Concertina Photography & Cartoon Gallery


 

Over the years I have collected quite a lot of fascinating images related to the concertina. Many came from snapshots taken from digitized newspapers and magazines. I’ve been playing for many years and, thankfully, now have a relaxed relationship with the instrument and that’s the most important thing about music. Go with the flow.

 

That's me and my Edeophone English Concertina

That’s me against the green wall and I am playing my favourite English concertina, a Lachenal Edeophone manufactured around 1905. It has an easy action, beautiful fretwork and nickel buttons. These are expensive beasts. I bought this on Ebay several years ago, probably ten, and it cost US $4000 plus another $850 to bring it up to scratch. A mate of mine bought a brand new Wakker English, top-of-the-range, in 2014 and paid around $10,000. This figure might surprise some but it is on level with many other musical instruments. Maybe folks think concertinas are more like toys – how wrong they are. He still says it was a good purchase and expects it to appreciate over time. Such an instrument is a good investment for a serious player. There are a couple of concertina makers in Australia, Chris Ghent makes beautiful anglo concertinas and Richard Evans makes an anglo under his Kooka Concertina brand. Both are expensive because they are hand-crafted in every respect. I have other concertinas – a beautiful Lachenal rosewood and nickel from the 1890s, a baritone Wheatstone with deep and dark sounds ideal for accompanying some songs. It is unbelievably heavy and I can’t believe anyone could carry this around and play. I have a Wheatstone tenor but it has a tone that doesn’t please me so it doesn’t get played too often. Lastly, I have a Crane Duet, a system I have not mastered because playing a concertina is a mind and body game – your fingers need to be very familiar with patterns. At this stage I will stick to my 48 key English. I have often thought I should sell all my instruments and invest in a newly made one, probably Wakker, but, even then, there’s a waiting list. In the meantime there is something nice about the look, smell, feel and sound of the old instruments. Squeeze on. I hope you enjoy this gallery of cartoons and photographs.

Little Boy Blue

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There were many coloured postcards and images similar to this ‘blue boy with concertina’. Dressing boys (and sometimes girls) as ‘little sailor boys’ was popular throughout the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larrikins were late 19th and early 20th century street gangs. Their girls were called ‘donahs’ and, apparently, the larrikins and donah liked nothing better than dancing to the music of the concertina. Most dances were couples dances like the polka or waltz.

Smith's Weekly. circa 1910

Nineteen and early 20th-century Australian cartoonists had a way with drawings that required no caption Here a larrikin brandishes his concertina . Perth Daily News 1904.

 

 

Illustrated Sydney News 1885

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing the dance. Australians loved to dance – sets, polkas and hornpipes

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This red-nosed character was the father in a postcard cartoon ‘Saturday Night at the Cottar’s’

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This image from the Sydney Illsutrated News shows the bushman dancing a solo dance, possibly a hornpipe, to the strains of the concertina.

A bushman dances a step dance to the accompaniment of what looks like an English (rather than anglo) concertina. Sydney Illustrated News 1889

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A beautiful drawing of a dance accompanied by a concertina. Kalgoorlie Western Argus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Concertina at war. Being portable and light, the concertina, both Anglo-German and English, found itself on the front lines of WW1 and WW2. It had already been to war in the Boer War and Boxer Rebellion. Its music entertained the troops on endless nights

 

He hid the concertina in the horse's nosebag!

He hid the concertina in the horse’s nosebag! Adelaide News 1942

 

 

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A Trap For Boers. Kalgoorlie Argus, West Australia, 1900

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ade Adv 1945

Salvation army officer playing concertina and soldier plays musical saw. Adelaide Advertiser 1945

Courier Mail 12 April 1945

cartoon using the bellows of the concertina  (Brisbane Courier Mail. 1945)

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Smith’s Weekly. 11 May 1946    He Made Music From Routine Orders.

DIGGER, interned in a POW camp with Aussies, Italians and Poms, was the proud owner of an expensive and ornamental concertina, upon which, however, he was an indifferent, if enthusiastic, performer. “Itie” made a slighting reference to his fumbling on the keyboard, whereupon the Digger thrust the squeeze-box at him and said: “OK, mate, you have a go.” POW assaulted the night with a florid rendition of “O Solo Mio”, ‘Santa Lucia,” and  other sentimentalities, with all the stops out, ending on a triumphant flourish. Digger concealed his chagrin with a thoughtful mien, nodded sagely, and said, “Not bad, pal, not bad. Just wait until I get my music — Aussie music.” He ducked into the orderly room and emerged with a sheaf of routine orders.

“Here,” he said, “hold this and give a real musician a go.” Peering closely at the roneoed typescript, nodding solemnly when he reached the bottom of the page for the POW to turn the sheets over, he put the concertina through every possible evolution its maker could have dreamed of and a few more. The din was imposing, even if it was impossible. Climax came on a magnificent crescendo on the last sheet, whereon was published promulgation of sentences imposed at recent courts martial. He looked rapt. He’d been carried so far away on wings of inspiration. the provosts should have been after him.

