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A history of brass bands in New South Wales 1788-1901

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:40 authored by Mark Pinner
The brass band as a unique musical ensemble began to emerge in Britain during the early 19th centuries. The reed bands and later brass bands grew out of the pre-existing musical ensembles of the time. By the middle of the 19th century an all brass band tradition had developed that would go on to become one of Britains' most recognisable forms of amateur music making. The colony of New South Wales was initially established as a penal settlement. The early musical scene was dominated by British army bandsmen who were present as part of the forces sent to run the penal colony. Civilian brass and reed bands began to develop from the 1840's with the abandoning of convict transportation in favour of free settlement. Settlers from the socioeconomic groups and regions traditionally associated with banding provided the initial impetus for the formation of civilian bands. The growth of the band movement was also aided by the departure of the British military in 1870 and the formation of local military forces, complete with bands. Colonial expansion, ie. outside of Sydney, also saw many more bands formed in the newly founded country towns. The British model of the amateur all brass band began to become established in New South Wales, and Australia as a whole, around the turn of the 20th century. Prior to this time the preferred instrumental line up was mixed brass and reed. Amateurism, within the New South Wales band movement, is a 20th century phenomena.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Literature survey, thesis organisation and methodology -- The beginnings of the band movement -- The military influence: New South Wales bands to 1888 -- Civilian bands to 1888 -- Centenary to Federation -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: leaves 225-227

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


Thesis (MA (Hons)), Macquarie University (Division of Humanities, Department of Contemporary Music Studies)

Department, Centre or School

Department of Contemporary Music Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Philip Hayward


Copyright Mark Pinner 2004 Copyright disclaimer:




New South Wales


1 online resource (v, 227 leaves) illustrations

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