pictures on this page are of a remarkable Australian musical
ensemble "the Bushwhackers' Band" featured in the Sydney
New Theatre League's current production of Reedy River, a musical
comedy of the Australian outback.
of the instruments, the "lagerphone" and the "bush
bass," may look a bit odd, perhaps, by symphony orchestra or
even dance band standards but when the bushwhackers' bushwhackers
band gets cracking, the rhythmic lift from the lagerphone and bush
bass, abetted by the guitar, is enough to make even an African
tom-tom expert feel jealous.
lagerphone is an Australian bush development of a medieval percussion
instrument which used small bells and miniature cymbals. The
Australian version uses beer-bottle tops. The bush bass, which is a
packing-case-and-stick job, uses an authentic double-bass string.
the band gets going on the traditional Australian shearing song Click
Go the Shears,
sung by most of the males in the cast, audiences commonly go wild.
show in which the Bushwhackers Band appear waswritten
by Dick Diamond, of Melbourne, "with acknowledgment to Joseph
Furphy and George Farwell." Furphy was "Tom Collins,"
author of the Australian classic Such
Farwell is a noted contemporary Australian writer and an expert on
the Australian outback.
words come from people like Henry Lawson, Vance Palmer and Vance
Palmer's daughter, Helen Palmer. All music has been collected and, in
some cases, restored by notable Australian composers like Margaret
Sutherland and the late Louis Lavater.
since it opened towards the end of last year, Reedy River has played
to packed houses. The Bushwhackers Band probably has something to do
with this fact.
Meredith (left), who plays the accordion in Sydney New Theatre's
production of "Reedy River," makes up, side by side, with
Brian Loughlin, player of the "lagerphone."
is the New Theatre's 'bush bass' player, Jack Barry, whose skilful
thrumming of an authentic bass string, set in an old case, brings
tears to the eyes.
full-length portrait of Brian Loughlin, the "Kreisler of the
logerphone." If you look closely at the things similar to
buttons, you'll realise that they're beer-bottle tops.
bushwhackers' band — complete. The players are (left to right):
Chris Kempster (guitar), John Meredith (accordion), Harry Kay (mouth
organ), Brian Loughlin (lagerphone), and Jack Barry (bass). In "Reedy
River" they play and sing genuine tones sung by the shearers and
others in the 'nineties.