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MMD > Archives > August 1999 > 1999.08.05 > 01Prev  Next

Introduction & Orchestrelle in Australia
By Peter Edmonds

To MMD Readers: G'Day from WA (Down Under).  Here is an introduction,
requested by Robbie, for an Australian Aeolian Orchestrelle, and its
support group.  The Orchestrelle was the subject of the article written
by Pip Newman, in MMD 990722.

The Orchestrelle resides with us in Nedlands, a suburb of Perth.  Over
the keyboard it has Aeolial Orchestrelle, and Sole Agents Nicholson and
Co, Perth, W.A.  (Nicholsons are a well-known music shop.)  With this,
and its long ownership within the one family, it has probably been in
Perth since new, believed to be about 1900.

Inside, on the right of the roll mechanism, is a damaged paper label,
with "Number of this instrument is" (and pencilled) 7(missing digit)39.
The vertical leg of the 7 is missing, but what is there wouldn't be 3,
because the 3 appearing has a round top.  Can anyone throw any light
on the year, model, etc. from this, or other information I could give?
Should I be able to find any other nameplate particulars? If so, where?

The instrument has had its major mechanical rebuilding a few years ago,
and case re-surfacing is coming up.  I compared it to the photo of the
Style V appearing in Paul Managanaro's listing under Player-Care a few
weeks ago.  Ours is similar, with the front pillars at the edges of the
keyboard, not at the extreme edges.

My part in the operation is occasional player (rolls only) and listener.
I haven't tinkered with the instrument much yet, mainly due to lack of
time.  I am still working (Naval Architecture consultancy), and have a
30-foot yacht to operate and support.  I am also the Internet link for
the group.

My wife Helen is the musician and the real player of the instrument,
and instigator of the restorations.  She also has a grand piano and
a clavinova.  She is a grand-daughter of the last purchaser of the

Helen's sister Pip Newman is the creative writer.  She lives at Lake
Clifton, a bit over an hour south of Perth.  She, and one of her
daughters each have a pianola in their residences, so mechanical music
is well supported through the extended family.  The MMD contact arose
from a phone call to Robbie from Pip, at the time in San Diego,.

The MMD article, and other MMD-linked contacts have pointed us towards
more rolls, but no additions achieved yet.  Further sources welcomed.

Peter Edmonds
Perth, Western Australia

 [ Welcome to MMD, Peter, and thanks again to Pip for her entertaining
 [ story.  You are fortunate to have such fun with the music.  Did you
 [ or Pip tell me that Perth is the center of yachting activities in Oz?
 [ Please tell us sometime about the America's Cup race preparations !
 [ -- Robbie

Key Words in Subject:  Australia, Introduction, Orchestrelle

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