[Sheet music] Tommy Brown: Australia's Soldier Boy

Accession Number RC10486
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 1
Collection type Published Collection
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Coney, Margaret
Date made c.1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Recording provided for personal, non-commercial and commemorative use. Permission from copyright holder must be sought for commercial use. Attached digital images provided for personal non-commercial use

Sheet music for the song titled 'Tommy Brown: Australia's soldier boy', with lyrics and music written by Margaret Coney and arranged by Fred Ireland. This copy of the song was published by Allan & Co about 1915 and features photographs of John McGowan and Mel Brewer inset into the front cover. The cover has been published in colour and features illustrations of infantry soldiers advancing and another of six soldiers standing in a trench, with guns ready. Across the top, it is announced that this song was performed in Mr W J Shepperd's film 'With the fighting forces of Europe'.

Inside the front cover is an explanation as to who 'Tommy Brown' represents. According to this article, Tommy Brown was a cousin of the British soldier, Tommy Atkins. The back cover features an advertising preview of the song titled 'We'll never let the old flag fall', with lyrics composed by Albert E MacNutt and music composed by M F Kelly.

Towards the bottom of this page is a sound recording of this sheet music, or a parody, that was created as part of the Music and the First World War project. More information about this recording, including names of the performers, can be found on the catalogue record for the sound recording. A link to the catalogue record for the sound recording can be found at the bottom of this page, under the heading ‘Related objects’ where it can be identified with the prefix [sound recording].

History / Summary

The song titled 'Tommy Brown' was a popular song that extended its popularity throughout the First World War period in Australia. This song was popular with professional as well as amateur performers. Miss Muriel Willis performed this song at a screening, together with the song ‘Our King and country want you’, of the film ‘The fighting forces of Europe’ at the Maitland Town Hall, New South Wales, on 8 July 1915. Mr Theodore Pelloe performed the song ‘Tommy Brown’ at a concert to raise money for St Margaret’s Church at Mildura, Victoria, on 27 July 1915. Mr Pelloe made a repeat performance of this song on 30 September 1915 during a concert organised for Lady Stanley’s appear for Australian sick and wounded soldiers. The Clunes Dandies performed at the Clunes Town Hall, Victoria, during November 1917, The song ‘Tommy Brown’ was performed during the show by Miss R Dwyer.

This song was also often performed by school children at various events during this period. School students performed in a concert for the residents of the Foster district of Gippsland, Victoria, on 30 October 1915. The concert was organised to raise money for the Sick and Wounded Australians Fund and the song ‘Tommy Brown’ was performed by Miss N Munro. A concert was held at the Kurting State School, Victoria, on 10 November 1916 to raise money for the Red Cross. The musical program included a performance of ‘Tommy Brown’ by Miss Wiggins. The Rosebery Red Cross Society raised approximately 65 pounds as a result of a fair held during September 1915 where the song ‘Tommy Brown’ was performed by children.

This song also appears to have been performed by Australian service personnel before they left Australia. Concerts were held at Gisborne and New Gisborne, Victoria, during the last week of July 1916 to raise money for the French Red Cross. The song was performed during the concert at Gisborne on 21 July 1916, by Private Davy who was encored for his rendition.