Sunday, 1 March 2015

Music and Entertainments - Today and Yesterday Year

                                   The Musical All Blacks of Maoriland - Postcard of Unknown Date - private collection

Bought this postcard at one of the many Fairs we have on the Coromandel Peninsula to entertain holiday makers over the Summer Break . Was fascinated with who the " Musical All Blacks of Maoriland were" on this postcard. 

A bit of research  showed it was not our New Zealand All Black Rugby team but a family of musicians who were very popular in the first decade of the 1900s. A letter appearing in the Otago Witness from John Black of the Black Family Musicians shows the degree of popularity that this group held throughout Australasia along with difficulty of travel to rural areas because of weather.

AROUND THE WORLD Otago Witness , Issue 2654, 25 January 1905, Page 61

The Black Family Musicians came out of Invercargill and in those early days of 1897 the group consisted of Mr and Mrs Black, three daughters (Misses Nellie, Elsie, and Doris) and a son (Master Bertie). Newspapers of the day reported the concerts they gave in detail, the Mataura Ensign article reporting on the concert at Mataura,  typical of those to follow into the first decade of the 1900s.

TOWN EDITION. The Ensign. OCTOBER 28, 1897.Mataura Ensign , 28 October 1897, Page 2
Courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ
 The Postcard of the Black Family Musicians got me to thinking about the stories passed in our family down of dances, soirees and musicals  - many of them to raise money for a hall, a church, a school, a football team in a town or  rural area. To welcome or farewell someone. In the following advertisement incident a farewell to Mr. Henry Severn who had contributed greatly to the Thames Mechanic Institute with many interesting lectures and to the mining community of Thames as an Assayist with the Bank of New Zealand.

Page 2 Advertisements Column 4 Thames Advertiser, 29 January 1877, Page 2
Courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ
Travelling back over the hill after an enjoyable music evening in a private home last night ( 28/02/), having listened to Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard  weaving  wonderful music on mandolin, classic guitar and ukelele bought memories of yesterday year.  Julie remarked to fellow passengers that it had been like going to a Soiree. 
A flood of memories came back - to the pre television days -  when there were lots of musical evenings - the "sing songs" on a Saturday night around the piano; the getting together of family and friends after a hard week's work in the "bush" or on the farm playing well known songs and tunes on accordian, banjo, fiddle, guitar. The travel " over the hill" to another valley settlement to make our own fun with music. The travel home singing and chattering about the evening. The rough road home over metal roads - typical of the Coromandel Peninsula.

  Road from Whangamata, Thames- Coromandel District. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-63220-F.
Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Then there were the memories and tales shared that had been passed down from our grandparents. The times when for them it was travelling "over the hill " on a Saturday night to the dance in the next valley by horseback or. No cars in those yesterday years. Nor roads - just well-known bridle tracks in rural areas away from the towns. Or the steamer trip carrying the team for  the cricket  game and evening dance such as was reported in the Bay of Plenty Times in March 1888. A return match between Mercury Bay and Tairua ( both "mill towns" in those days). All a part of the past New Zealand history.

Reference Source:

  •  THE BLACK FAMILY CONCERTS.  Tuapeka Times, 19 January 1901, Page 3
  •  TOWN EDITION. The Ensign.OCTOBER 28, 1897.Mataura Ensign ,28 October 1897,Page 2
  • AROUND THE WORLD Otago Witness , 25 January 1905, Page 61
  • Page 2 Advertisements Column 4 Thames Advertiser, 29 January 1877, Page 2
  • TAIRUA. Bay of Plenty Times, , 23 March 1888, Page 2
  • Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard Musicians