as concealed objects and cauls, in colonial Australia, evidence of the continuation of British (and European) folk magic traditions. All the spooky details are at ‘The Australian Magic Research’ https://tasmagic.wordpress.com/2021/06/12/hidden-in-plain-sight/.

*

15th National Folklore Conference

As previously advised, the annual conference will take place again at

National Library of Australia – Thursday April 9,  2020

The conference is organised by the Australian Folklore Network and facilitated through the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and the Australian Folklore Research Unit, Curtin University.

The conference will begin at 9.15 and run through the day to 4.30. Best to get there early.

This year’s program will feature:

  • A Circle of Folklore – from Children to Adults and Back to the Young, June Factor
  • Safeguarding the Invisible: Children’s Folklore as Intangible Cultural Heritage, Judy McKinty
  • Contemporary Revision of an Historic Songbook (The Joy Durst Memorial Songbook), Steve Bullock and Greg Woodruff
  • Between the Threads: Tales from Australian House Museum Costume, Jenny Gall 
  • Perfect Pearls: Australian Pearling Songs, Karl Neuenfeldt
  • Delia Murphy, First Lady of Song and the Irish Embassy, Gene Smith
  • A Factory Lad: The Songs of Colin Dryden, Daniel Kelly
  • Creatures from the Deep Past: Stories, Landscapes and History, Mike Jones
  • Waltzing Matilda – A Forensic History, Benjamin Lindner

The lunchtime concert will feature Fred Pribac, Rachael Gates and their children, Minna and Reuben, collectively known as The Scary Family Band.

Attendance at the conference and concert is free, though places are limited. Please register to:

g.seal@curtin.edu.au

Peter Ellis Dance Books

Denise Hibbs and Richard Ayling have finished two draft books of Peter Ellis which were released at the National Folk Conference and at the Settlers Season during the National Folk Festival. At these audiences were informed that these books, along with thousands of other tunes, are available for free to be downloaded from Harry Gardner’s and Peter Ellis’s tribute web page at  www.australianfolkmusic.com.au  

John Meredith Life and Work

Sandra Nixon writes:

Bush Music Club blog & John Meredith  
http://bushmusicclub.blogspot.com/

As at January 2020, there are 23 articles on John Meredith, 1 on the John Meredith collection, 27 on The Bushwhackers, the easiest way to search BMC’s blog is to use Google.

Who Was Madame Scotia?

Born in 1896, Héloïse Russell-Fergusson was a Scottish clarsach player & singer of traditional Gaelic songs from the Scottish Hebrides. Pioneering and fiercely independent, she was an aunt of mine, my dad’s sister whom I met only once, not least because she was perpetually nomadic. 

In researching her biography, Madame Scotia, Madam Scrap, I learned that: 

‘After spending ten months in New Zealand, she arrived in Australia in November 1936. Her persuasive skills, exerted on a Miss Nancy Jobson who had opened a finishing school called Hopewood House set in glorious grounds almost mid-way between Sydney and Canberra, secured the auditorium for a recital of Hebridean songs before an audience of invited guests. As a route for setting up more engagements, it paid off.

By 9 December, she was performing at the Christmas gathering in Melbourne of the British Music Society of Victoria where the programmes were threaded with tartan in honour of her visit. The Age reported that, ‘she sang the songs with a lovely freedom that brought to her listeners all the wild throbbing beauty of the windswept islands’. Three days later she was entertaining a gathering of the Clan Cameron on board HMS Orama. A week before Christmas, she was at the Forum Club in Sydney with an audience that included the Lieutenant Governor and his wife and a range of dignitaries dressed in considerable finery. This first Australian foray had been successful and she would be back.’

Was Héloïse contributing to sustaining folklore and traditional music for those of Gaelic language and Scottish Hebridean heritage in Australia? I feel there is much more to learn about her time there and I’d invite anyone with an interest in Héloïse and her music, or knowledge of her visits, to contact me.  

She returned to Australia in 1937 and met with other singers from Scotland (Duncan Morison & Sidney MacEwan) and also with Clement Hosking of the Sydney Folk Song Choir who had a particular interest in the Celtic traditions of Wales and Cornwall and for whom she provided letters of introduction for his planned trip to the Hebrides. 

Her gigs seemed quite eclectic. She wrote to her sister, not for the first time revealing her feminist awareness:

‘I begin concerts in Adelaide the day after I get there, at a Boys College and I love these occasions. The boys are so interested and easy to hold and the masters always so surprised and no one realises I know all that is going on and the struggle the Head had with himself before engaging me as they always fight shy of female entertainers, saying they cannot hold the boys.’

Newspaper articles informed me that:

‘She was a guest at the Annual Scottish Ball of the Robert Burns Society of Australia held in Redfern near Sydney in August 1937 and ‘Madame Scotia’, a name suggested to her by an elderly Scots woman in New Zealand, was entertained at morning tea (11.00am on the dot, said the paper) by Miss Mabel Marryet, president, and other members of the Lyceum Club, in September.’

I’m hoping Transmissions may be a good route to find/connect with people in Australia who knew, know of, or would be interested in knowing more about, Héloïse. Researching her story, I came across tales from the granddaughter of a man in Jakarta in whose house she stayed in 1937, a harpist in Nova Scotia who as a young woman played with Héloïse in the 1950s and a contemporary psychedelic folk band in NZ which cites Héloïse as an influence! There must be stories in Australia too, even some individuals with memories of her visiting their families or communities.

There is a Facebook page for her, set up when researching the book and with some tracks from her recordings, 

https://www.facebook.com/Heloise-Russell-Fergusson-1674620682795466/

The book, Madame Scotia, Madam Scrap is available through myself via the Facebook page or through the publisher, The Islands Book Trust, on the Isle of Lewis  

Please contact me, Helene Witcher, hwitcher@btopenworld.com

Dear Bob …

Title: Mailer
Gwenda Beed Davey

Australian Folklore Online

There is plenty of folklore-related activity out there in cyberspace. Here are some links that we know of. Please let us have any we’ve missed and thanks to members who sent links in.

Australian Folklore Network. Also a Facebook page.

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

Australian Fairy Tale Society has a Facebook page, also a blog at 

https://australianfairytalesociety.wordpress.com/2019/11/24/call-for-presentations-2020-australian-fairy-tale-society-conference/

Australian Colonial Dance – Heather Blasdale-Clarke’s dance history site

Australian Folk Music – many free resources on music, song and dance by Richard Ayling

www.australianfolkmusic.com.au  

Warren Fahey Australian Folklore Unit – wide-ranging site based on Warren’s extensive fieldwork and research. Also a Facebook page

Australian Folk Songs – Mark Gregory’s site, on the web since 1994 (Also a lot more links)

http://folkstream.com

Union Songs – Mark Gregory’s collection of songs and poems

unionsong.com

Bush Music Club – archives, performance, publishing, teaching

http://www.bushmusic.org.au/index.shtml

and blog at

http://bushmusicclub.blogspot.com/  archives & history 

Verandah Music – Blog on all aspects of Australian traditional music, dance and related folkloreat https://verandahmusic.blogspot.com

Australian Folk & Roots Music Forum – convened by Ruth Hazleton

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1972175932921018

Folklore Resources – dated but still useful collection of resources

http://www.folklore-network.folkaustralia.com/links.html

Australian Traditional Music Archive

http://bushtraditions.wiki

Australian Children’s Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria. Australia’s only children’s folklore archive, listed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register

http://museumvictoria.com.au/DiscoveryCentre/Infosheets/Australian-Childrens-Folklore-Collection/

