ANZAC DAY – Remembrance Day – School Song.

2 May

Southern Cross Song Book -.Allans Music

ANZAC DAY –(Remembrance Day)

Words and Music by Bene Gibson Smyth.


This was the title of a song/hymn  we learnt at Fairfield Primary School, Victoria, Australia,  in  years prior to the outbreak of World War 11, although war clouds were threatening.  Every Anzac Day since I left the school in 1940, I sing  it, although  I never hear it sung as part of remembrance ceremonies. I wonder why. 

We were seated , cross-legged, in the Assembly Hall. The Australian Flag and timber  Honour Board for former students stood  behind the speakers.  The poem “On the twenty-fifth of  April, far across the sea, our brave Australian Soldiers stormed Gallipoli………” was recited by a student.   The President of the Fairfield Returned Servicemens’ League  always came to remind us, and share with, the families around us there who were still grieving for lost family members. The tragedy  and futility of war, and our responsibility to remember the sacrifices made, were explained, and  ‘’Lest we forget”  was repeated after the speaker.  This was very solemn thinking for 4-11 year olds 78 years ago.    There are now  thousands more young people lying in war cemeteries, or are a name on a monument. The Great War was not the war to end wars, as was hoped. There was no victory, an Armistice was signed.  I have visited war cemeteries, and  remember the grief, with this song, my  Australian lament.

Do you remember this?  It can be found on page 6 in  Allans Music Southern Cross Song Book, shown above.

ANZAC DAY SONG Bene Gibson-Smyth

Dear Allans Music Shops,   Melbourne. 

For over 80 years,  you were my second home for songs,  anthems, oratorios, songsters, keyboard music, strings,  organ  and group instrumental works,  teaching and examining music, music dictionaries and histories, and musical instruments as well. You served me well.    Central  music studio hire was available too.

Thank you, thankyou, for making a Melbourne musician’s life affordable and possible.   Your sheet music still fills my home, and I wish we could  hear again  those memorable songs and hymns for school,  church, choirs,  community, soloists, bands and orchestras.

Your sheet music still fills my home, and I miss the family music making at home.    My current weekly sessions of playing for elderly citizens prove to me,  that memory and therapeutic value from learning, hearing, sharing  and reading music early in life, even our times tables as a chant and alphabet as a class song, enriches our lives through aural memory.  Music lifts the spirit, and is a precious gift to share.
There is a song to remember for everything, as we Turn back the Hands of Time.

A new book *****

15 Mar


Author –  Lois Murphy

Publisher – Transit Lounge Publishing.   2017

I loved this book, with all its Australian references and challenges of distance. I did not want to put it down. I recommend it highly.

Pete McIntosh, retired from his official police duties, speaks to us in typically pedestrian, Australian style.  He laments past life, family and career which  are his reasons for escaping to a reclusive lifestyle, away from large cities.  His health is poor, and he wants peace of mind.   Time was, when he bought his property, and this little town housed a school, some families and a small but more interesting community, which needed a police officer.

In retirement, he justifies his present situation – in 1999 – in the depressed, lost town in Western Australia, Nebulah, which resembles Wittenoom in Western Australia, the once booming industrial site for manufacture of blue asbestos.  Lois knows Australia and Australians well, capturing in the moods and characters of this story.

Inspiration for this ghost town story, stems from reality. The now almost totally deserted, blue- asbestos ruined town of Wittenoom ,WA, is mirrored in  Nebulah.  Soon implies hope for a future, which becomes less likely to happen, as chapters are turned. Like tomorrow, or anon, will it come?

Pete invites us to his home, frequently when his apple pies are in the oven. His thoughts and story enfold as we meet this tiny, diminishing, group of stayput friends in Nebulah, as disappearances and deaths fall victim to violent, sinister events and environmental ruin from a pall of mist at nightfall.     The Government has removed the township’s old signpost, and  its tiny population is ignored, forgotten, as they struggling  to survive.  No  shops , school or library remain just a  cultureless group of houses remaining occupied,  where “weeks flow through the calendar  like a sluggish river.”

Pete’s TV, practical skills, support, and basic life necessities are shared with his neighbours. They support each other in their predicament,  as they have bought their properties which are  no longer saleable.  They cling to their homes and memories from before the visit of a group of suits to their cemetery.  Land Agents, Mining spies perhaps, who disappear, along with some earlier residents.   Mystery and suspense hold our attention, as well as beautiful writing and interesting characters, the stay-puts.  Even when every task is difficult,  they say put, gathering together when possible. 

