Lagerphone and Tea-chest Bass

The first store on the new ‘field’ that surrounded Bayley’s Reward Reef in 1892

An outback pub is coming to the State Library of WA for the launch of Goldfields Girl on Thursday  7th May. Get out your pen and mark the date clearly in your calendar.

In the new ‘field’ surrounding Bayley’s Reward Reef in 1892 the one and only pub was the social centre for a rag-tag collection of prospectors from all over the world. Since water cost more than Champagne, the pub was the best place to quench their thirst after a hard day of scratching at the red desert dirt. And where so many men gathered there were always tall tales to be told and songs of their homelands to be sung.  Of course only the smallest and least fragile of musical instruments could be carried in the swag of a prospector, most of whom had walked the 168 miles from Southern Cross out into the desert. Mouth organs, squeeze boxes, tin whistles and the occasional ukulele had arrived with the men, but it wasn’t long before other instruments were cobbled together to add to the sound and rhythm. Empty wooden tea-chests were plentiful and, since nothing could ever be wasted in such a harsh environment, they were turned into drums. It was thirsty work in the relentless heat so there was no shortage of discarded bottle tops either. The men gathered them up and nailed them, close together in rows, onto a spare broom stick. The unique swish and rattle this instrument made added a new sound to accompany the tea-chest bass and swell the band.

If you have never experienced the enthusiasm and camaraderie of an evening in a bush pub – or even if you have and want to feel that excitement again, here’s your chance. Come along to the launch of Goldfields Girl on the 7th May and bring your friends, young and old.

Invitations coming soon.

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