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Australian Jazz Museum Wantirna, Victoria

The Australian Jazz Museum (formerly the Victorian Jazz Archive) is Australia's leading Jazz museum open to the public with an extensive collection of Australian and overseas Jazz resources paying tribute to the Australian Jazz story. It also charts Australia's significant contribution to the world of jazz both locally and overseas. Through vibrant and exciting displays and temporary exhibitions, the Museum celebrates Australia's extraordinary jazz heritage and its rich jazz culture. Our collection of over 34400 items contains 18500 Australian items which include Australian Disc recordings, CDs, DVDs, tapes, cassettes, posters, books, photographs, ephemera, instruments, memorabilia, magazines, brochures, flyers and press clippings. Several historically significant, rare and unique items are held in the collection. Our international collection numbers in excess of 5000 jazz 78s, 7000 LPs, 700 45s and 3200 CDs. The Museum also houses the Australian Jazz Convention's entire historic collection which goes back to 1946.

Contact Information

location
Koomba Park 15 Mountain Highway Wantirna Victoria (map)
phone
+61 (03) 9800 5535
Contact

Opening Hours

Open Tuesday and Friday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm EST or ESST - or by special appointment. Melways 63 C8

Entry Fee

Free

Location

Koomba Park 15 Mountain Highway Wantirna Victoria

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The Australian Jazz Museum is custodian of one of the most extensive collections of Australian Jazz in the world accessible to the public. The Museum collection ranges through sound recordings, posters, photographs, publications, instruments and memorabilia from the 1920s to the present day.

Significance

The most comprehensive publicly accessible Australian Jazz collection in Australia. A collection of worldwide significance.

marg pearson 7 February 2016 3:59 PM

I am wanting to hire/borrow a marimba or vibe. Most contacts I have have not been able to help. Ross Anderson suggested you may be able to help?? Marg.

emyers123@tpg.com.au 31 March 2017 3:38 PM

Yes, I sent a request by email recently. Has it been attended to? Also, for my website ericmyersjazz.com, which deals with the history of Australian jazz , I am hoping you'll be able to supply me with a scan of a good photo of the legendary saxophonist Merv Acheson. Cheers, Eric Myers

Australian Jazz Museum 2 May 2017 7:27 PM

Regrettably, we are unable to assist you Margaret. We have no way of contacting you as your details are not accessible via this system.

Mathew Grunberg 9 August 2017 3:15 PM

hello , are you looking for volunteers ?

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18 items

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18 items

Sculpture - Eric Child

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Bronze Bust

Historical information

Eric Child (1910-1995) jazz aficionado and doyen of Australian jazz broadcasting. The head was a fixture in Eric Child's courtyard garden.

Significance

Eric Child's jazz programs ran for a record 30 years

Musical Instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Metal and timber 'Soap Saver' Washboard

Historical information

Len Barnard's 'Soap Saver' Washboard

Significance

Len Barnard is a major contributor to Australian Jazz

Inscriptions & Markings

National Washboard Co. Chicago Saginaw Memphis Soap Saver Trademark reg. U.S. Pat.Off. Made in U.S.A. No 198 Patent 1152766-1283148

Musical Instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Alto Recorder belonging to Ade Monsbourgh

Historical information

Used on Ade Monsbourgh's Recorder in Ragtime album of 1956 described by Bruce Johnson as "a unique exercise in jazz on recorder."

Significance

The significance of this recorder lies in it being both an early example of recorder making in Australia and its connection with internationally recognised Australian jazz musician Ade Monsbourgh. The Pan company was the first to produce recorders in Australia. It was established by jazz musicians Ade Monsbourgh and Don Roberts in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, Victoria in 1951. The company manufactured affordable wooden recorders for school students. Instruments such as this were made using local timbers and featured an innovative section of the mouthpiece (the block unit or windway) which was removable and made of plastic, possibly to allow easier cleaning to occur for the sake of hygiene. It is unknown in what numbers these instruments were made. Ade Monsbourgh (1917-2006) was one of Australia's pioneering jazz musicians especially in the period following World War 2 when he played in Graeme Bell's band. As a talented and influential saxophonist he toured several countries, as well as playing with other leading Australian musicians including Bob and Len Barnard. He was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to music in 1992. Don 'Pixie' Roberts (b.1917) was also an early figure in the Australian jazz scene from the 1930s and, in particular, the Australian Jazz Convention of 1946. He also played with Graeme Bell's band.

