LAST MODIFIED Tuesday 19 December 2017 13:09

Thomas Leggatt

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Thomas Leggatt", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 24 January 2018



Professor of music, former master of the band of the 7th Hussars, oboist, clarinettist, cornet player, conductor, musical arranger, publican

Born ? Ireland, c.1794
Arrived Sydney, by March 1839
Died Sydney, 30 April 1846, aged 52 years (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)



According his obituary Leggatt had been for "28 years master of the 7th Hussars Band", which, if correct, means that he served in that role from c.1810, and therefore during the late stages of Napoleonic Wars (the regiment fought in the Peninsula wars and at the Battle of Waterloo). He was still with the Hussars as late as 1836 or 1837, but must have resigned, presumably no later than early 1838, since the regiment was redeployed to Canada in May that year, and he can have sailed for Australia no later than November. His name first appears in the Sydney press on 9 March 1839, in a report on a Cecilian Society concert earlier that week:

Amongst the performers on Wednesday evening, were Mr. W. Wallace, Mr. Leggett (brother-in-law to Mr. Ellard, of George-street), Mr. Deane (the Leader) and family, Mr. Lee, and several Amateurs of musical talent.

He was indeed a brother-in-law of Francis Ellard; his wife Susan Leggatt was Francis's sister, and eldest daughter of Andrew Ellard (who also arrived in Sydney in March 1839). A much later report has him refers to him as a cousin of William Vincent Wallaces (his mother-in-law and Wallace's mother were sisters). Leggatt and his wife (and perhaps child Thomas junior below) had arrived in Sydney by late August 1839, when Thomas was first billed to appear in a concert with the Gautrots, Wallaces, Bushelles, and Deanes. He bought the license of the Hope and Anchor inn on the corner of Susssex and Druitt Streets in September 1839, which was to remain in his wife's hands long after his death. In George Peck's concert in October he accompanied the Bushelles on the cornet in Bellini's Let the trumpet sound ("Suoni la Tromba", from I Puritani), one of the earliest of documented concert performances of any Bellini work in Australia (preceded only by Miss Rosalie Deane singing Gentle Goddess a month earlier on 3 September). Early in he seems to have gained a critic in W. A. Duncan, who, noting his clarinet solo at the Gautrots's concert in November:

should have had something to say in favour of Mr. Leggatt's Exile of Erin, if he had not put us out of all patience previously to his performing it, by his conceited capers on the platform playing voluntaries, interludes and symphonies, and God knows what.


"Report of the Proceedings of the GENERAL COURT MARTIAL AT NORWICH BARRACKS", Norfolk Chronicle (17 November 1832), 4

November 5. Charles Edwards, Private in 7th Hussars, was Put upon his trial for exciting and joining mutiny the 27th Sept. last . . . DEFENCE, Norwich Barracks, Nov. 7th, 1832 . . . I was then under the direction of Lieutenant-Major Thomas Leggatt, master of the band (as in the capacity of a musician in the regiment). - I was shortly after marched to the riding school to hear the Court Martial and to witness the punishment of private Pitman; I returned and was regularly dismissed by the master of the band . . .

"7TH HUSSARS", Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent (13 May 1834), 3

We copy from the Glasgow Argus the following flattering tribute to the Master of the Band of the above distinguished regiment with much pleasure, the compliment being as creditable to the individual as it is worthy of the donors: - "MR. LEGGATT. - At a meeting of the members of the Philo-Harmonic Society, held last night the James Walt Tavern, Mr. Leggatt was presented with a very handsome snuff-box, with the following inscription: - 'Presented to Thomas Leggatt, Esq., of the 7th Hussars, the Philo-Harmonic Society, Glasgow, in testimony of his valuable services during the season, 1833-34.'"

"KINGSTON-UPON-HULL", Yorkshire Gazette (27 September 1834), 3

Grand Musical Festival; the completion of the magnificent East Window of the Holy Trinity Church; and for the benefit of the Hull Infirmary ... The following is a list of the principal performers: - VOCAL. - Madame Caradori Allan, Miss Masson, Miss Clara Novello, Madame Stockhausen, Mr. Braham, Mr. Hobbs, Mr. Machin, and Mr. Phillips. INSTRUMENTAL - Leader, Mr. F. Cramer ... Sir George Smart was the Conductor ... and the entire vocal band, (comprising the members of the Hull Choral Society, of the Choirs of York and Lincoln Cathedrals, and a numerous of the celebrated West Riding Choristers,) consisted of about 157 performers; the instrumental of 78 ... a grand total of 239 performers, of whom the following were from York: - Violins, Allen, Hildreth, Hunt, and Jackson; Viola, Tomlinson; Oboe, Leggatt (master of the band 7th hussars); Treble-voices, Master Barnby, Master Smith, two Masters and Mrs. Robinson; Tenors, Messrs. Barker, Crump, Dixon; Basses, Messrs. Ellis and Masser.

"York Choral Society's first Anniversary Concert", Yorkshire Gazette (18 October 1834), 2

... The band, reinforced by Mr. Leggatt, the master, and several of the members, of the band the 7th hussars, was led by Mr. W. HARDMAN, and performed the instrumental pieces and accompaniments in very good style. The overtures to Semiramide and Guillaume Tell, went uncommonly well . . .

