Threads of connection
Title page from 'Family Hymns', sheet music composed by J. F. Burrowes, published circa 1839-1845 by Francis Ellard, Sydney. Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection, Historic Houses Trust of NSW

Reading the score

Sharing a song and a dance at home has long been a source of entertainment.  Since the early 1800s, Australian households have purchased sheet music to enliven their drawing room repertoire and the examples here, from the collections of Sydney Living Museums, were sold mainly in Sydney between c1834 and 1934. These publications reveal the rhythms of daily life at home - where a young woman leads a lively dance from her piano at Warialda, in northern New South Wales, and a family in Moss Vale spend their Sundays singing sacred songs. There are pieces which reflect a love of Queen and country and others which celebrate with a post-Federation pride. These publications reflect the vitality of British and early Australian music publishing, the world of local music retailers and the rough and ready glamour of the Sydney concert scene.  

‘Australian National Anthem’ by Lillian L. Dick (Sydney: Nicholson & Co., 1934)
‘Family Hymns’ by J.F. Burrowes (Sydney: Francis Ellard, c1839-45)
‘O, would I were a Boy again’ by Frank Romer (Sydney: Henry Marsh & Co, c1854)
‘Oft in the Stilly Night’ by Thomas Moore (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, c1858)
‘Stand Aside’ by C. H. R. Marriott (London: C. Sheard, c1870)
‘The 77th Galop’ by P. Cavallini; cover by S.T. Gill (Sydney: J.R. Clarke, 1858)
‘The Barham Mazurka’ by Louise N***** (Sydney: J. A. Engel, Printer, 1876)
‘The Bird Song’ by John Winterbottom (Sydney: W. J. Johnson and Co., 1855)
‘The Queen’s Waltz’ by Charles D’Albert (London: Chappell & Co, 1857)
‘The Sea’ by Sigismund Ritter von Neukomm (Manuscript score copied and sold by Francis Ellard, Sydney, about 1834)