Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Dr Jonathan Paget

Second Supervisor

Stewart Smith


This study is centred around music and music-making in Perth, Western Australia, from 1900-1950. It examines various parts of Perth's music history using both primary and secondary sources. Chapter one uses secondary sources, both musical and non-musical, to present an exposition on musical life in Perth in this period. The following two chapters move from macro history to micro history and are based on archival documents housed in the Battye Library. The progress of music in Perth, Western Australia-due to its relatively late colonisation in relation to the eastern states-trailed somewhat behind Melbourne and Sydney. However, once established, there were many direct parallels between Perth and other centres in the eastern states. On the other hand, Perth's geographical isolation can be shown to have often set music-making in this state on a unique pathway. For example, the reluctance of international artists arriving in Sydney to cross the Nullarbor helps explain the need for extensive networks of amateur music-making. This paper is a journey through 50 years of Perth's music history and will clearly illustrate the important role that amateur music-making and local music societies played in the development of music in the state. Chapter one is subdivided into two parts, the first of which opens with a review of the literature on the history of music in Perth, Western Australia. Select sources related to the social history of Western Australia are also reviewed. The second part of chapter one formulates a brief history of music-making in Perth between the years of 1900-1950. Chapter two examines articles of a musical nature from The West Australian throughout the year of 1920. Radio had not been introduced in Perth by 1920 so news was the sole preserve of daily newspapers. By extracting relevant data from the articles in The West Australian, a story can be told of Perth's musical life in the year 1920. Chapter three offers close case studies of three local music societies whose archives are stored in the Battye Library.This micro-historical study illuminates aspects of Western Australia's musical history outlined in chapters one and two.