THIS WEEK'S FEATURE ARTICLES
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Fortune favours the fast
Places at any sort of event these days are at a premium. We are luckier here in Tasmania than those in many other states but, until a short while ago, even to get into a church for Sunday services – let alone funerals or weddings –
places were limited. Nothing makes
a thing more desirable than its scarcity, it seems. This is true for the Kettering Concerts that have recently been doing ‘catch-ups’, offering on occasion two concerts in one day. Door sales are no longer possible; online booking is the way to go. Once again two concerts will be held on 25 October, this time two different concerts. The second, the Tasmanian String Quartet playing Borodin and Beethoven at 3pm, is already sold out. The midday concert, Two to Tango, featuring Sue Collins and Johannes Fritzsch, still has places available. To book, visit ketteringconcerts.org.au Tickets are $15.
What you will get
This will be a fun concert, swinging seamlessly between the classical: Schubert’s Sonatina in G minor and Dvorak’s Sonatina in G major; and popular jazz: Paul Nero’s Hot Canary, and Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust. German-born Johannes Fritzsch is best known to us as an internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor, and especially in Austria, Australia and New Zealand. Since 2018 he’s been principal guest conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and at the invitation of the TSO leads the newly founded Australian Conducting Academy. He’s also master of the piano and organ, being first taught these instruments by his father, as well as the violin and trumpet. Tasmania is lucky indeed to have a maestro of this calibre in its midst. On 4 October, the Kettering Concerts featured husband and wife musicians, Tuncay and Gergana Yildiz. On 25 October, Johannes Fritzsch will share the stage with his violinist wife, Sue Collins. Sue Collins has appeared as soloist and recitalist throughout Australia, the USA and Europe. She appears as Guest Concertmaster with many orchestras around Australia, and is currently Head of Strings and Orchestral Music at UTAS. Another musical treasure in our midst.
Franz Schubert’s life was a short one. He died at age 31, possibly from mercury poisoning used as
a treatment for syphilis, or the syphilis itself, although the official cause of death is listed as typhoid. He was a great admirer of Beethoven and chose to be buried near his idol, at whose funeral Schubert had served as torchbearer. Unfortunately, Schubert’s music was better appreciated after his death than before, and this sonatina was among others published after his death. The sonatina, as opposed to the sonata, is defined by its very naming. Schubert’s is described as intimate and modest in size, unlike the sonatas composed by his hero, Beethoven - hence the diminutive term, ‘sonatina’. Dvorak’s sonatina was the last chamber composition written during his time in the USA. He had his children in mind when he wrote this, but intended it to speak to adults as well. It’s described as being fresh and joyful, and having four short movements with a simple and clear structure. Like others of Dvorak’s compositions, his sonatina is inspired by Indian melodies and Negro spirituals.
Jazzing it up
Paul Nero’s The Hot Canary became a commercial hit and
a popular encore piece, bringing the house down, according to an interview with Nero’s wife. It’s been recorded in Big Band style by Ella Fitzgerald, and as an orchestral trumpet solo by Maynard Furgeson, although originally written by Nero as an etude. The Nero family were Jewish immigrants to America from Russia. Paul Nero was classically trained in violin in the Russian tradition and kept those early influences, incorporating them into the jazz tradition. Like many musicians, Hoagland ‘Hoagy’ Carmichael, was first taught by a parent. His family was poor and Hoagy contributed to the family finances by working in a bicycle-chain factory and a slaughterhouse. But it was the death of his three-year old sister in 1918 - possibly from that pandemic of the time, the Spanish Flu - that drove him to a vow that poverty would never again deprive them of such necessities as the services of a good doctor. He became a successful songwriter and performer, oriented towards jazz, and creative in his use of new technologies: television, electronic microphones and sound recording. The American standard, Stardust, became one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century and in recognition was added to the National Recording Registry.
The extra bonus this time around is Phillip Hirst’s wonderful photography displayed around the walls. Phil’s photography features water and landscape, the night sky, and the beauty of the shadowy boundary between day and night. Visit his website, philliphirst.com.au, for a taste of Phil’s artistry. Book online for this concert at trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=666736& or visit the Kettering Concerts website. This concert is at midday, on Sunday 25 October at the Kettering Community Hall.
This is the story of Samuel Page, who was instrumental in organising coach trips from the Huon to Hobart in the 19th century. Today’s Huon
residents might well recognise
In fact, there were two Sam Pages operating in the coach business, illustrating one of the traps of historical research. You can so easily go down the wrong path.
Our Sam arrived in Tasmania as a convict on the bark Lord Lyndoch from Plymouth, England. Contemporary reports tell us the bark tied up at the New Wharf in Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on Friday 5 February 1841 with Samuel and his older brother William on board. The trip had taken 147 days. The weather was a typical Van Diemen’s Land summer’s day: fine, 22C with a south easterly breeze blowing across the picturesque harbour.
This ship’s arrival was nothing special: between 1,000 and 2,000 convicts were arriving each year. On disembarking, most were sent to the Prisoner’s Barracks also known as ‘The Tench’, still located (in reduced form) in Campbell Street in Hobart.
Most convicts were taken out on daily work parties for road building and construction, while those with bad records worked on the barracks treadmill grinding wheat, while others carted and broke large rocks from the nearby quarry on the Domain into smaller stones to be used for roadworks.
In all probability, Page spent at least some time at the Browns River Probation Station, which is where he is likely to have met Sarah Heley Jackson of Browns River. There was certainly a Mr Thomas Jackson, property owner, living at Browns River at the time; maybe Page was assigned to him as
a convict labourer?
Page was then assigned to work in the Huon. He started on the farm of L. Kellaway at Iron Stone Creek (on the opposite side of the Huon River from modern-day Franklin) in March 1843.
He also went on to work for Joseph Wilson and William Walton, where he was commended on his work, particularly his carpentry.
Walton’s property was on the south eastern side of Mountain River, opposite to where Page eventually settled at Glen Farm.
If Page was seeing Sarah Jackson on a regular basis prior to their marriage, such a courtship must have been highly problematic, as it would have been a long journey from the Huon Valley to Kingston. Perhaps it was that memory which prompted Page to join a committee in 1855 to pressure the government to provide an all-weather track from Hobart Town to the Huon River and to allow him to establish a coach service.
After applying for permission to wed, Page and Jackson married in Kingston on 14 June 1849. Page was 34 and Jackson was 16.
The granting of Page’s ticket of leave was reported in the Launceston newspaper the Cornwall Chronicle on 10 March 1849.
After Sam’s conditional pardon on 14 December 1852, the Pages moved to Victoria, a settlement whose name was changed to Ranelagh prior to 1900. The township was originally called Mosquito Point but was renamed after the property in the area of the same name belonging to Mr Lucas.
The farm was possibly named after the Ranelagh Gardens in London, now part of the Chelsea
Page became very involved in the growth of the community of Victoria soon after his
Perhaps we will never know how this relationship between Samuel and Sarah began, or what difficulties had to be overcome for it to flourish, given that Sam was
a transported convict and Sarah the daughter of a former convict and a free woman. But the Pages lived a productive and successful life together and continued to build an important Huon farming family, with many of their descendants still in the area. The couple had at least nine children between 1850 and 1872.
Sarah died in January 1878. Sam lived another 17 years and died at the age of 81 on 9 September 1895, also on the family property.
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