Western Australian Folklore Archive, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Australia’s only state folklore archive

http://john.curtin.edu.au/folklore/

Australian Railway Songs. A treasure trove of railwayana

https://railwaysongs.blogspot.com

Bush Music Club – archives, performance, publishing, teaching

http://www.bushmusic.org.au/index.shtml

National Library of Australia Oral History and Folklore Collection

https://www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/oral-history-and-folklore

Victorian Folk Music Club – dance, music, poetry and song

http://www.vfmc.org.au/index.php

Australian Bush Music and Dance – performance, teaching, publications, recordings

http://www.wongawillicolonialdance.org.au

The Hidden Culture – folklore – tangible and intangible

https://thehiddencultureblog.wordpress.com

The Australian Magic Research Project Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/AustralianMagicProject/?hc_location=group

Tales from Rat City – podcast and site on Ballarat’s dark and bizarre past

https://talesfromratcity.com

John Meredith Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/365849244352767/

TRANSMISSIONS

Latest issue

Folklore, Learning and Literacies conference: 

 Call for Papers deadline 12 Jan 2020

Dear All,

Just a reminder that 12 January is the deadline for the Call for Papers for our forthcoming Folklore Society conference “Folklore, Learning and Literacies”, to be held 24-26 April 2020 at UCL Institute of Education, London WC1H 0AL. Please send abstracts of c. 200 words to thefolkloresociety@gmail.com by 12 January. More information at:

https://folklore-society.com/event/folklore-learning-and-literacies/

Dr Caroline Oates, Librarian, The Folklore Society

The Folklore Society

50 Fitzroy Street
London W1T 5BT

Tel. +44 (0) 203 915 3034

 

TRANSMISSIONS

January 2020

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network

Edited by Graham Seal

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network

*

A happy newish year to AFN members and welcome to our first Transmissionsfor 2020. (Formatted version attached).

This time, we have an update on this year’s conference as well as some links to various sites, resources, publications etc. of likely interest to members.

This year is also the centenary of folklorist John Meredith’s birth. We have a summary of his life and work and expect to see other acknowledgments emerge throughout the year.

Read on …

*

  15THNATIONAL FOLKLORE CONFERENCE 2020

As previously advised, the annual conference will take place again at

National Library of Australia – Thursday April 9,  2020

The conference is organised by the Australian Folklore Network and facilitated through the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and the Australian Folklore Research Unit, Curtin University.

This year’s program will feature:

  • A Circle of Folklore – from Children to Adults and Back to the Young
  • Safeguarding the Invisible: Children’s Folklore as Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Contemporary Revision of an Historic Songbook (The Joy Durst Memorial Songbook)
  • Between the Threads: Tales from Australian House Museum Costume
  • Perfect Pearls: Australian Pearling Songs
  • Delia Murphy, First Lady of Song and the Irish Embassy
  • A Factory Lad: The Songs of Colin Dryden
  • Creatures from the Deep Past: Stories, Landscapes and History
  • Waltzing Matilda– A Forensic History
  • Conference attendees may also enjoy the NLA lunchtime concert produced by Rob Willis, as well as a selection of relevant informational materials.

Further details will be announced closer to the event.

Attendance at the conference is free, though places are limited. Please register to:

g.seal@curtin.edu.au

*CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND WORK OF JOHN MEREDITH

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Australian folklorist, John Meredith (1920-2001). He is justly celebrated for his pioneering collections of folksong, dance and verse, enshrined in the several volumes of Folksongs of Australia(the first in conjunction with the late Hugh Anderson and the second with Roger Covell and Patricia Brown).

His collecting work led him into the performance of the traditions he and others were collecting, notably with the Sydney Bush Music Club and the original Bushwhackers bush band. His work in this area was twice recognized through awards in the order of Australia (OAM 1986 and AM 1992)

John Meredith was a man of many interests and also made notable contributions to the documentation and understanding of Australian culture, including folk speech and cultural history, His work, which also included plays and musicals, is preserved in the books and articles he wrote about many aspects of folklore, in film, photographs and in his collected field recordings held in the Oral History and Folklore Collection of the National Library of Australia at https://www.amw.org.au/sites/default/files/memory_of_the_world/collecting-australias-folk-culture/john-meredith-folklore-collection-1953-1994.html  The collection is recognised in the UNESCO Memory of the World Program.                      

A biography by Keith McKenry, More Than a Life: John Meredith,was published in 2014 and a reasonably extensive article on his life and work is available on Wikipedia.

*

INTERNATIONAL FOLKSONG DISCUSSION NETWORKS

Steve Roud writes from the UK:

In our efforts to facilitate and increase interest in Anglo-American folk song research and study, we would like to advertise two free ‘discussion lists’, which we suggest that anyone interested in the subject might like to join. Tradsong is based in the UK, and the Ballad List in the USA, but they both cover both sides of the Atlantic (and elsewhere).                   

TRADSONG

 This is the online discussion group for the Traditional Song Forum. The TSF is a national organisation based in the UK that brings together those interested in research, collecting and performance of Traditional Song. Our aim is to be inclusive of all the traditions found in the British Isles although the majority of Forum members are also interested in the songs originating in these islands which might now be found in other places in the world. Although forum members are serious about their interests the style of the organisation is informal and we are determined not to get stuffy or bureaucratic. The Yahoo discussion group welcomes non-members who are engaged in similar research and who wish to share knowledge with our members.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tradsong/info

click on JOIN GROUP

BALLAD LIST       

A Forum for Ballad Scholars

https://list.indiana.edu/sympa/info/ballad-l

click on SUBSCRIBE

*

CENTRE FOR ENGLISH TRADITIONAL HERITAGE

The Centre produces a regular newsletter, conducts and coordinates fieldwork and research and generally acts as a repository of English, and other, traditions. Contact: http://www.centre-for-english-traditional-heritage.org/home.html

*

SOME AUSTRALIAN LINKS

Australian Folk Songs – Mark Gregory’s site, on the web since 1994 (Also a lot more links)

http://folkstream.com

Verandah Music – Blog on all aspects of Australian traditional music, dance and related folklore at https://verandahmusic.blogspot.com

Australian Folk & Roots Music Forum https://www.facebook.com/groups/1972175932921018

Folklore Resources – dated but still useful collection of resources

http://www.folklore-network.folkaustralia.com/links.html

Australian Traditional Music Archive

http://bushtraditions.wiki

Australian Children’s Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria. Australia’s only children’s folklore archive, listed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register

http://museumvictoria.com.au/DiscoveryCentre/Infosheets/Australian-Childrens-Folklore-Collection/

Western Australian Folklore Archive, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Australia’s only state folklore archive

http://john.curtin.edu.au/folklore/

Australian Railway Songs. A treasure trove of railwayana

https://railwaysongs.blogspot.com

Bush Music Club – archives, performance, publishing, teaching

http://www.bushmusic.org.au/index.shtml

National Library of Australia Oral History and Folklore Collection

https://www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/oral-history-and-folklore

Victorian Folk Music Club

http://www.vfmc.org.au/index.php

Australian Bush Music and Dance – performance, teaching, publications, recordings

http://www.wongawillicolonialdance.org.au

 

Know of others? Send ‘em in. g.seal@curtin.edu.au

 *

 NEW BOOK ON WALTZING MATILDA

Debate and research on our accidental and unofficial anthem never stops, it seems. W Benjamin Lindnerhas recently published Waltzing Matilda: Australia’s Accidental Anthem. A Forensic History. You can read all about it in a review at https://verandahmusic.blogspot.com

 

*

 

 

 

 

TRANSMISSIONS

2019 AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE CONFERENCE

 

A reminder and confirmation that the Australian Folklore Conference will again take place at Easter, 2019. We will call for expressions of interest to present papers later in the year.

