James and Sam: Brothers, Bands and Bathurst

Sam Lewins' home (left) and James Appleyb's home (right) in Lewins Street, Bathurst

James Appleby (1853-1922), the second child of Christopher Appleby and Mary Ann Appleby, was born in Country Durham on 13th August, 1853. James was only 19 months old when Chistopher died and Mary Ann was left to bring up James and his elder sister Jane Ann (b. 21st September 1848). Mary was befriended by one of Christopher's fellow railway workers from New Shildon, William Lewins, a widower who had a daughter a year or two older than the Appleby children. They eventually married, at which time Mary Ann and her two children moved to New Shildon. The Lewins then had a son, Samuel, who was born 30th December 1861.

Even though there was 8 years between them, James and his half brother Samuel grew up together and remained close for the rest of their lives. Besides their mother, there were two things that they had in common that was the glue that held their friendship together - railways and music. Borth worked for the railways all their lives - first at New Shildon in Country Durham, and later in Bathurst, NSW, after migrating to Australia. The second passion they shared was a love of music, particularly that of brass bands. It would be a combination of these two things that would bring them both to Australia.

Samuel Lewins

In a new, and rapidly growing town like New Shildon, the formation of a brass band was used as a vehicle to bring together the new industrial era towns and unite then with a sense of community, their populations having been pulled from various corners of the region and brought together. The continuing expansion of the railway network enabled bands to travel to contests, and in many cases, the patronage of employers contributing payment for travel to contests or concerts helped narrow the gulf between management and the workforce. Some even felt it contributed to a reduction in strike activity following some troubled decades early that century.

1856 had been significant in that it saw a change to the law of the land that allowed Sunday bands to play in recreation grounds and parks, which were themselves increasing in popularity during the Victorian era. Providing musical entertainment outdoors required a particular type of band with instruments that could project, and be well heard, in such open spaces. Military bands and brass bands were ideal.

The New Shildon Saxhorn Band

The earliest known reported instance of the newly formed New Shildon Saxhorn Band attending a contest, yet not competing, was one that took place in September 1857 in nearby Bishop Auckland. The sounds of the Band playing in the Town Square every Saturday afternoon became an integral part of growing up for James and Sam. They no doubt attended performances held regularly at the Shildon Mechanic Institute under the guidance of bandmaster Francis Dinsdale, and followed their success whenever they entered Brass Band competitions that were held across the country.

A report from 1862 recalls of the New Shildon Saxhorn Band, "The celebrated band, giving vent to their musical talents, came out on Saturday January 18th, to cheer the villagers with their strains of music. They played choruses and selections from Mozart, Handel, Verdi and other eminent authors, with such precision and brilliancy, that much credit is due to their talented leader, Mr F. Dinsdale. After playing they formed in promenade, to the house of Mr Thomas Thompson, Bay Horse Inn, New Shildon, where they, with other respectable gentlemen of the neighbourhood, partook of an excellent supper, which was served up in grand style, and which reflects great credit upon worthy host and hostess. After doing justice to the repast, the cloth being removed, vocal harmony being the order, which was efficiently applied by Messrs. Dinsdale, Harrison, Spark, Robinson, and others of the band. After playing, 'Rule Britannia,' and the National Anthem, they separated, each to their respective homes, highly delighted with the night's entertainment."

The draw of brass bands was too much for James and Samuel to resist and as soon as they were old enough they joined the New Shildon Juvenile Band which had been established to encourage the youth of New Shildon to become a part of the Brass Band movement, and train those who showed talent to prepare for their eventual entry in the New Shildon Saxhorn Band.

New Shildon Juvenile Band

The New Shildon Temperance Band

Public houses played a key part in the lives of the working class across the nation as social hubs, particularly for the men. The men of New Shildon were no exception. For so small a town it boasted a good many public houses, and they acted as meeting places and key social hubs. As trade union activism increased opportunity for the workers to attend the pubs, the increased opportunity for drinking alcohol led to issues in social conduct and health.

The Temperance movements arose in reaction to those aforementioned social factors and sought changes to combat the negative effects of alcohol on society. The earliest Temperance Movement is thought to have formed in Belfast, inspired by Presbyterian minister John Edgar and later John Livesey. Temperance initially targeted the drinking, specifically, of spirits; but over time through its various factions included ale, and veered between a policy of demanding a legal ban and the principles of moral persuasion. Regular Temperance meetings in New Shildon itself seem to have been established by 1857. In September 1858 the North of England Temperance League was inaugurated, strengthening the structure of the movement.

The Temperance Movement as a whole attracted support from a variety of religious organisations, especially non-conformist Methodists, Quakers and Salvation Army, who collectively and separately lobbied parliament to restrict alcohol sales. Shildon bandsmen, as with many working-class men of the day, enjoyed the opportunity to imbibe in an alcoholic drink or two, and there were times when the indulgence was perceived to have been taken a little too far from both the perspectives of their bandmaster, and of the public.