"FIRST SUBSCRIPTION CONCERT", York Herald (15 November 1834), 2

... The only novelty in the scheme was the composition from "Mount Sinai," in which Neukomm has displayed his superior qualifications in writing for the orchestra, the accompaniments being exceedingly beautiful. There is a delicious solo for the oboe in the opening movement, which was delightfully played by Mr. Leggatt, band master of the 7th Hussars. Mrs. Knyvett appeared in good voice ...

"YORK CHORAL SOCIETY", Yorkshire Gazette (22 November 1834), 3

This Society gave a public concert on Tuesday evening last, at the Merchants' Hall. The room was exceedingly crowded ... Part I consisted the following selection from Handel's Messiah, Overture ... The second part comprised a miscellaneous selection, which included ... Overture, Don Mendoza (Romberg) ... The band was mos effective in the overtures; and the one composed by Romberg was encored. The assistance of Mr. Leggatt, the leader, ant several the band ot the 7th Hussars, added much to the effect of these performances ...

"FULL DRESS BALL", Yorkshire Gazette (31 January 1835), 2

... Dancing commenced at ten o'clock; quadrilles and waltzes succeeding each other in the Concert-Room, and the gallopade prevailing in the Assembly-Room. Hardman's quadrille band played in the former, and the band of the seventh Hussars led by Mr. Leggatt, in the latter ...

"LINCOLN MUSICAL SOCIETY", Stamford Mercury (15 May 1835), 4

No concert of the Musical Society ever gave so great pleasure the one which took place Monday evening last. The attractions were rich and varied: Miss Clara Novello, the pearl the treat, - Mr. Clegg, the tasteful trumpeter, from Sheffield, - Thirlwall and Rudersdorff, two extraordinaries on the violin, -€Leggatt, the clever performer on the oboe and clarionet; together with five of the band of the 7th Hussars, and the whole of the society's regular performers. We scarcely know where to commence our string of commendations - the whole was so excellent, and all who listened were so pleased. The Overtures were struck off capital style, the Glees finely executed; and had not the audience been puzzled with the variety of their excitements, some of the latter would no doubt have been encored . . .

[News], Stamford Mercury (4 December 1835), 3

A succession of musical treats of no common quality is in preparation for the week preceding Christmas . . . On Friday evening the 18th, the Musical Society also open their campaign with a splendid display of first-rate talent. M. and Mde. Stockhausen, Mdlle. Bildstein, Mr. Leggatt of the 7th Hussars, with other performers from the regimental band, and Mr. Leng of Hull, are engaged, in addition to the usual and effective native corps . . .

"MUSICAL SOCIETY", Stamford Mercury (29 January 1836), 3

The concert last Tuesday night was, on the whole, a highly pleasing one. The instrumental band was weak, owing to the presence of Mr. Leggatt and the expected Hussars being pretermitted by their commanding officer; but the attractive performances of M. Stockhausen on the harp, the full clear-throated tones of Mademoiselle Bildstein, - and, above all, the exquisite execution of the Stockhausen herself, almost banished the remembrance that the Hussars bad been promised ...

[News], Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties (29 April 1836), 2

The Lincoln Musical Society's last concert, on Wednesday week, was attended quite as fully as on any former occasion. Miss Clara Novello was in most enchanting voice, and imparted more than usual pleasure. Messrs. Brook, Knowles, and Ashton, were equal to their highest promise. - Mr. Leggatt's performance on the clarionet was highly admired for the profound skill and taste it displayed ...

A course of counterpoint and fugue, by L. Cherubini . . . translated by J. A. Hamilton . . . volume 1 (London: R. Cocks, 1837), xvi 

SUBSCRIBERS, L - . . . Leggatt, Mr. Professor of Music, 7th Hussars.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (24 August 1839), 3

"PETTY SESSIONS", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (12 September 1839), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (30 September 1839), 2

"M. GAUTROT'S CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (15 November 1839), 1

"DIED", The Sydney Morning Herald (4 May 1846), 3

DIED, At his residence, Druitt-street, on Thursday, after a long and tedious illness, Mr. Thomas Leggatt, formerly, and for a period of twentyeight years, master of the 7th Hussars' Band.

Isaac Nathan, Lectures ... on music (1846), preface [unpaginated], footnote 

Mr. Leggatt, a first-rate oboe and clarinet performer, and the only musician in Sydney who was sufficiently versed in the theory of music to arrange orchestral parts correctly, and who formerly filled the office of Military Band-master for upwards of 40 years, was from the little encouragement he experienced in his profession, compelled to turn publican, and lately died in a small public-house in Sydney, having an amiable wife and family to deplore his loss.


LEGGATT, Thomas (junior)


Born UK/Ireland, c.1831
Arrived Sydney, by March 1839 (with parents)
Active Sydney, NSW, 1841-60
Died Vanua Levu, Fiji, 30 August 1873, aged 42


A Master Leggatt, presumably son of Thomas Leggatt and his wife Susan, was listed among the treble vocalists at Isaac Nathan's Sydney Oratorio in June 1841. T. Leggatt was Librarian of Sydney Philharmonic Society in 1860. He died in Fiji in 1873.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor (2 July 1841),  2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (3 July 1860), 1

"LATEST FROM FIJI", Evening News (23 October 1873), 2

"DEATHS", Evening News (23 October 1873), 2

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018