Some of the papers from this year’s conference have been posted on the AFN blog at https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

 

DANCING THROUGH THE AGESPUBLISHED
John Gardiner-Garden has published the 33 books of his Dancing through the Ages series that he has been working on for many years. To see purchasing options (including big introductory discounts of between 15% and 33%) and the covers and contents pages of all 33 books please go to http://www.earthlydelights.com.au/books-cds and follow links.

 

John also writes: In 2019 Aylwen and I plan to tour Australasia, the U.S. and Europe joining the dots between people who have acquired the books and who would like me to teach/lead (or talk on) dances presented in the books they have (we won’t be taking books with us), so do let us know if you would like us to visit your scene and how we might contribute.

 

Dr John Gardiner-Garden

Director of the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy

New books at http://www.earthlydelights.com.au/books-cds

john@earthlydelights.com.au

(02) 62811098

 

HELP WANTED – BBC FOLK PROGRAMS

 

English folk historian Chris Brady is trying to locate copies of folk programs broadcast in the 60s as BBC has deleted them! He taped some of them when he was living in New Zealand & has received copies from many sources, but is still hunting & trying to disseminate his appeal. Here is Chris’s message:

BBC London Folk Song Cellar – 1960

We have discovered that in the 1960s the ABC and other radio stations aired the BBC’s ‘London Folk Song Cellar’ series. This was a mythical folk club created for the BBC World Service by EFDSS’s Peter Kennedy for invited folk guests to Cecil Sharp House for a weekly one hour folk music and song session.

There were 39 episodes. They were edited and recorded to Transcription Discs for sale to overseas radio stations including to Australia and New Zealand. We have recently purchased a number of these and are digitising them.

We also have quite a few episodes home-taped in NZ. Also some recordings from the British Forces Broadcasting Service in Kuwait and Germany.

But the only full set is in the British Library Sound Archives – which we cannot access.

And we are missing a number of episodes, not least of which is no. 28.

So we are wondering if any of your members In Australia might have home recorded tapes of these programmes. Please could you pass the word around.

Many thanks – Chris B. chrisjbrady@yahoo.com
P.S. Most of what are have are here:

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/itj99fbsepw3o/Folk_Song_Cellar_-_Final

 

THE CENTRE FOR ENGLISH TRADITIONAL HERITAGE

 

TRADITION TODAY  ISSUE 7 has now been uploaded to the CETH website:

 

www.centre-for-english-traditional-heritage.org

 

Follow any of the relevant links on the Home page to access a Table of Contents.

 

We are now actively seeking contributions for the next issue. Please go to “Guidance for Authors” at the foot of the Tradition Today contents page for information on how to format and submit contributions.

 

REVIEWS OF INTEREST

 

Review of George P. Knauff’s Virginia Reels and the History of American Fiddling. By Chris Goertzen. 2017. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN: 9781496814272 (hard cover) at http://www.jfr.indiana.edu/review.php?id=2210.

 

This book is about the earliest known collection of Virginia Reels (1839) and is very relevant to the history of fiddling in Australia, especially regarding the potential for discovery of ‘lost’ manuscripts and tune transcriptions.

 

MARK GREGORY’S TREASURE TROVE

 

As always, Mark continues to trawl the marvellous Trove for treasures of Australian folksong, verse and much more. Go here: http://folkstream.com/reviews/

 

*

 

 

 

TRANSMISSIONS

April 2018

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network

Edited by Graham Seal

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network

*

Welcome to the post-conference edition of Transmissions. In partnership with the NLA and the NFF, the annual conference was once again well-attended and widely appreciated. For those unable to be there, a short version of the program and list of the paper abstracts appears below, as well as information on some of the papers we have posted online at https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com .

We are already receiving expressions of interest for presentations at next year’s conference and will open up the call for papers towards the end of this year.

MAILBAG (Keep ‘em coming)

FRANK THE POET

‘A Literary Curiosity’ from 1884 (and, allegedly, earlier) from Mark Gregory at http://www.folkstream.com/762.html . And lots of other goodies recently, and not-so-recently, trawled from Trove at http://folkstream.com/794.html

CHARLES THATCHER IN NEW ZEALAND

The ‘Goldfields Minstrel’s’ New Zealand songster has been digitized by the National Library of NZ at https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/applause-and-tin-came-tumbling-in-the-songsters-of-charles-thatcher

Thanks to Brian Samuels.

 

PAPERS FROM THE CONFERENCE ONLINE

We have published a couple of the conference papers on the AFN blog. Tony Smith’s presentation on the jig doll in Australia is at  ozfolknet.wordpress.com/papers-from-the-national-folklore-conference/.

Graham Seal’s talk on 50 years of Australian folklore is at ozfolknet.wordpress.com/fifty-years-of-folk-and-lore-1968-2018/. The talk is open for additions and amendments if anyone wishes to make them.

If other conference presenters would like their papers published on the blog, contact g.seal@curtin.edu.au or post them directly to the blog yourself.

 

13TH NATIONAL FOLKLORE CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS

9.00 Graham Seal, Convenor – Conference welcome and opening

 

9.05 Margy Burn, Assistant Director-General, NLA

 

9.10-10.10 Presentation session 1

 

Convict Music at Port Arthur

Peter H MacFie

At Port Arthur Penal Station, Tasman Peninsula (1830-77) music, like art, was a tradeable but surreptitious commodity. While historians are aware of artist WB Gould, little is known of the musicians who traded their ephemeral skills. Convict, staff musicians and entertainers at Port Arthur included: Perez De Castanos – a Spanish guitarist transported from London; Frank ‘the Poet’ MacNamara; Neil Gow Foggo, convict seamen and fiddler from the well-known Scottish fiddling family; Piper Hugh Fraser, a bankrupt emigrant, who eloped to Hobart Town from NSW, becoming a Port Arthur overseer; and Scottish fiddler Alexander Laing, convicted in 1813 of stealing while a member of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders. His tunes were among melodies in Alexander Laing’s rediscovered 1863 MS, published recently as On the Fiddle From Scotland To Tasmania.

 

The Tale of Michael Purtill

Jeanette Mollenhauer

Michael Charles Purtill was a resident of Sydney in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and this paper traces his life and activities, based on the digitised newspapers held by the National Library of Australia. Purtill was a competitive Irish step dancer, teacher who had first lived in the United States before settling in Sydney with his wife. Purtill’s dance career reveals significant organisational, pedagogical and performative differences between step dancing as practised in his lifetime, and the nature of the genre in the twenty-first century. Purtill was also active in a variety of organisations with the purpose of fostering Irish nationalism and his manifold encounters with the judicial system illuminate both his character and the general social structures of the era. The paper demonstrates the value of historically-contextual data in choreo-musical research, and utilises the biography of one man to develop the historical narrative of Irish step dancing in an Australian context.

 

 

10.30-11.00 Presentation session 2

 

English Village Carolling in Australia and North America

Ian Russell

In the nineteenth century emigration from England to North America, Australia and New Zealand was largely driven by economic necessity and occupational opportunities. Many male migrants took their skills and expertise to the ‘new’ country, living a solitary existence divorced from family, friends and the landscape of home, with their dream of new-found wealth dashed by the hard life and strange country they found. However, others strived and built ‘a home from home’, encouraging and arranging for members of their family to join them. They upheld their beliefs and cultural traditions, some of which took hold and flourished in their new environment. The celebration of Christmas provided a particularly powerful focus of continuity with their past and in some communities this centred around the tradition of singing Christmas carols, both within places of worship and outside, as part of annual perambulations. In this paper I discuss the case of three remarkable communities where the carolling has continued to be practised and has achieved its own local identity – Glen Rock in Pennsylvania, Grass Valley in California in the USA, and Moonta in the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia.

