Diamond Creek’s Brass Band

December 23, 2023
Diamond Creek Brass Band, Chute Street Diamond Creek believed to be a WW1 recruitment march in 1916

November 1888-January 1889 – A Band is Formed


A public meeting was held on Monday, 8th November 1888 to take steps to start a brass band at Nillumbik. It was convened by Thomas Collins and reports of the meeting show the interest from the local community with twenty-six men agreeing to join the proposed band – William Drinkwater, James Stewart, Thomas J. Wadeson, George Young, James Mills, Ezra Wilson, William J. Scott, William Heddle, David Stewart, Thomas Archer, Thomas Butler, Peter Lawrey, Alex. Huntley, James Gowdie, William Farmer, Neil Edmonds, Edward Wadeson, Rev. R. Jackson, E. T. Peers, William Herbert, Frederick C. Orme, R, Wilson, William Peters, John Godber, and Job Godber.

By later January 1889 the new brass band had been formed and practice was well under way. The Evelyn Observer and South and East Bourke Record tells us – Some few weeks back we noted in these columns that a brass band was being formed at Diamond Creek. We are not pleased to say that, under the able management of Mr. Collins, the movement received every encouragement, and has eventuated in success. No less than thirty-seven instruments now constitute the band, and under the able tuition of Mr Collins the members are progressing satisfactorily. The formation of a band like this is necessarily expensive, and, with a view of raising funds on its behalf, a grand concert will be held in the Literary Institute, Nillumbik, on the 14th February, when the band will make its debut, and no doubt draw a crowded house.

It seems that support for the Diamond Creek Brass Band, and the enthusiasm of its members got them off to a flying start. In March of the same year, they played at the Diamond Creek Horticultural Society’s Autumn show where attendance was large, and the afternoon’s pleasure was greatly enhanced by the presence on the ground of the Diamond Creek Brass Band, under the able leadership of Mr. Collins, and the numerous selections of music performed by them were much appreciated. We may remark regarding this band that considering the short time it has been in existence (only a few months) the progress of the members has been most gratifying, and reflects the greatest credit upon Mr. Collins, the band-master, to whose exertions the Diamond Creek is indebted for this addition to the numerous other advantages in the way of amusements possessed by this bright little town.

Thomas Collins Bandmaster

Band-master Thomas Collins was known to be an accomplished musician who was proficient on a number of musical instruments so was the perfect choice to lead the band and to encourage and train its members. Throughout 1889, the band continued to practice and improved and in August treated the locals to a march through Diamond Creek township. It was reported that the band played some really good marches along the valley of the township, and the beautiful strains wended their way up and around the hills and vales, and were heard by many some miles away. As they marched back to the practice room they played “Auld Lang Syne” and “Home Sweet Home’.

The band quickly became part of the wider band community across Melbourne and the state, and by the end of 1889 began taking part in the annual series of band performances for Hospital Saturday and Sunday. They were also in demand for many social events across the wider district – a concert at Kangaroo Ground in aid of the local cricket club; Yering Lodge Anniversary at Yarra Flats; Victoria Agricultural Society at the Show Yard, Heidelberg; Kangaroo Ground Athletics Club annual sports; the annual New Years Day picnic at Yan Yean Reservoir; a concert and ball in aid of the Diamond Creek Cricket Club; Diamond Creek Football Club matches; Diamond Creek Branch of the Amalgamated Miners’ Sports.

On Thursday, 5th December 1889 the band celebrated their first anniversary with a Tea Meeting and Concert where about 130 sat down to tea after which the floor was cleared for the concert. The band presented Thomas Collins with a baton inscribed “Presented to Mr. T. Collins by Diamond Creek Band”.

Over their twenty year history, they were proficient and varied in their musical ability, playing everything from religious music to military marches. The band appears to have wound down from about 1910 and we are sure that was a real loss to the community and their celebrations and socials and sporting events.

Note: Thomas Collins gave his family name to Collins Street.

Diamond Creek Brass Band Back: C. Lawrey, Mr Herbert, Jack Ryan, Colin Sinclair Middle: Mr Harris, Perce Collins, Thomas Collins, unknown, Mr Kirkbride Front: Les Herbert and his brother Ray


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