 Ghastly violence, ghostly images, disappearances and deaths occur frequently, as the friends network collapses. Darkness and terror pervade, by the weight of the nightly, malevolent mist. It is Winter Solstice, so long nights prolong the fear. What shall they find when daylight comes? There is no escape.

 That sluggish river of time, and the pall of mist in long darkness, are  cruelties. Weighted by fear, Pete and his friends reveal their character through conversation and task sharing.    Crisp conversations , Australian  style are good to read.   Li, the refugee lady from Kmer Rouge fights to take produce from her once organic orchard and farm to the nearest town, so far away, in her rattletrap, unsafe car, is a source for fruit basics, and a friend to bring back supplies, tobacco, alcohol and other necessities, from her market trips.

Although this is a dark book,  delightful  writing makes it a joy to read. Interesting and damaged characters, relationships, word pictures so lyrically written hold interest throughout.  Powerful mystery projected me from one chapter to the next

Supplies and visitors are rare.  Organic orchard products –such as apples, grown and marketed miles away, by Li – a refugee from Khmer Rouge – keep her always busy. She brings back supplies, tobacco, beer among them. Old vehicles, unserviced trucks covering many miles to nearest towns clattering along, race home in fear, to lock up safely, before the mist invades.    Unreliable servicemen, police contacts based many miles away give limited help occasionally.

There is a small community of dogs here too. Dog Gina, Pete’s best friend, named after his tormented ex-wife, is constant and loyal.   All living beings are affected nightly by the evil, violent,  cataclysmic curtain of mist; heard, smelt, seen, breathed, and inescapable. Birds have left, plants wither, in this wilderness.

While supernatural forces are not my usual book choice, and Mist is used as a metaphorical  character here,  it represents to me destructive forces bringing down civilised life, as we have enjoyed it,  today.   Currently there are 2000 Pacific Islanders being deported from their homes, as climate change and rising tides  threaten their safety.  Will some of them refuse to go, leaving all behind them?  Wars, droughts, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, starvation, disease,  displace people by the thousands. Will a few remain behind and face ultimate destruction?  What population levels are sustainable? How many residents remain at Wittenoom now, defying the odds against them? Are indigeneous families still there? With only 7 others staying put on their properties, what level of risk are they enduring?

As environments decay around us, surely our planet cannot remain sustainable. So, yes, there are uncontrollable forces, ideologies, greed, and savagery, and many more , destructive forces  influencing human life, just as does this lethal, intrusive mist. We need cautionary stories to remind us and this Australian perspective , so well written, is

As environments decay around us, surely our planet cannot remain sustainable. So, yes, there are uncontrollable forces, ideologies, greed, and savagery, and many more , destructive forces  influencing human life, just as does this lethal, intrusive mist. We need cautionary stories to remind us and this Australian perspective , so well written, is welcome.

I am looking forward to reading more of Lois Murphy’s fine writing – in her uniquely Australian way.

As environments decay around us, surely our planet cannot remain sustainable. So, yes, there are uncontrollable forces, ideologies, greed, and savagery, and many more , destructive forces influencing human life, just as does this lethal, intrusive mist. We need cautionary stories to remind us and this Australian perspective , so well written, is welcome.
I am looking forward to reading more of Lois Murphy’s fine writing – in her uniquely Australian way.

Such a good read 

Autumn 2018

2 Mar


Autumn in Melbourne, Australia, has arrived, and  I am hoping to enjoy it. It is my favourite season, I’m preparing to enjoy it , as  I find summer weather very tiring. It has higher temperatures more often, every year.

2017 raced away, and 2018 is settling in, even faster. Easter is almost here, and as Australians we are being told we are no longer what we thought we were for 230 years, but we are something different.   Well, unprecedented numbers of migrants are arriving in our capital cities, and our traditional suburban homes with their treasured back gardens and space around them for family life, are being knocked down all around us.   Traffic pollution and lack of infrastructure choke our air, and once again we are wondering when the next healthy fall of rain will refresh our gardens.   After a hot summer, will autumn and winter bring enough water to replenish our rivers and dam supplies?

A former premier of NSW Robert Carr, has just reminded us that if we put all of our desert continent’s rivers into the Mississippi River, they would not affect its flow one iota.  This fact is ignored as my home city, Melbourne, Victoria, for several years voted the world’s most liveable city, is changing to a carbon copy of the worst liveable, hideously overpopulated, fast, dirty cities ,  from where many of our new residents are escaping.

I posted this last Autumn – “Are we at the dawn of a frighteningly strange, new era? I don’t know whether to feel contentedly optimistic, or scared stiff?” I now know that, with thousands more arriving since then, this is unsustainable madness.  It is destruction of a culture, lifestyle and character which has stood us in good stead. Its roots grew  from

the great western civilisation tradition, superimposed upon thousands of years of indigenous aboriginal occupation.   