Musical instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Silvered brass trumpet and mouthpiece with slight dent on rear

Historical information

Trumpet which belonged to Roger Emerson Bell leading jazz trumpeter and composer who was a major influence on the development of a uniquely Australian Jazz form. He played with his brother Graeme Bell and also led his own groups.

Significance

Trumpet played by Australian Jazz musician Roger Bell through the mid to late 20th century

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved "Made by Henry Selmer - Paris Depose Grand Prix Geneve 1927 Liege 1930 Signed by maker Henry Selmer Place Dancourt, Paris Made in France" "Silver on Brass Serial # 6697 (engraved on second valve)"

DVD - Benny Featherstone - Prince of Good Fellows

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

A 66 minute film remastered onto DVD-R of Benny Featherstone, a legendary Melbourne Musician, by Nigel Buesst. Housed in a DVD case with a photograph of a Featherstone band in front of a shell stage.

Historical information

The life and times of a legendary Melbourne musician who lived life with the brakes off. Arguably the first notable Australian jazz improvisor, he mastered many instruments - trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano. But most of all he was an excellent drummer. Throughout the thirties Benny played hot jazz in a multitude of bands, inspired perhaps by hearing the "hot Harlem rhythms" of the Ellingon and Armstrong bands in London during a 1933 visit

Musical Instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Buescher brass cornet

Historical information

The brass cornet was owned by early Australian Jazz musician and multi-instrumentalist Benny Featherstone

Significance

Benny Featherstone is considered "one of the most fascinating and gifted musicians in the history of Australian jazz" (Johnson, Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz, p 154). Once described as "Australia's Louis Armstrong"

Inscriptions & Markings

True tone. Pat. Oct 89.07 287335 LP 262 The Buescher Elkhart Ind. U.S.A.

Musical instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Rare cream-coloured Grafton acrylic plastic alto saxophone belonging Ade Monsbourgh together with mouthpiece

Historical information

Given to Ade Monsbourgh by the Grafton Saxophone Company UK, during the Bell Second Tour C1951-1952. Ade Monsbourgh is considered one of Australia's most original and influential jazz musicians and composers.

Significance

Rare Grafton acrylic plastic alto saxophone donated by the Grafton Saxophone Company UK, to Ade Monsbourgh during the Bell Second Tour C1951-1952

Inscriptions & Markings

Embossed Made in England Patent # 604 407 604 418 John E. Dallas & Son Ltd Sole distributors. # 10147

Musical Instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Illuminated and illustrated Bass Drum belonging to Frank Mobilia

Significance

Of special interest because of the illumination and artwork

Inscriptions & Markings

White swans swimming on a pond

Record Label - Ampersand Label

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Ampersand record label

Historical information

William H Miller's Ampersand R Series Label

Significance

William Henry 'Bill' Miller founded Ampersand Records in the 1940's to record Australian Jazz groups. Ampersand was the first specialist Australian jazz label and is significant for its collection and promotion of uniqely Australian jazz.

Musical Instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Metal Silver B flat soprano saxophone made by V. Kohlert and Sons, Graslitz, Czechoslovakia. Circa 1920s. Mother of pearl keys, slight denting. Additional mouth piece.

Historical information

Restored by Tony Newstead. Played by Dr Phil Law during the 1930s, "for dances and other functions, while teaching at Clunes, Talbot, Creswick, Learmonth, Newtown, Smeaton, and while teaching at Elwood (at Eltham, Gisborne and Sunbury." including on many of his expeditions to the Antarctic. Phil Law was a dedicated jazz reed player and band leader in his early years as a country school teacher. His brothers also played. Gift of Dr Phil Law - 1999. Dr Law died in Melbourne on 28 February 2010 at the age of 97.

Significance

Owned and played by Dr Phillip Garth (Phil) Law AC, CBE, for dances and other functions, while teaching during the 1930s, and on many of his 28 expeditions to the Antarctic.