 

11.15-12.15 Fifty Years of Folk and Lore (Public lecture in Theatre)

Graham Seal

The National Library of Australia building opened in 1968. At the fiftieth anniversary, we look at the progress of Australian folklore studies, collection, research, archiving and dissemination through performance, publication and digitisation.

12.15-12.45 Lunch

12.45-1.45 concert (Theatre)

THE DARWIN RONDALLA STRINGBAND

The vibrant music of old Darwin includes traditional Filipino melodies, Top End dance tunes and medleys of the Beatles and Santana. Produced and presented by Rob Willis.
2.00-3.15 Presentation session 3

 

Brad Tate: Australian Folk Verse and Melody

David Johnson with Kerry Tate

Brad Tate was a well-known Australian folklorist, performer and collector. Prior to his recent death he was working on a book titled Australian Folk Verse and Melody, in which he drew on his extensive knowledge and library to explore the background to Australian folk songs and the tunes that were used for them. It was hoped that Brad could have been at the conference to launch his book but as his health made travel unlikely his wife Kerry arranged to video record him introducing himself and his work. This session will launch the book (of some 300 pages) and present the video of Brad talking through an introduction to it. Dave, Kerry and some fellow musicians will prove Brad’s work lives on by playing some of the tunes from his earlier publication, Down and Outback. Finally, folklorist Mark Gregory will offer a few words about Brad’s contributions and call for brief recollections from the floor.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

 

Successful Folklore Practice?

June Factor and Gwenda Beed Davey

Together and separately, since the 1970s Gwenda Davey and June Factor have researched, published, educated and organised in the previously largely neglected field of children’s folklore, with a particular focus on its history, culture and development in Australia. Has this extensive output influenced the major cultural and educational institutions in this country, or the broader popular culture?

 

Rather than the usual question and answer sequence after a paper, Gwenda and June would like their presentation to open a discussion from conference participants, building on their own experience.

 

3.30-4.30 Presentation Session 4

From Parents to Players – Anatomy of a Tropical Bush Band

Jeff Corfield

What do you do when you want to run a bush dance to raise funds for your local school – and you can’t find a local bush band? You teach yourselves to play some instruments and form your own bush band of course. And what do you do when you want the local school kids to learn to play Australian bush tunes and songs – and the school has no music teacher? Easy, you teach them yourselves! This was the genesis of Townsville’s Wattle n Gum Bush Band, way back in 1983. Almost 35 years on Wattle n Gum are still playing for local bush dances and community functions, bringing Australian bush tunes and songs to new generations of enthusiasts in tropical Townsville and surrounds. In the lead-up to Wattle n Gum’s 35th birthday, this paper tells the story of a community based bush band that has become a musical icon.

 

The Jig Doll in Australian Folklore: Untapped Potential

Tony Smith

The jig doll is a type of puppet. It is usually a rod puppet. It can be made to dance to music for its movement value and/or as a percussion instrument. They are usually jointed dolls.

The jig doll (limberjack, limberjill, clogging doll in North America) has a history as a folk toy. It is related to the marionette de la planchette which makes use of strings through the doll’s body.

Jig dolls are operated from above by rod or sprung wire and/or below by a board. The operation can be two-handed, one-handed or hands free. The operation can be mechanised in various ways using wind power, steam or sand. Instead of manual operation they can be arranged on a pedal machine which is convenient for instrumentalists.

Jig dolls have the potential to fit into folk life in many ways including the art and craft involved in the working of wood and painting and dressing of the puppet. They are useful for busking and as percussion instruments to accompany sessions. They can evoke images of dances, sometimes very acrobatically. They have great potential to be used in occupational therapy.

4.30pm Conference concludes

 

Thanks to all who organised presented and attended, to the NLA and NFF and to session chairs Jenny Gall and Keith McKenry. Thanks also to the Conference Organising Committee:

Graham Seal – (Convener)

Gwenda Davey

Jennifer Gall

Kevin Bradley

Rob Willis

Graham McDonald

 

SUBMISSIONS TO TRANSMISSIONS

We’re always on the lookout for interesting links, nuggets of information about relevant publications, recordings etc. Email to g.seal@curtin.eu.au

 

*

Welcome to the Australian Folklore Network blog.

Here you will find information about the AFN, links and places where you can post your own items of information, comments, queries, etc.

Go to the AFN ACTIVITIES section for notification of events, publications, etc.

Go to NEWS BLOG if you want to post an item of general interest, a query or comment

Go to AFFILIATION if you want to find out more about the AFN and affiliate with it

For back copies of Transmissions go to http://folklore-network.folkaustralia.com/

TRANSMISSIONS JULY 2021

TRANSMISSIONS

JULY 2021

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network

Edited by Graham Seal

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network

*

Welcome to this edition of Transmissions. This time we have our usual updates on projects and links to sources of interest to members. Thanks to those who contributed to this edition and please email future items to g.seal@curtin.edu.au. In this edition:

Jig Dolls in Australia and Beyond

Australian Folklore journal online

The Traditional Ballad Index

Listen to Folklore Recordings Online

Folklorists of Australia Project

Where the Spiders Live – Magic in the Bush

JIG DOLLS IN AUSTRALIA AND BEYOND

A picture containing indoor, floor, toy, doll

Description automatically generated

Musician and jig doller, Tony Smith, writes about the intriguing folk objects known as ‘jig dolls’, limberjacks’ or ‘marionettes a la planchette’. These are found around the world, but Tony is one of a small band of Australian jig dollers who busks with his own doll, ‘Henry’ (‘Henery’) in support of Leukemia research and support.

Tony provides links to online performances by jig dollers in Australia and elsewhere, as well as an informative account of this folk art form, enlivened by his own experiences playing and jigging on the streets.  Read at https://verandahmusic.blogspot.com/p/articles.html

AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE JOURNAL ONLINE

Australian Folklore 1987-2017 is available online at

https://journals.kvasirpublishing.com/af/index

Australian Folklore is a peer-reviewed journal, maintaining its high quality through the engagement of Australasian research with the global research community. Australian Folklore explores traditional and settler cultures, folklore and cultural change.  Submissions may cover the folklore / folklife and traditions of any geographic region in the world.

The journal is published online annually and is searchable.

Submissions to https://journals.kvasirpublishing.com/af/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions

THE TRADITIONAL BALLAD INDEX

This is an ongoing collaborative project ‘designed to help people find reference information on ballads’ and is described as ‘An annotated source to folk song from the English-speaking world’. It is an excellent resource that includes Australian as well as English language material from other countries.

https://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladIndexDocs.html

LISTEN TO FOLKLORE  RECORDINGS ONLINE

The Oral History and Folklore Collection at the National Library of Australia is a large and unique resource. More and more of the original recordings are available online. Access begins from https://www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/oral-history-and-folklore

FOLKLORISTS OF AUSTRALIA PROJECT

This is a historical listing of people (not only Australians) who undertook a range of folklore related activities in various parts of the country, including fieldwork, publishing, writing, drawing, photography, videography and filming, archiving, public speaking and performing. All are deceased, but their combined work is an irreplaceable contribution to Australian society, history and culture.