‘Growth’ is bringing disaster, confusion and unsustainability upon us. Immigration numbers need revision and control.  That is an urgent matter.   Apartment living is an unhealthy option, and vertical ugliness of architecture is depressing.

I believe I have known the best of Melbourne. I wonder if others agree with me as our climate brings extremes of heat and cold weather, destructive gales, and disappearing shorelines.   Overpopulation brings destruction, just as do polluted oceans and skies filled with machinery.      Quo vadis?























The World has changed.

25 Feb

We hear that cry constantly now,  from many voices, don’t we? And we know that is true.  Authorities are being run by emotional groups, and the calm, disciplined, educated minds who prepare for, and accept leadership responsibly are howled down by hoards of motor-mouthed, self seeking zealots, determined to stop rational debate.  Personal abuse and insults are replacing respect for persons, and rational debate cannot proceed for the noises they make.   Can a law abiding society survive this racket?

Now, in February 2017,   we are  bombarded with noise pollution, wrongly called Music in my view.   Intelligent conversation and speech is overpowered,  by  raucous backgrounds of irrelevant instrumental or digital sound effects. Even advertisements cannot be heard for the rubbish screaming behind the voices.      Orchestral compositions have expanded into damaging aural assaults, especially for the players themselves, and deafening rock music has destroyed the hearing senses of the population for about 50 years now. Yet they scream for more.    This is happening above incredible traffic noise from the air and the roads around us.

I don’t know how one little blog post can do anything about this, but I wonder if any one has bright ideas which may  remind the wider, noisy world of their stupidity.  How can we make a difference, in a world of such invasion?  We are mindful of protecting our children’s senses,   eyes, skin, smell from dangerous environments,  but the sense of hearing is bombarded all day long from excessive noise. Once destroyed, hearing won’t return.

Technology invades ever faster, and sensitive nuances of sound such as human voices, and tuneful music is swept away in its path. Combining with music making away from technology, and speaking conversationally, rather than needing to shout at each other must surely be a wise goal for a peace loving community. Where may we find it today?  Most of  the Music Shops in my world’s most livable city, Melbourne, Australia, have closed now. Ghastly noises while you wait for ever to speak to someone on the phone are an abuse.  Radio and TV presenters need voice training and effective speaking advice before they are let loose on the public.   Monotonous, piercing mouthing of words is distracting and painful to hear.    Explosive dynamic changes in broadcasts are hideous too.

I cherish the music which is not ‘owned’ but shared quietly, easily,  by human voices alone, or with unamplified accompaniment on solo instruments.     Cinemas and concerts are far too loud, unbearably so  at times.   I’ve been prattling about this for a decade, so this rant is not a new one.     It happens to be a focus of mine which I can’t ignore.

Listen and learn are my tips for a society which cannot hear itself think. Share the music you can sing, hum and whistle which can bring happiness.  You don’t need an audience for that. It is a personal treat when you are alone too.   The less dissonance I need to deal with the better.  I’m glad I have a lifetime of enjoyable melodies in my musical memory. I am never lonely.   I enjoy my me time when everyone else goes to bed and I can think quietly.  Even so, the jet planes will make my house on the hill rumble when they power overhead from 4 am.

Time for a pillow now.

10 Interesting Facts About Johannes Brahms

22 Jun

#Orchestral String Players always enjoy the warmth of Brahms compositions. Beautiful music.

Take Note

by Jacy Burroughs


1. Johannes Brahms was born on May 7, 1833. His father was a town musician who played a variety of instruments, mostly horn and double bass.

2. Brahms began playing piano at the age of 7. By the time he was a teenager, he was helping the family financially by performing in inns, brothels, taverns and along the city docks. Brahms is also believed to have begun composing early in his life, but destroyed his early compositions. He did not become famous as a composer until April and May of 1853, when he was on a concert tour as accompanist to the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi.

3. In 1853, Brahms met Robert Schumann. Schumann was so impressed with Brahms’ compositions that he wrote an article in his Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, praising the young composer’s genius and heralding him as the one who could…

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Summer Assignment Sheets

22 Jun

Time To Dance

20 Apr

Music Therapy research is providing amazing information about results, strategies and benefits of Music involvement in the education of those with disabilities. –

Emma's Hope Book

Hearing music alleviates anxiety and welcomes dappled drops clasping gleeful feelings, radiating inward and outward simultaneously.  Like bursts of intense flavor, music explodes in the body.  Only a few stoic souls can ignore its command to move.  Dancing is the healthy choice.  Turn on your favorite music and give yourself permission to become a part of those notes.

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