Inscriptions & Markings

On bell of saxophone "Kohlert Sons / Graslitz / Czechoslovakia" framed by flower and leaf motif

Record Label - XX Record Label

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

XX Jazz Record label

Historical information

William H Miller's XX Series Labels

Significance

Bill Miller started the XX label to provide local copies of American jazz recordings

Book - The story of the Jubilee Singers with their songs

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Rare hard cover book. Includes personal history of singers. Includes music and words to 128 songs. Preface to music written by Theo F. Seward.

Historical information

The Fisk Jubilee Singers toured Australia in the late 1880s arriving at the Melbourne port of Williamstown on May 14, 1886, giving 80 concerts, their first performance being at the Melbourne Town Hall on June 7.

Honour Roll - Montsalvat Jazz Honour Roll 1988 - 1996

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Varnished timber Honour Roll. Gold lettering.

Historical information

Monsalvat Jazz Festival

Significance

A veritable Who's Who of the doyens of the Australian Jazz scene in the late 20th century notable for its inclusion of Margret Roadknight, the first jazz singer to be added to the Honour Roll, in 1991.

Inscriptions & Markings

Names of significant Australian jazz artists are listed on this Honour Roll.

Correspondence

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Letter from Ade Monsbourgh to C. Ian Turner proposing the establishment of an Australian Jazz Convention

Historical information

Letter proposing establishment of an Australian Jazz Convention after WW II.

Significance

Led to the development of the longest running Jazz Convention in the world from 1946 to the present day.

Cartoon

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Poster sized Watercolor cartoon 16-18th February 2006

Inscriptions & Markings

To the Victorian Jazz Archive with best wishes George Haddon May 2006

Musical Instrument

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Recording Brass Bass manufactured by Boosey & Hawkes circa 1930s. Played by Lou Silbereisen for recordings with Graeme Bell and His Australian Jazz Band in the late 1940s and 1950s. Played by Brian Carter from 1958 to the mid 1960s.

Historical information

Played by Lou Silbereisen for recordings with Graeme Bell and His Australian Jazz Band in the late 1940s and 1950s. Played by Brian Carter from 1958 to the mid 1960s.

Significance

Boosey & Hawkes is a British music publisher. Until 2003, it was also a major manufacturer of brass, string and wind musical instruments.

Jewellery

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

Costume jewellery - Silver and cut glass brooch and ear rings

Historical information

Size of box is 6cm x 4cm In 1936, young Eric Child (1910-1995) met, and squired around London's jazz night-spots, Lucille Wilson a dancer in Lew Leslie's Blackbirds stage production at the Gaiety Theatre. Although Lucille knew a few famous bandleaders she, at that time, had never heard of Louis Armstrong, THE King of jazz, according to Eric. Later, in a letter to Eric in late 1942, Lucille wrote that she had met his King - and had become his fourth wife on 7th October 1942. She had finally worked with Louis at the new Cotton Club in Harlem in 1939 where she was in the chorus line using the stage name Brown Sugar. The long platonic friendship with Lucille remained and Eric and his wife Angela (1919-2001) welcomed her and the King in Brisbane on Louis' first visit to Australia in April 1956, and on all subsequent visits here. At a dinner at the Child's Sydney home Lucille presented Angela with one of Louis' famous stage handkerchiefs, signed by the All Stars, and a her own brooch and earrings, which Angela had quite innocently admired. Following Eric's death in 1995, Angela promised the Louis handkerchief to Bill Haesler and the brooch and earrings to Jess Haesler when she died. Rather than keeping these unique items private, the Haeslers donated them, in Angela's memory to the Victorian Jazz Archive.

Significance

A unique momento of jazz great Louis his wife Lucille Armstrong,and his Australian friends Eric and Angela Child.

Handkerchief

Australian Jazz Museum, Wantirna

White handkerchief signed by Louis Armstrong, Lucille Armstrong and other band members

Historical information

White cotton handkerchief used by Louis Armstrong in the 1956 film "High Society". Signed by members of his All Stars band on the 1956 tour of Australia and presented to Angela Child. Inscribed "Hello Angela Jack Lesberg" "To Angela from Louis Armstrong" "To Angela sincerely Lucille Armstrong" "To Angela Best Wishes Edmond Hall" "To Angela from Gary Crosby" "Valma Middleton" "Good luck to Angela Billy Kyle" "Good health Barrett Deems" "Rose Hardaway"

Significance

Possibly unique in having the autograph of Lucille Armstrong together with other band members.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signatures of Louis Armstrong's band members