The list has two main aims:

TO provide a historical register of important work done by many, often unrecognised, collectors, researchers, writers, archivists and performers

TO provide links to their collections, papers and other relevant resources available online (mainly)

The list (at https://ozfolklorists.blogspot.com) is very much a work in progress and open to addition and amendment. All contributions will be acknowledged. Please email g.seal@curtin.edu.au

WHERE THE SPIDERS LIVE – MAGIC IN THE BUSH

A picture containing text

Description automatically generated

Magical candlesmoke marks on the ceiling of the basement at the Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute

Ian Evans completes his ground breaking work on magic in Australia. Oh, yes there was, and here is the evidence to prove it. As Ian writes:

‘The history of magic in Australia was written in places where spiders lived: in dark, damp and malodorous cavities in chimneys, in roof spaces and beneath the floors of houses and other buildings. It was scratched onto furniture and on the walls of kitchens, barns and dairies and burned into the timber of stables.’

After many years of research and fieldwork, Ian and his fellow researchers have unearthed some of the hidden secrets of witches’ marks and other protective signs, as well as concealed objects and cauls, in colonial Australia, evidence of the continuation of British (and European) folk magic traditions. All the spooky details are at ‘The Australian Magic Research’ https://tasmagic.wordpress.com/2021/06/12/hidden-in-plain-sight/.

*

TRANSMISSIONS May 2021

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network

Edited by Graham Seal

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network

*

Welcome to another edition of Transmissions, including:

National Folk Fellow 2021

National Folk Fellowship 2022 Applications Now Open

More Links to Member Projects and Resources

Why Have Archives?

What’s in a Song?

Traditional Song Forum Zoom Meetings (UK)

Thanks to all those who contributed and do keep the information coming in to g.seal@curtin.edu.au

NATIONAL FOLK FELLOW 2021

This year’s National Folk Fellow is Archer.

Archer’s project, In the Land where the Crow flies backwards: The songs of western NSW, has as its centre point the work of Dougie Young, but also looks at lesser-known characters from that era of the fifties and sixties and earlier, as well as up until today. The project focuses mainly on Indigenous songwriters, telling their stories through songs and poems, and of course the song of the red-tailed black cockatoo. 

Archer is a folk singer, and self-proclaimed ‘ill-fated explorer of the interior recesses of the embattled brain-box and beyond’.  Best described as an old-style travelling singer/poet, for the better part of the last 20 years, Archer has humped his bluey through every state in Australia, walking, hitchhiking, and catching trains, sleeping on the riverbanks and in the parks, singing in the streets, to performing in music halls of some renown.  Searching for songs, old songs, forgotten songs and songs of his own making, Archer’s genuine love of the folkloric traditions of Australia’s remote and regional songwriters inspires him to highlight not only his own talent but the talents of often forgotten songwriters.  In his spare time Archer enjoys singing with residents in nursing homes and with the birds in the sky.  

Applications for next year’s Fellowship are now open, read on …

NATIONAL FOLK FELLOWSHIP 2022 NOW OPEN

The National Folk Fellowship is for established and emerging folk practitioners, jointly funded by the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival. Applications for the 2022 National Folk Fellowship program are now open and will close at 12pm, 21 June 2021. https://www.nla.gov.au/awards-and-grants/national-folk-fellowship

MORE LINKS TO MEMBER PROJECTS AND RESOURCES 

Here are some links to add to the list we included last time. Thanks to all those who contributed.

DANCE MUSIC

Richard Ayling’s Australian Folk Music site includes dance tunes and related information

at  http://www.australianfolkmusic.com.au  

SYDNEY VIDEO SERIES

Warren Fahey’s video series of Sydney stories has been released on the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) website at https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/sydney-stories-warren-fahey-0 . Warren is working on a follow-up series on the outback.

WOMEN’S GRAFFITI

Gwenda Davey is working on a follow-up project to her earlier ‘Women Who Write on Walls’ project. If you know of recent activity of this kind,  gwendadavey@bigpond.com

PERFECT PEARLS

Karl Neunfeldt continues his research on the culture of Australian pearling. One outcome of the project so far is  a cd of traditional and contemporary pearling songs, featuring Seaman Dan, the Pigram Brothers, Ted Egan, Fred and Richard Kiwat, Roger Knox and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Nikki Doll, Enda Kenny, Karl Erikson, Rubina Kimiia and Stephen ‘Baamba’ Albert. phd-productions@hotmail.com

FOLKLIFE STUDIES FACEBOOK GROUP

Ruth Hazleton runs the Australian Folklife Studies Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AusFolk/?ref=pages_profile_groups_tab&source_id=141338592636528

WHY HAVE ARCHIVES?

The Folk Alliance Australia recently received a query from the Czech Republic seeking information about Hungarian and Czech bagpipers and other traditional musicians in Australia during the 1980s. Fortunately, such recordings had been made by Peter Parkhill and they were preserved in the National Library of Australia Oral History and Folklore Collection.

As many readers will know, Peter died last year, but his important fieldwork legacy lives on at https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/parkhill-collection. It includes recordings of ethnic and cultural groups, including Greek, Italian, Irish, Arabic, Persian, Hungarian, South American and Turkish, as well as English language folksingers, folklorists and researchers.

Peter was also active in disseminating his work through commercially available recordings, notably the Transplanted Musical Traditions set of 2 CDS and a 72-page booklet produced through the Centre for Studies in Australian Music at Melbourne University. As well as his own recordings, this included material from the ABC and private collections. https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/product/transplanted-musical-traditions-in-australia

WHAT’S IN A SONG?

The controversy in the USA over the venerable University of Texas theme song, ‘The Eyes of Texas’ reminds us that folksongs can matter powerfully in the modern age. African American students are objecting to the lyrics of the song, which reference an alleged comment by Confederate General Robert E Lee, and also the fact that the melody (‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad’) was used by minstrel troupes singing the song in a racially demeaning ‘Way Down Upon de Swanee River’ style. Read all about it at

TRADITIONAL SONG FORUM ZOOM MEETINGS

When the pandemic hit last year, the UK-based Traditional Song Forum was forced to cancel its proposed meetings, so we started a series of online Zoom sessions, every other Sunday, at which relatively informal presentations on a wide range of topics of interest to folk/traditional song researchers are given. These fortnightly sessions have been very popular, and are still going, and they regularly attract speakers and audience from Canada and the USA, as well as all over Britain and Ireland. But we have never had any contributions from Australia – which is a great shame. 

The sessions go out at 16:00 BST (GMT+1) and last for an hour and a half or so, so  the time difference might make it difficult, but we can present recorded presentations as well as live ones. Presentations are usually 15 – 20 minutes and we have 3 or 4 of them each time. The sessions are also live-streamed on YouTube, and many are now available on the Traditional Song Forum channel there. 

You can see the future programmes listed on the Forum’s website (www.tradsong.org), and becoming a (free) member of TSF is the best way of hearing about future events and contacting other song enthusiasts. If anyone would like to offer a presentation, or if you have any other questions, please contact Steve Roud (steveroud@gmail.com) or Martin Graebe (tsf.zoom@gmail.com).

*

TRANSMISSIONS 

May 2021 

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network 

Edited by Graham Seal 

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network 

NATIONAL FOLKLORE CONFERENCE – 2022? 

After a two-year gap, we hope to mount another conference at the National Library of Australia prior to Easter 2022. It depends largely on what happens with our partners, the National Folk Festival and the National Library of Australia . We will keep members posted on developments.  

In the meantime, here are some (wildly diverse) links to online folk resources that might be of interest to members, together with other relevant items. 

FOLKLORE COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES IN AUSTRALIA AND BEYOND 

Members might like these links to the various folklore collections around the country. Most of these operations have extensive digitised resources that can be freely accessed. 

Most of these contain traditions in English as well as other languages, but if you’re looking for traditions of specific language groups, many universities have cultural programs and associated archives that contain folklore. These can be located using searches specifying the language, cultural and/or ethnic group as the initial search term, followed by ‘university archive’ or ‘university program’. 

