MUSIC HERITAGE ON RAYMOND ISLAND
Church congregation c 1900.
A newly formed Raymond Island History Group has been tracing the history of music on Raymond Island and collected photos, instruments, recordings, and oral history from many islanders.
For a very small island, Raymond Island has a rich musical heritage. From the establishment of the Village Settlement in 1884 music has played a large part in the lives of the Islanders. From informal and impromptu musical events in settler’s homes to more formal events at the Island Presbyterian Church, the Raymond Island School, Advancement League Hall, A’Beckett Park and the Community Hall.
In the late 1890s Frederick Barton and the islanders established a small Presbyterian Church, a bark hut, on the corner of Centre and Gravelly Point Road. Church services were held in the small bush church, establishing for a few years a religious musical setting.
By 1902 the Raymond Island State School (No.3384) was established near the site of the Church. Music was to play a large part in the children’s lives for the 30 years that the school operated. The School Inspector occasionally walked from the ferry to the school carrying his gramophone and records to entertain the island children. Locals who attended the school can also remember the first radio arriving on the Island in 1927, a crystal radio set.
During World War II, fund raising musical events were held in the Smith home on Western Boulevard, now called “Emily’s Cottage”, to raise money for the War Comfort Fund. Over twenty families would attend and Harry Smith would play the button accordion providing the musical accompaniment to the dancing.t
Following the formation of the Raymond Island Advancement League in 1949, a hall was built by the Islanders and regular dances were held on a Saturday night. Music was supplied by local musicians - button accordions and harmonicas.
Local musicians gathered regularly for informal musical gatherings on the Island. Musical instruments included bones, tin whistles, tea chest base and other percussion instruments blending with guitar, keyboard, saxophone and drums.
In more recent times the Island has both produced and attracted many musicians - many of whom have had recording and performing careers around Australia and beyond and often perform on the island and the local area.
The Raymond Island Bellringers formed in 1994, performed regularly around the district and in St Barnabas Chapel at A’Beckett Park. The hand bells were made in England, and the bellringers developed a repertoire of formal and traditional pieces.
The Ferry Park (see rhs ) and the Community Hall now provide ideal venues for many community and social events and on Saturday, January 22 the musical heritage of Raymond Island will be celebrated at the Community Hall with musical performances on the lawn and a music heritage display in the hall.
The Music Heritage Day is supported by the East Gippsland Shire and the Raymond Island Community Association Inc.
Please note : Most photos shown here , unless otherwise stated , were supplied by Andrew Bould .