Second Downtown Lecture for 2012

Musing on the History of Australian Folk Music by Peter Ellis AO

Peter Ellis AOOn 5 July 2012, the Bendigo chapter of La Trobe University Alumni Association presented its second Downtown Lecture for 2012: Musing on the History of Australian Folk Music by Mr Peter Ellis AO, whose work was recognised this year with an Order of Australia for services to the arts through the collection and preservation of Australian folk history and heritage.

Peter N. Ellis AO was born in Bendigo and educated at Bendigo High School and Bendigo Technical College. In 1965 he obtained a position as a laboratory assistant at Bendigo Technical College. He remained there for 12 years and later worked as a laboratory assistant and technician in other Bendigo institutions.

He is a member of the Wedderburn Oldtimers Orchestra (since 1979), leads his own Emu Creek Bush Band since founding it in1983, as well as the Bush Dance & Music Club of Bendigo.

Peter has presented numerous workshops in several states and at many folk festivals including the National Folk Festival at various state capitals. Also a historian on the early social dance and music Peter regularly provides articles and photographic material for the national monthly publication of Trad & Now. Peter Ellis donated a collection of dance music to the National Library in 1989–92 plus a collection of recorded oral histories and personal papers.

Mr Ellis shared some of his most treasured memories of people and places that he has encountered over his long and varied career as musician and historian. As well as his extensive knowledge of Australian folk music Peter spoke of his very personal and intimate connection with the local Bendigo environment and community. He also treated his audience to a musical performance of particular Australian dance tunes and songs on various instruments he has collected.