Oral History and Folklore Collection, National Library of Australia https://www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/oral-history-and-folklore 

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) 

Includes folk material among its extensive collections of Indigenous culture 

Australian Children’s Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/articles/24 

Western Australian Folklore Archive, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, Curtin Universityhttp://john.curtin.edu.au/folklore/about.html 

Sydney Bush Music Club 

http://www.bushmusic.org.au/index.shtml 

Warren Fahey Collections 

Some state and university libraries also hold collections of folklore, usually placed there by collectors and/or organisations. These can usually be located by online searches. 

State Libray of NSW

The State Library of NSW has a handy page of links to more archives around the country and abroad at  https://guides.sl.nsw.gov.au/oral-history-sound/online_resources 

Here are some links to interesting folklore projects and archives in UK, USA and Canada: 

The Song Collectors’ Archive 

Spearheaded by Sam Lee, musician, folklorist and singer of nightingale songs, this site has a wealth of recently collected Gypsy, Traveller and other material, together with related resources http://songcollectors.org/about/ 

Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture 

Including Language and dialect, Food and drink, Working life (including tools, utensils, materials and methods), Crafts, hobbies and pastimes, Buildings/vernacular architecture, Culture and tradition (folklore, music, drama and dance), Customs and beliefs. Material culture https://library.leeds.ac.uk/special-collections/collection/2571 

Centre for English Tradition and Heritage (CETH) 

Language, customs, drama, children’s lore and more 

http://www.centre-for-english-traditional-heritage.org/home.html 

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, British Library 

The British Library’s Unlocking Our Sound Heritage Project is working to digitise endangered sound recordings for future generations, including music, language, stories etc. 

Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling 

Explores the links between oral history, digital media, the arts and education. 

Folklore and Language Archive 

Connected with the Department of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland 

https://www.mun.ca/folklore/research/munfla/

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage 

Promotes greater understanding and sustainability of cultural heritage across the United States and around the world through research, education, and community engagement. 

https://folklife.si.edu

The American Folklife Center, Library of Congress 

Extensive archive and related activities established by the US Congress 

https://www.loc.gov/folklife/

AUSTRALIAN COLONIAL DANCE 

Heather Blasdale-Clarke and partners run this informative website and associated projects on the history of music and dance in Australia since 1788. 

AUSTRALIAN TRADITIONAL AND BUSH DANCE SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA 

Courtesy of Brian Samuels, here are some links to yet more dance activity in Australia and abroad: 

http://www.atbdsdancesa.com.au/useful-links-2/lesser-known-musical-instruments 

http://www.atbdsdancesa.com.au/useful-links-2/a-taste-of-overseas-folk

BUSH TRADITIONS 

Established in 2006, Bush Traditions promotes the playing, the playing and enjoyment of Australia’s cultural heritage in Word, Bush Songs, Tunes and Dances. 

https://www.bushtraditions.org/background.htm

DIPLOMACY BY FOLKSONG 

Gene Smith’s article on the Irish ‘Ballad Queen’ Delia Murphy (1902-1971), and her influence in Australia is now available on the Australian Irish Heritage Network magazine, Tinteán, at https://tintean.org.au/2021/04/10/delia-murphy-ballad-queen-1902-1971/. Lots of interesting articles about Irish traditions and history, at home and abroad, also at Tinteán. 

SHANTIES! 

With the current social media flurry about sea shanties, here are the real things, along with other sailor songs and lore. The slightly mysterious Laura Alexandrine Smith of England’s Newcastle-upon-Tyne went out and collected these from sailors of many nations and others, including women, involved in related work during the late nineteenth century.  

Published as The Music of the Waters. A Collection of the Sailors’ Chanties, or Working Songs of the Sea, of All Maritime Nations. Boatmen’s Fishermen’s, and Rowing Songs, and Water Legends in 1888, you can now view the book athttps://publicdomainreview.org/collection/sea-shanties. This site also has other freely available digitised collections of sea songs. A delight for shellbacks and landlubbers alike. 

Dance workshop

Hello Graham,
I’m giving an online presentation next week for the Historical Tea & Dance Society where I’ll be talking about dancing in Australia (amongst other things).  Would this be interesting for the Folklore Network?
Here’s the link The Historical Tea & Dance Society
The Historical Tea & Dance Society

Here’s the link via Facebook  5 Things: an English Country Dance web talk
5 Things: an English Country Dance web talk

Register here: Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: 5 Things… Inside the Dancing Mind of… DR. HEATHER CLARKE. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: 5 Things… Inside the Danci…A 1 hour guest chat with well respected movers and shakers in the English Country Dance community at large and a…

Kind regards,Heather

TRANSMISSIONS JUNE 2020

Title: Side barTitle: Volume and dateTitle: Masthead
AFN members

As you know, our 2020 conference was cancelled, but hopefully only deferred until 2021. In the circumstances, of course, we do not know what might be happening then. When we do, we will be in touch.

In the meantime, below is a quick roundup of some projects we know of that are being carried out by some of our members. It would be good to hear from others about what they are doing so we can circulate them through our network. Send them to g.seal@curtin.edu.au

KIDS’ COVID LORE

One project to come out of the Covid-19 issue is a collection of children’s folklore responses to the situation. Most of you will be familiar with what seems to have been a global response to lockdowns in various countries – the teddy bears and other stuffed toys in windows and the rainbows chalked on walls or paned and hung out somewhere (not to mention the music). These folkloric responses have been featured quite widely in mainstream media.

Text Box:  
Less-featured are some of the other things that kids – and adults – have been doing, including hopscotch and other street and lane activities. This article has some interesting observations on this, as well as some great photographs of street play in Britain during the 1950s

In Australia, Melbourne folklorist Judy McKinty (aka ‘The Play Lady’) started to document and also activate child-friendly forms of Covid play in her area. Judy has presented at previous conferences and was due to do so again this year. You can catch up with her work and that of the growing group with similar interests on Facebook at  and Judy also has a website.

Ruth Hazleton and others have joined in and a collection and, hopefully, archiving project is being conducted through the Pandemic Play site, which is aimed at children sending in their own Covid lore.

SOME OTHER PROJECTS

Rob Willis is running an oral history project on how C-19 has impacted people in the bush

Karl Neuenfeldt is researching the musical traditions of the pearling industry

Dave and Julie Gittus, with Ian White, have released a CD titled All the Pretty Waltzes, a collection of traditional dance tunes, (have a listen) or by contacting the artists directly via email: davegittus@bigpond.com

Text Box:  
Yarns of Oz podcasts

Bush Music Club Archives are being excavated and placed online by Sandra Nixon Website and blog.

Heather Blasdale-Clarke is working on traditional dance of all kinds

And don’t forget, you can always get your fix of recorded lore through the National Library of Australia folklore collections.

You can also relive the excitement of previous National Folk Festivals and associated events by listening to all the recorded proceedings held by the National Library of Australia.

*

15th National Folklore Conference 2020

15th National Folklore Conference 2020

PRELIMINARY NOTICE AND CALL FOR PAPERS

An annual conference facilitated by the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and the Australian Folklore Research Unit, Curtin University.

National Library of Australia – Thursday April 9

Building on previous National Folklore Conferences since 2006, the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival will again host this one-day conference immediately before the National Folk Festival. 

The conference is of interest to anyone involved in collecting, researching, archiving, performing and facilitating folklore in all its many varieties and is a prelude to the National Folk Festival, which also includes a stream of presentations and performances relevant to folklore research.