POW stood there uncomfortably holding the RO’s until the Digger condescended to return toearth and notice him. ”Well.” he said, “how do you like Aussie music?” “Itie” handed over the sheets. “Buono,” he said. “Maestro.” And walked away quietly, dazed, deflated.

 

Concertina ‘routine orders’ music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bluey and curley 1942

Bluey and Curley were a cartoonist’s impression of the typical Aussie soldier. They were much-loved so it’s good to know they had a concertina with them in the trenches!

 

 

In the bush of Australia.

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concertina player ‘agitator’ with a chained worker ‘labour’ as they dance to free the working class during the 1890s shearing strike.

Ill Syd 1885

a dark night scene where a player squeezes as another reads in a dimly lit tent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Australiasian 1908

This lone concertina player, city slicker perhaps? The Australasian 1908

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newspaper stories.

Cairns Post 1949

Article about ‘the last concertina tuner’ employed by Wheatstone. Apparently, she couldn’t play! Cairn’s Post 1949

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1950 The Argus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Left: Dooley Chapman, Canberra Times 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Argus, Melbourne, 1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The concertina often appeared in children’s columns in newspapers. These (below) are typical.

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(These three) Newcastle Herald , NSW. 1949

 

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This cartoon series (below) Adelaide Mail, 1938

 

 

 

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1941 ade adv

Bib & Bub, the ‘gumnut children’ were drawn by May Gibbs – in my youth every child grew up with this pair. I often wondered why they never wore clothes. At least the concertina player, a kangaroo (or is it a rat?), has the decency. From Adelaide Advertiser 1941

 

The Arrown Syd. Dec 1901

The Arrow, Sydney. 1901

World's News 1908

Old Ned: “So yer goin’ to Sydney for a trip at last, Bill? Bill Outback:  “Yes, Ned, going’ down to have a look at the races” Old Ned: “What ‘ave you got in the handkerchief, Bill?” Bill Outback: “The concertina: there sure to be a dance after th’ races” World’s News 1908

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Qld Figaro, 1886

Queensland Figaro 1886

 

"Ladies and gents, we will now play a selection from 'Vermicelli' by Figibernans. Now then, Bill, let her go one-two-three... splash... and Jim's eye copped the pasta sauce.

“Ladies and gents, we will now play a selection from ‘Vermicelli’ by Figibernans. Now then, Bill, let her go one-two-three… splash… and Jim’s eye copped the pasta sauce.

 

Northern Star, Lismore. 1935

 

 

 

Do you speak French? No, but my brother plays the German Concertina.

Caption: (She) Do you speak French? (He) No, but my brother plays the German Concertina. Queensland Figaro 1887

sun mail qld 192

Husband: “I ask you, Ethel, who’s been making a concertina of my hat?”  Wife: “Yes, dear. You came home playing it last night!”  Queensland Sunday Mail 1929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cartoon strip with exploding concertina.

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Professionals. Over the years many professional players toured Australia and New Zealand. Some billed themselves as ‘Professor of the Concertina’ and others ‘Doctor’.

Sun Times Syd 12 Jan 1913.prince

Alexander Prince. Sunday Times Sydney 1913

world's news Syd 11jan 1908

Miss Charlotte Hawkes. World’s News, Sydney, 1908

1942

1942 Argus

Sydney Mail 1903

Sydney Mail 1879

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise the Lord and Squeeze the concertina.

Table Talk Meb 1913

Prince. Table talk Mag. 1913

The concertina received wide circulation after the Salvation Army adopted it in the late 19th century. Apparently, the Sallies were keen to have an instrument the bush workers would feel comfortable with.

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Sea Captain Knapp, 1903, Kalgoorlie Argus.

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Kalgoolie Argus 1903

Kalgoolie Argus 1903. Capt Knapp.

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West Australian English Concertina Band. 1929. Western Mail

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Don Woodhouse, Salvational Army player. Photo: Warren Fahey. Don’s story and playing is in my NLA collection.

Herbert Greene 1951 Magic Box

Marie Lachenal, Louis Lachenal’s daughter. 1885

Herbert Greene and ‘B’ circa 1950

Londoners busking 1920s

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Sydney Morning herald 1939

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This evangelical preacher was a fixture of Queen street, Brisbane, Queensland, for decades. Praise the Lord (and pass the ammunition). Sunday Mail, Brisbane. 1970s

whoop whoop school band n'cle sun feb1923

The Woop Woop Band Newcastle Sun NSW 1923

qld Fig 1886

Queensland Figero 1886

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World’s News Sydney 1940

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Concertina player in bush hut. Northern Territory Library

 

 

 

 

 

‘A Kanaka Garden Party’ with accordion. Daily Mercury, Mackay, Qld. 1923

1930 Emerad Bridge

Emerald Bridge 1930

Melbourne Punch 1869

Charles Keene cartoon Punch Magazine

Blackface minstrels

Sheet Music. NLA. Crocodile playing concertina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brisbane Truth 1908