As more of the men of the town of New Shildon signed up to the temperance pledge, there was a perception by those bandsmen that no longer partook of alcohol that a band consisting solely of like-minded players might be better in terms of performance of music, and so the New Shildon Temperance Band was formed.

New Shildon Temperance Band

By 24th June 1879 where the New Shildon Temperance Band were placed 2nd at the Lofthouse-in-Cleveland Contest, earning a prize of £4, New Shildon's bandsmen had separated into two groups. James and Samuel aligned themselves to the side of moral virtue. Their band's first mention in the press was on 8th August 1878 in the Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough regarding a band contest and flower show at which the New Shildon Temperance Band performed under bandmaster Edward Dinsdale, brother of Francis Dinsdale. James and Samuel would have performed, perhaps for the first time in public, at the event. James and Samuel were now working together at the North Eastern Railway Wagon Works at New Shildon, James as a coppersmith and Samuel as a blacksmith. It was at the Wagon Works that they met John Malthouse, Thomas Edward Bulch, James Scarffe (1863-1933) and Joseph Garbutt who would become their fellow bandsmen and life-long friends.

Thomas Bulch was the nephew of Edward Dinsdale, whose breakaway New Shildon Temperance Band became a rival outfit to his father' Saxhorn Band. Bulch and his five young friends were among the founding members. James played the euphonium - one of seven brass instruments in the saxhorn family invested by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. Samuel initially selected to play the trombone, which he stuck with for several years. When Thomas Bulch took over from his uncle as bandmaster of the Temperance Band, he suggested Samuel switch to euphonium, the instrument with which Samuel stuck during that band's contesting career.

John Malthouse and family

John Malthouse was born in April 1860. His father, who had been drawn to New Shildon by the prospect of steady employment at the Shildon Railway Works died on 31st October 1870 leaving John's mother a widow with four sons to raise. His mother re-married in April 1863, to John Gascoigne. On 30 June 1879, John Gascoigne, his wife and their four children travelled to London where they boarded the steamer 'City of London' as steerage passengers to travel to Australia via Plymouth and St Vincent (Adelaide). At the time, the British Government was offering financial incentives to British families to move to Australia and take up the challenge to help build the new nation, and it is thought to have greatly infliuenced the family to move to Australia.

Even though the Victorian gold rush was almost over, John Gascoigne believed the prospects for his family in a Victorian goldfields town were still high, and headed for the area upon disembarking in Adelaide. John Malthouse and his siblings maintained their interest in brass music and between the age of 19 and 24 John would work his way up to being bandmaster of the Kingston and Allendale band. Both places had been thriving gold mining towns in the gold rush. By coincidence there is an Allendale not that far away from Shildon, and that New Shildon Saxhorn Band's first bandmaster Robert De Lacy was bandmaster there for a time.

Over the next few years John Malthouse formed and ran the Malthouse's Model Band in Maryborough, then ran and played Tenor Horn with the City of Ballarat Brass Band for a number of years. He also ran a music shop in Maryborough. John Malthouse married in 1892 and moved to Castlemaine, Victoria. He died on 18th March 1935 at Ballarat, age 75.

During his first year in Australia, John maintained written corrpondence with his New Shildon band mates - letters took 60 days to arrive and the same amount of time for the response - and those letters were enough to convince a number of his fellow bandmates, including James and Sam, that their future lay over the oceans.

James and his wife Jane Goldsborough, who he had married on 25th September 1880, made the decision to migrate first. A contributing factor in their decision to move to Australia was that the railway company for which the six young friends worked had been contracted to help build the first railway in New South Wales, and were now assisting with its development throughout New South Wales. Armed with work references from the New Shildon Railway Works, their chance of gaining employment in the country of their adoption was all but guaranteed.

S.J. Dulthie's 3-masted wooden ship, 'Abergeldie' at East Circular Quay, July 1844. 950 tonnes. Built 1869 in Aberdeen, Scotland, lost by collision, 1889

The Applebys applied for and were granted assisted passage of £2 per adult being offered to families, since they were now the proud parents of a son, William Percy, born 2nd August 1881. They were assigned to travel on the Abergeldie, and sailed from Plymouth on 13th May 1884. The Abergeldie entered Sydney Heads on Monday 7th July 1884, and discharged its passengers at Neutral Bay on the following day. James and his family rented a house in Anglesea Street, Waverley. A month later, James and Jane's second child, Mabel Annie, was born on 11th August 1884.

It is not known why the Applebys chose to migrate to Sydney rather than Victoria, where John Malthouse was - perhaps it was the greater chance of employment in New South Wales. Whether James ever caught up with John is also not known, however it seems likely that John and James' son Percy did meet up during Percy's years living in Ararat, which is less that 100 km from Ballarat.

By the time James and his family had arrived in Sydney, Tom Bulch, Samuel Lewins, James Scarffe and Joseph Garbutt had raised enough money from the townspeople to pay for their passage to Australia. They left Shildon three months after the Appleby's had arrived in Sydney. The foursome were seen off, according to one newspaper report, by between two and three thousand admirers and well wishers. After a rail journey to London, the group boarded the steamer 'Gulf of Venice' for what was to prove to be a somewhat unpleasant journey to Port Adelaide. Reportedly the lads would rehearse on deck providing the passengers with some entertainment to brighten the journey.

Steamer 'Gulf of Venice' at Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney, built 1883. Photographer unknown. Photo: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

Although a cargo steamer, the 3000 ton gross ship was chartered by the Orient Steamship Company to deliver 519 men, women and children, immigrants to Australia from the UK. The ship left Plymouth in late 1884 and arrived in Sydney 88 days later on 4 February 1885 with only one death aboard (Tom Bulch, Samuel Lewins, James Scarffe and Joseph Garbutt had disembarked in Port Adelaide). This topsail schooner-rigged ship lost two propeller blades in high seas, and used her canvas regularly during the voyage and had to make at least one unscheduled stop to top up her coal bunkers. As a cargo ship 'Gulf of Venice' would have had temporary accommodation and services built into her holds, fore and aft. There were eight boats on board, those on the poop deck obviously added for the voyage.

The four musicians were met in Port Adelaide by John Malthouse, and uembarked on the two day journey to Creswick on the Victorian Goldfields. Shortly after his arrival in Creswick, Tom Bulch was asked to take control of the 3rd Battalion Band, and the Allendale and Kingston Brass Band. It was with this band that he entered his first Australian brass band contest in 1886 at the Creswick Miners Sports, and that band took first place. Tom was married not long after arriving in Australia to Eliza Ann Paterson, the daughter of the mine manager of the gold mine at Creswick; John Malthouse was his best man.

Though Tom initially took a regular job in Australia, in addition to his bandmaster duties, he fully intended to realise his ambitions to make a living from music one way or another. He set up a partnership with John Malthouse to acquire and open a music shop on Sturt Street in Ballarat. From here, in addition to selling musical instruments, Thomas was also able to publish his own music and founded the Australian Brass and Military Band Journal. After the shop was destroyed by fire, he accepted an offer from Suttons of Melbourne to relocate to that city and work for them. There was much regret in Ballarat at his departure. In Melbourne, Tom also became bandmaster of the GPO Military Band there, and moved to working for Allan and Co, a music publishers, where as well as contributing his own work, he spent much time editing the compositions of others.

James Scarffe found work at the Phoenix Foundry in Armstrong Street, Ballarat, where Central Square now stands. The Foundry constructed, repaired and re-sold steam engines, boilers, stamp heads, quartz crushing machinery and pumping machinery of ever-increasing size and complexity. James Scarffe was a member of the City of Ballarat Brass Band for many years. He died in Ballarat in 1933, age 70.

Joseph Garbutt was employed as a blacksmith in Ballarat. He married and had two sons, John H. and Henry whose World War I services are recognised on the Ballarat Avenue of Honour. Joseph Garbutt retired and lived in Melbourne at 140 Berkeley Street, Carlton, until his death in May 1903.

Samuel started his new Australian life in Ballarat, but unlike his friends he didn't stay there too long. James, who had moved to Bathurst with his family, and started work as a fitter's labourer with the Department of Railways on 23rd February 1885, contacted Samuel and suggested he join him in Bathurst. Samuel jumped at the opportunity to get together again with his half-brother and moved to Bathurst where he joined James as a fitter's labourer in the railway workshops. Samuel married Elizabeth Jane Catley, a year or so after his arrival in Bathurst. Together they had six daughters and four sons.

Bathurst District Band, winners of Besson and Boosey Cup, 1905

As there was no brass band in Bathurst at the time, and seeing the potential for one, Samuel formed the Bathurst Railway Band, which would later become the Bathurst District Band. His half brother James was also a founding member. The band would play in the Bathurst courthouse gardens, and Samuel would ensure that the programme of music often included pieces composed by his old childhood friends Thomas Bulch and George Allan, who was a member of the first band Samuel had played in back in New Shildon.

Bulch, who wrote the tune to Waltzing Matilda, even composed a march for Sam's band, entitled 'Bathurst'. It was created for the Bathurst Contest in 1891, at which Thomas officiated as judge. When Machattie Park in Bathurst was created in 1890, a rotunda was built for the band to perform upon. Samuel led the band - with James playing - to win the Australian Championship three times before he retired from the band in 1935 after 53 years at the helm.

Bathurst District Band Reunion, 2nd March 1924. Sadly James Appleby had died two years previous.

On 29th April, 1898, James Appleby purchased part of Lot 19 in the South Bathurst subdivision for £52/10/-. In September 1897 John Baines had also purchased part of Lot 19 for £45 and in April 1898 Baines sold half of his block to James. The house is called TeesBank, named after the River Tees in James's home town in Durham. Samuel Lewins lived 2 doors away on Brilliant Street.

Samuel passed away on the 23rd May 1940, aged 78. During the 1950s, a street in South Bathurst where James and Samuel lived next door but one to each other, once named Brilliant Street, in an area that housed the city's railway workers, was renamed Lewins Street in his honour.

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