If you would like to submit a paper for presentation at this conference, please send the following details byNOVEMBER 15:

Name of Presenter/s:

Title of Paper:

Brief abstract (250 words):

Brief biography:

to g.seal@curtin.edu.au

TRANSMISSIONS May 2019

TRANSMISSIONS

May 2019

Occasional Newsletter of the Australian Folklore Network

Edited by Graham Seal

https://ozfolknet.wordpress.com

and on Facebook at Australian Folklore Network

AFTER-CONFERENCE UPDATE

The 14thAFN conference was, as always, well attended, with around sixty registrants and a few casual drop-ins.

Papers and presenters included:

Yvette Staelens – Cornwall to Kadina with Twenty-Six Cornish Carols

Dave de Hugard – The Forgotten Mudgee Waltz

Mark Gregory – The Cyprus Brig and other folkloric finds (Presented by Margaret Walters)

Graham McDonald  – The Death of Frank Gardiner

Kerith Power – The First Australian Women’s Songbook

Heather Clarke – Rediscovering a Lost Convict Culture

Emma Nixon – Scottish Ceilidhs in Brisbane

We also enjoyed a panel session on the future of folk in Australia and the lunchtime concert featured the songs of Tasmanian singer/composer,Theresa (Teri) Young. This also attracted a large and appreciative audience.

As always, we thank our presenters and our partners, the National Library and the National Folk Festival, for their ongoing support. Next year will be the fifteenth event and we’d like to do something special, so let us know if you have any thoughts.

The panel discussion on the future of folk – whether performance, research, collection, archiving, etc. – came up with several suggestions – one was that, whatever else it might turn out to be, the future is digital. The AFN membership has not been heavily oriented to the world of social and digital media. We have a Facebook page and a blog, but they are not well patronised, raising the question of whether we should close them down. Perhaps a topic for next year?

Another idea was for the AFN to undertake projects. In the past, we have run a number, including publishing a selection of conference papers, but there may well be things a volunteer network of enthusiasts could do, perhaps in partnership with other organisations. 

LINKS

On the subject of the digital world, here are some sites that do attract a fair bit of interest, nationally and internationally, suggesting that they do have some appeal to people with similar interests to AFN members. Tell us if you know of any others.

Australian Folk & Roots Music Forum –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1972175932921018

Verandah Music – https://verandahmusic.blogspot.com

Podcast – Tales from Rat City https://talesfromratcity.com

Folklore Thursday – https://folklorethursday.com(though operates primarily through Twitter)

Dust to digital – https://www.dust-digital.com

Must be lots more. If you know of any, send them in.

OTHER ITEMS

Just published – Games, Rhymes, and Wordplay of London Children by Nigel Kelseyat:

https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030029098

Centre for English Traditional Heritage  www.centre-for-english-traditional-heritage.org

*

Graham Seal (Convenor) and the AFN committee:

Gwenda Davey

Jenny Gall

Graham McDonald

Rob Willis

Kevin Bradley

14th National Folklore Conference 2019 Program

 

An annual conference facilitated by the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and Curtin University.

National Library of Australia – April 18

Building on previous National Folklore Conferences since 2006, the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival again host this one-day conference immediately before the National Folk Festival.

The conference brings together those involved in collecting, researching, archiving, performing and facilitating folklore in all its many varieties and is a prelude to the National Folk Festival, which also includes a stream of presentations and performances relevant to folklore research.

The organising partners for this event are all involved in one or more aspects of folklore collection, research, archiving and teaching:

• the National Library of Australia is the premier archive of folklore, as well as initiating and supporting extensive fieldwork programs and fellowships
• the National Folk Festival is the premier venue for the presentation and performance of Australian folk traditions
• the Australian Folklore Network connects the various folkloric interests and activities around the nation through its e-publication, Transmissions and through projects, presentations and publications
• the Australian Folklore Research Unit at Curtin University is involved in collecting, archiving, researching and teaching folklore – regionally, nationally and internationally

The conference brings these interests together, providing an opportunity for participants to discuss at a national level, issues and initiatives in the collection, study and dissemination of Australian folklore.

The conference also contains a number of related events and awareness opportunities, including a lunchtime concert as well as details of new publications, recordings and initiatives.
Conference Program

9.15 Graham Seal and NLA – Conference welcome and opening
9.30-10.30 Presentation session 1
Graham McDonald
The Death of Frank Gardiner
The notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner was exiled from Australia in 1876, a third of the way through a lengthy jail sentence. He ended up in San Francisco, California where he ran two saloons for a few years before disappearing. His ultimate fate remains a mystery, but this paper will explore the many theories and the folklore surrounding the death of Frank Gardiner.
Graham McDonald has been mucking around with folklore for well over 40 years, as an occasional performer, broadcaster, writer and arts administrator. Stories about Australian bushrangers have been of longstanding interest.

Mark Gregory
The Cyprus Brig and other folkloric finds

In 1953, the folk revival was catalysed by a New Theatre performance of Dick Diamond’s musical with a union theme – Reedy River. The play the play highlighted the interconnectedness of the folk revival, theatre and union culture and militancy. From this key event that both the folk song revival and a renewed interest in the writing and performing of union songs can be traced.
My interest and active involvement in the revival led me in 1994 to launch two websites, ‘Australian Folk Songs’ with 100 songs and ‘Union Songs‘. which became a distribution site for the 32 songs and poems I collected during the Patrick Dispute. ‘Union Songs’ now holds more than 843 songs and poems. Over the last ten year, through the National Library of Australia’s TROVE newspaper digitisation project, I have been able to add over a thousand new items to the Australian Folk Songs collection.
Mark Gregory inherited a fascination for rebellious song and poetry from his family. Whether it was his mother singing ‘Hallelujah, I’m a Bum’ or his father reciting ‘A Man’s a Man For a’ That’ or hearing Paul Robeson on a windup gramophone with ‘Joe Hill’ it entered his childhood repertory. As time and circumstance allowed, these experiences led to years of research into this extraordinary genre and the broader field of Australian folk song.
11-12.00 Presentation session 2

Yvette Staelens
Cornwall to Kadina with Twenty-Six Cornish Carols
Joseph Glasson was born in the Cornish village of Lelant in 1855 and he died in South Australia aged 83. He was one of the Cornish emigrants who settled in ‘Australia’s Little Cornwall’, one of the so-called ‘Cousin Jacks and Jennys’ who created communities of families with Cornish origins in mining districts on South Australia’s northern Yorke Peninsula. With him he brought his heritage and a specific music tradition, the Cornish folk carol. This paper will explore Joseph’s music making at home in Cornwall and in South Australia, seeking to understand the social dimensions of his music-making; context, community and intriguingly how a miner made it to the concert hall directing an award- winning choir.
Yvette Staelens is a Senior Teaching Fellow at Bournemouth University, Dorset, UK. She was awarded an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship for the ‘The Singing Landscape Project’and her research output includes the production of Folk Maps for the counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Hampshire, freely available online. She is currently co-ordinating the pioneering Human Henge project exploring the impact of prehistoric heritage on mental well-being. Yvette is a natural voice practitioner and currently musical director of three choirs in Somerset. She was also a founder member of the John Moore Quire and retains a research interest in West Gallery Music.
Kerith Power

The First Australian Women’s Songbook

In 1988, following my co-ordination of a series of National Women’s Music Festivals, I was funded by the Australia Council to compile the First Australian Women’s Songbook. I sent out a national call and throughout 1990 worked to compile 50 songs sent to me on cassette tapes from all over Australia, representing songwriters from a range of backgrounds and themes relevant to women. By 1991 I had completed a draft consisting of sheet music with short biographies and photographs of each songwriter. Now, I am working towards making a digital archive of these songs and songwriters accessible through the website of the Jessie Street National Women’s Library. This presentation will feature a demonstration of the website entries for Phyl Lobl, Demeter Tsounis and Judy Small to illustrate the continuing relevance of grassroots women’s music to Australian community life in the twenty-first century.
Kerith Power has been a songwriter-singer and guitar player since 1963, and has played at Woodford, the National Folk Festival and Port Fairy as a member of the traditional dance bands Nightcap String Band and Heroines Riding Bareback. In 1982 with feminist colleagues she organised a women’s concert in Lismore featuring Margret Roadknight and initiated the First National Women’s Music Festival in Lismore in 1985. She secured Australia Council funding and was involved in organising the three festivals that followed on a biennial basis, staffed by women volunteers and featuring a range of performers.

