[Sheet music] Australia [The Song of Australia]

Accession Number RC10725
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 240
Collection type Published Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Measurement Overall: 33 cm x 26 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Linger, Carl
Carleton, Caroline
Place made Australia
Date made Unknown
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

This piece of music titled 'Australia' is a handwritten photocopy of the song titled 'The Song of Australia', with lyrics written by Caroline Carleton and music composed by Carl Linger. This version features the melody line with piano accompaniment for the first three verses of the song on the first page, in reverse order, with the final two verses, also with melody lines and piano accompaniment, appearing on the second page. The handwritten musical notation appears to have been photocopied onto a sturdy type of paper.

'The Song of Australia' was the winning entry in a competition advertised by the Gawler Institute to award ten guineas for the words of a patriotic song titled 'The Song of Australia' on 1 October 1859. The competition drew 96 entries and was intended to mark the second anniversary of the organisation. The only stipulation given was that the composition was in 'accordance with the title and suitable for musical expression'. The prize was awarded to Mrs Caroline Carleton on 20 October 1859. The poem was published the following day, in entirety, together with a new competition – to find a pianoforte accompaniment to the poem. The stipulations were that the music was to be written in G clef without going 'below lower C or above upper G' and possessing a chorus written for three or four voices. The winner of this competition, Mr Carl Linger, was announced in the South Australian Register on 5 November 1859 after the decision was made the day before and the name of the winner was acquired after the newspaper sent a telegram to the Secretary of the Gawler Institute.

Four days after the announcement of the winning poem, an extensive opinion piece defending the choice of the judges was published in the South Australian Advertiser, on 24 October 1859, which included two parodies and encouraged people to compose a national anthem, as opposed to the requested patriotic song, or write a better song themselves.

Caroline Carleton, nee Baynes, was born at Islington, Middlesex, England on 6 October 1811 and was the daughter of bookseller William Baynes and Mary Ann nee Bailey. She married Charles James Carleton in 1836 and the couple, together with their two children, left England aboard the Prince Regent, and disembarked at Glenelg, South Australia on 26 September 1839. Their two young children died during this voyage. It was while living at the West Terrace Cemetery with her husband and five children, where her husband was working as superintendent of the cemetery, that Carleton wrote the song lyrics. A book of her poems titled 'South Australian lyrics' was published by J H Lewis in Adelaide during 1860. Her husband died on 20 July 1861, after two years of deteriorating health. During this period, Carleton had been doing most of the work as superintendent but her application to take over the position was rejected after his death. Carleton moved to teaching and opened several schools for girls in Adelaide before moving to Wallaroo where her daughter Amy had a school. She died at Kadina and was buried in the Wallaroo cemetery on 12 July 1874.

Carl Ferdinand August Linger was the composer of the music for 'The Song of Australia'. Linger was born on 15 March 1810 at Berlin, Germany, and was the son of an engraver. His parents encouraged his study of music and he became known for his musical compositions. He sailed from Hamburg, Germany, with his wife Wilhelmine and a group of intellectual Germans known as the Forty-Eighters, aboard the Princess Luise. A daughter was born during the voyage and the family disembarked at Port Adelaide on 7 August 1849. Linger was initially unable to find work in Adelaide as a music teacher and grew potatoes at Munno Para for eighteen months before he returned to Adelaide, alone. Three weeks later, after he found work as a piano tuner and noting music scores, his wife and daughter joined him in Adelaide. By 1852, he was living in a house on North Terrace and was teaching music to Adelaide’s most prestigious families. Some of his compositions had been published and he was active in most of the musical and choral societies in Adelaide at the time. He had also conducted Adelaide’s first Philharmonic Orchestra and helped establish a Liedertafel in the city. Linger died from dropsy on 16 February 1862 and was buried at West Terrace cemetery.

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].