12-1.30 Lunch and Concert
Theresa (Teri) Young is this year’s featured guest of the National Library of Australia. Teri is a young singer/composer who makes simple and sincere Australian folk music – songs about people, communities, death, love and all things honest. She plays a cittern guitar and sings, telling the stories of people and places. Teri was the winner of the 2018 National Festival Alistair Hulett award for Songs of Social Justice. Join Teri accompanied by Hamish Stevenson and Ross Smithard, in conversation and concert with NLA folklorist, Rob Willis.
12.00 in the Theatre
1.30 -3.00 Presentation session 3
Heather Clarke
Rediscovering a lost convict culture
Some of the reasons we study history are to find new perspectives, and to recover lost knowledge. The culture of early Australian convicts is a field where little research has been undertaken. This gap in knowledge arose from people wanting to forget the “convict stain” with the perception of convicts leading vile and degraded lives. However, convicts were transported with their robust enthusiasm for music and dance unbroken. The records of their closely monitored lives, though never intended for this purpose, provide a vast amount of information about their pastimes. By studying official documents in Britain, in-transit, and in the colony, it is possible to uncover this culture and to capture a glimpse of a very different convict identity. Doctoral research at the Queensland University of Technology has revealed a substantial body of data about the tunes and dances which convicts shared. This is a significant contribution to our understanding of Australian heritage, covering both cultural and labour history. Given that an estimated 1/3 of the population have a convict ancestor, it provides a fresh insight into the ways our forebears coped with their new lives in a strange land.
Dr Heather Clarke is a 3rd generation folkie, involved in folk music and dance all her life, she specialises in Australian step dance and early colonial culture. Her ambition is to enrich and expand the bush tradition by highlighting aspects which have been under-represented. In 2018 Heather completed a doctoral research project into convict culture.

Emma Nixon
Scottish Ceilidhs in Brisbane: ritual and identity through dance and music
Scottish ceilidhs are a community-based form of celebration centred around traditional music and dance. Ceilidhs are currently popular in Australia to celebrate weddings, birthdays and significant Scottish dates. Further, community ceilidhs being run in Brisbane are attracting an increasing number of participants, who come for many different reasons. Some come to engage in their own heritage, others enjoy the participatory nature of the entertainment and/ or the opportunity to include family members of different generations in a joint, physical and fun activity. This presentation explores why people choose to book a live ceilidh band and dance caller to mark significant occasions and incorporates the findings of a survey of ceilidh- goers and discusses the motivations of attendees of community events and those who have chosen to engage artists for private ceilidhs.
Emma Nixon is an award-winning teacher and performer, who combines the classical and traditional disciplines with a particular emphasis on the Scottish fiddle tradition in Australia. Emma is also a highly regarded researcher, currently undertaking study towards a PhD, having completed been completed a Master of Music in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University (UK). Emma performs around Australia and internationally with both Cloudstreet and The Black Bear Duo and is the founder and musical director of the Queensland Youth Folk Orchestra.

Dave de Hugard
The Forgotten Mudgee Waltz
John Meredith recorded in the 1950s a number of versions of a waltz that came to be known as ‘The Mudgee Waltz’. Significant among these recordings are the versions played by George Davis, Tom Blackman (Jun.), Vince Holland and Vince’s father, Fred Holland. Tom Blackman (Jun.) told Meredith he learned the tune from his father Tom Blackman (Sen.). Now transcriptions of the Davis, Blackman and Vince Holland versions appear in the classic, ‘Folk Songs of Australia’ 1968. But totally absent in this publication and significantly so, in my view, is the version that Fred Holland himself played. ‘Significantly’ because Meredith tells us Fred Holland told him he taught the tune to Tom Blackman (Sen.). And since Fred Holland’s version is interestingly different from the other versions mentioned above, it is this missing Fred Holland tune that I am calling here, ‘The Forgotten Mudgee Waltz’.

As a folklorist, collector and a performer and interpreter of traditional Australian songs and tunes, Dave de Hugard has had a long interest in folk creativity. He has also had a continuing interest in the seeking out of possible origins of traditional tunes. For Dave, though, it is not where a tune might originally have come from that is important, but what traditional musicians have done with it. Dave will take a look at some of the tunes that, collectively, we know these days as ‘The Mudgee Waltz’. Some of these variant tunes we will know, while some we may not.

3.30-4.30 Presentation Session 4

Graham Seal (Chair), Jenny Gall, Rob Willis, Gwenda Davey
Panel and discussion session – Where to next for Australian Folklore?

4.30 Conference concludes

*

AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE NETWORK

The Australian Folklore Network (AFN) is a national coalition of individuals and organisations with an interest in one or more aspects of folklore collection, archiving, research, teaching, administration and performing. In partnership with the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and Curtin University, the AFN hosts an annual conference, publishes the occasional Transmissions, coordinates the Register of Australian Folklore Collections, carries out and fosters projects and generally promotes Australian folklore in all its varieties nationally and internationally.

Individuals and organisations with an involvement or interest in these activities are invited to add their email address to our list. It is also possible for organisations and individuals to affiliate with the AFN at no-charge and obligation-free. Affiliates appear on the Affiliates list at the AFN blog

To join the AFN email list contact g.seal@curtin.edu.au

To affiliate with the AFN go to ozfolknet.wordpress.com

Follow the AFN on Facebook.
(The AFN is coordinated and resourced through the Australian Folklore Research Unit at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia)

14thNational Folklore Conference 2019

REGISTRATIONS OPEN

 

An annual conference facilitated by the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and the Australian Folklore Unit, Curtin University.

 

National Library of Australia – April 18

 

 

Building on previous National Folklore Conferences since 2006, the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival again host this one-day conference immediately before the National Folk Festival.

 

The conference is of interest to anyone involved in collecting, researching, archiving, performing, teaching and facilitating folklore in all its many varieties. It is a prelude to the National Folk Festival, which also includes a stream of presentations and performances relevant to folklore research.

 

Registrations are now open. Attendance at the conference is free but attendees must register at:

 

cknow@iinet.net.au

 

Preliminary program (subject to change without notice)

 

Yvette Staelens

Cornwall to Kadina with Twenty-Six Cornish Carols

 

Dave de Hugard

The Forgotten Mudgee Waltz

 

Mark Gregory

The Cyprus Brig and other folkloric finds

 

Graham McDonald

The Death of Frank Gardiner

 

Kerith Power

The First Australian Women’s Songbook

 

Heather Clarke

Rediscovering a lost convict culture

 

Emma Nixon

Scottish Ceilidhs in Brisbane

 

 

As usual, there will also be a lunchtime concert included in the program, this year:

 

Theresa (Teri) Young is this year’s featured guest. Teri is a young singer/composer who makes simple and sincere Australiana folk music – songs about people, communities, death, love and all things honest. She plays a cittern guitar and sings, telling the stories of people and places. Teri was the winner of the 2018 National Festival Alistair Hulett award for Songs of Social Justice.  Teri and her accompanist, Hamish Stevenson, will be in conversation and concert with NLA folklorist, Rob Willis.

 

%d bloggers like this: